It cannot be denied that every business, irrespective of its size and nature, is bound to have a website and mark its online presence if it wishes to exist and flourish in this digitally progressive era. Many businesses nowadays prefer to go with web hosting, for it promises fast website loading speed and secure and reliable file storage. As a novice to business websites, you may have a plethora of questions that you need an answer to. Keep your worries aside as we have drafted this web hosting guide for beginners to help you learn how web hosting services work.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that hosts websites for its clients, i.e., it facilitates them in creating and maintaining a website, so to keep it accessible for internet users.
In layman’s terms, it provides storage space for the smooth running of a website or application on an internet server. It offers a digital depository to store data resources of a website. This data may include the website codes, images, videos, and texts.
How Does Web Hosting Work? Decode Step-by-Step Process
A website is always the surest option to bet on for embarking on the online journey. It works as an interface between a business and its target audience or customers.
Several steps are coordinated while creating a website which includes:
- Registering a domain (a name) for your website. Domains can be purchased from domain name registrars like domain.com, Bluehost, HostGator, Google Domains, GoDaddy, etc.
- Registering nameservers (DNS) that point the website visitors toward the designated IP address.
- Choosing Web Hosting for your website.
Web hosting services maintain stable and secure storage spaces. Wondering how web hosting works? Hosting happens when the website data and files are uploaded from a local computer onto a web server. The server providing website hosting services is a physical computer or cloud software that functions optimally to make the client’s site available to online users all the time.
Once the website data is transferred to the host, the website user can access it by simply typing the domain name or the web address in a web browser, and the computer or browser connects it to the server the website is hosted on. The server then, in turn, sends the files stored on the hosting server storage, and data gets displayed on the screen. All this process happens in seconds through advanced internet technology. Let us now discuss if you should invest in a Web Hosting Service.
Should You Invest in Web Hosting Services?
You may think of hosting a website yourself. You can surely do this, but it requires comprehensive technical skills to maintain the hosting. Setting up and configuring a web server that can handle continuous and ongoing maintenance is not a cakewalk. It includes multiple aspects, ranging from acquiring and maintaining equipment, infrastructure, hardware, and software.
But, if you go with a web hosting company, it becomes convenient and cost-effective to host a website. They implement very advanced technologies to keep your data safe and secure. You are relieved from the stress of checking now and then and investing all your energy in configuring and maintaining it. It gives you ample time to invest in the activities that require your manual intervention. Moreover, seeking professional services simplifies the most complex aspects of website creation and hosting, from software installation to technical support.
What are the Different Types of Web Hosting Services?
Now that we have discussed the importance of web hosting, let us explore different types of web hosting that are being provided. The type of web hosting ideal for your business website will depend on your needs and usage.
1. Shared Hosting
It is the most common option and is best suited for a blog or small business. It is economical, which makes it apt for users with a limited budget. One thing to note here is that the server space and resources are shared by other clients (websites), and it may cause your website to slow down.
2. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
It is similar to shared hosting except for the feature that your files are stored in a dedicated space with dedicated resources. Cost is comparatively higher than the shared hosting, but it significantly brings down the risk of sharing and data leakage of confidential information.
3. Dedicated Hosting
With full root access, dedicated hosting offers complete control of your server by designating a specific and physical server for every client website. This type of web hosting service allows you to configure the server and customise the hosting system to your specifications and requirements.
4. Cloud Hosting
Under cloud hosting, multiple virtual servers are made available to host websites. It gives the advantage that if one server gets overloaded with traffic, the remaining servers are there to ensure the smooth operation of websites. Though it is slightly more expensive than the above-mentioned hosting websites, it drastically reduces downtime and hardware failure and permits scalability.
5. WordPress Hosting
This type of hosting is explicitly maintained for WordPress-optimised servers and aids in loading websites much faster. It also minimises potential issues that the server or website may face. It is low-cost hosting but is not suitable for non-WordPress websites.
6. Managed Hosting
Under this web hosting, the day-to-day maintenance tasks like backups, security monitoring, software updates, etc., rest with the hosting service provider and not the user. Users using this service can manage content through FTP, i.e. File Transfer Protocol.
How to Choose a Web Hosting Service Provider?
With so many hosting service providers available, it is mandatory to evaluate the variations among the options and choose the best fit for your website needs. Some factors that you should consider while embarking on your web hosting search journey, among many, are:
- The type of website you are planning to host (an e-commerce portal, a blog, a news website, etc.)
- Targeted website traffic
- Storage space
- Control you wish to exercise over data
- Investment, i.e. how much are you ready to pay for hosting services
Further, consider the following points to figure out how to choose the best web hosting plan and service provider:
1. Web Host’s Uptime (Reliability)
Nothing impacts your website more negatively than frequent and unexpected downtime. Hence, it is always advisable to choose a host that guarantees commitment to keep their systems running.
In simple terms, ‘uptime’ refers to the time percentage that a website is available to online users without any significant issues. Having mentioned that, choose the web host that offers uptime above 99%.
2. Online Reviews and Testimonials
It is always beneficial to heed online reviews and testimonials to assess the web hosting companies’ reputation and how their servers actually perform. Testimonials and reviews given by existing or previous clients of the web host will help determine whether a specific web host is suitable for your needs or not.
3. 24*7 Customer Support
Web hosting includes a lot of technicalities, and clients may have queries that may require urgent resolution. Hence, always choose a web host that provides round-the-clock customer support and reliable technical support in case of any unexpected crashes, lags, or security breaches.
4. Related Products or Additional Services
Several hosting companies provide their customers add-on services like Secure Socket Layer or SSL Certificate and custom email addresses, and sometimes additional storage at a comparatively less cost. While finalising a web host, ensure that these services are available cost-effectively among various options available.
5. Security and Backup Services
It is well said that data is the fuel for running the internet, and keeping its confidentiality intact is the utmost necessity. Web hosting services should be availed where security is not compromised. Further, always look for a host that offers an information redundancy system and allows for constant and frequent backups.
6. Upgrade Options
As you move on with your business, you may need to upscale and get additional storage space and resources. Hence, it is a good move to know in advance how much you’ll be paying to access those extra features with the same web hosting service provider.
7. Control Panel
The control panel lets the clients manage their data and website. It is best to go with a web host with an easy user interface to navigate through the panel easily. One thing that should also be considered is that the web host should also allow mobile access to the control panel so that you can manage everything anytime from anywhere.
From the above discussion, it has been very well established that choosing a suitable hosting account is the first step towards marking your online presence, and it is the primary factor that can make or break your target numbers and goals.
There are numerous options available for choosing a hosting account for your website. Using the Web Hosting Guide crafted above, analyse and compare the pros and cons of all the web hosting services keeping your requirements under consideration and select the most cost-effective and reliable option for your website and business needs.