Having a website can be very beneficial! Most businesses and entrepreneurs have one but just the thought of getting one can be pretty intimidating. That’s ok! It’s not as bad as it may seem!
There are two major items that you need when you start your website, a domain name and hosting. In this post, I will introduce you to website hosting.
So, what is hosting?
If you think of your website as a book that someone reads, then website hosting is where you store that book for users to find. If you store your book at home on your computer, then only the people that have access to your computer can read your book. If you store your website in a library, then anyone can access your book. In this example, a website host is the library.
All of the files of your website are stored with a hosting company. They store your website files on a server for you. This allows your website to be available for users 24/7 (for the most part). Every website needs to have hosting.
There are many website hosting companies and they all offer many different options and types of hosting. So, it is important to know what you are looking for when searching for hosting.
Types of hosting
There are many types of hosting. So, it can be overwhelming when shopping for hosting if you don’t know what you are looking for. If you do your research beforehand, it can be less overwhelming. Here are the different types of hosting that you will see:
- Shared hosting: Shared hosting is very popular. It is very affordable and easy to use. Shared hosting means that your website will share a server with other websites. This means that there may be other websites on the same server as yours. Shared hosting is good because it is very easy to use and cheap. However, other websites on your server may slow your website down.
- VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting: A VPS allows each website to have a dedicated portion of a server for their website. This means that your website will still share a server with other websites, but your website will have a designated space. The other websites can not drag your website down. This is more expensive than shared hosting but a more efficient option. The big downfall of VPS hosting is that you will also be responsible for the maintenance of that server. If you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge then this might not be the type of hosting for you.
- Dedicated hosting: Dedicated hosting is when you have the whole server to yourself. This type of hosting is more expensive than shared or VPS but a lot more efficient. Just as a VPS host, you will be responsible for the server maintenance. If you have a big business with a lot of website traffic, then this might be the host for you. I would highly recommend hiring a server administrator if you choose a dedicated host.
- Managed WordPress hosting: This type of hosting is specifically for websites that use WordPress. This is more expensive than shared hosting but they offer more. Managed WordPress hosting will keep your WordPress website up to date and more secure than other servers since they are WordPress specific. They offer a lot of support, backups, security, speed and more. Each website has a dedicated server space and best of all, the host takes care of all of the technical aspects!
What to look for when purchasing hosting
So, now that we know what types of hosting there are, what else do we need to look for before we purchase? Well, there’s actually a lot that you may find. The important things to look at are technical support, storage, operating system and up-time.
Technical support is very important. Something can go wrong with your website at any time of day. That is why I always recommend to look for 24/7 customer support. It would be very tough to have to wait until 8AM on Monday to talk to someone about your website not loading!
What are your website needs? Do you have a simple informational website, a photography website or an online store? Each website has different size needs. So, if you know that you are going to have a large website, you might want to look at the storage size that the hosting plan offers.
You will see website hosting advertised by operating system. I like to mention this because this often confuses people to the point of stopping their search. For the most part, a Linux hosting plan is necessary for basic websites. If you know that your website will be developed using ASP.NET, then you will need a Windows hosting plan. These are harder to find and often more expensive.
Up-time is important to understand when looking at hosts. Up-time is amount of time that your website is ‘up’ or available to users. This number is represented by a percentage. Obviously, you will want your website to be up as much as possible. However, keep in mind that 100% up-time will typically cost more and 99.99% is not that far from 100%. Also, every server needs maintenance. This is not included in the up-time percentage.
But, there are so many hosting options out there!
There really are so many hosting options out there. It can be hard to choose. To help, here are a few of my favorites!
- A2 Hosting
Managed WordPress Hosting
- WP Engine
Don’t worry! Website hosting is not as stressful as it seems. If you need any help, let me know! I can work with you to help you find the best hosting that is right for you!