For many people, web hosting is a taboo. They think of it as something very complicated and they are scared of looking deeper into this issue, because they think that they won’t be able to comprehend all of the important details. However, you cannot allow this to happen to you as well. If you have a business website or plan on building one, you will have to learn about web hosting in order to find the right services for your website’s needs.
Your website cannot be reliable if it doesn’t have proper hosting, and you won’t be able to grow your online presence in the future. Not only do you need to know a thing or two about hosting, but you also need to learn how to see through the sugarcoated offers a lot of web hosting providers put out there, and see what is real and what is not. We will start with the first basic thing you need to know above everything else.
What is web hosting?
When you go through some website using your browser you are, in fact, getting code which is written in many different coding languages. Web developers write and understand this code and for us “regular people” our browser converts all of the code into things we can understand as well: text, buttons, images, videos, and so on. A website’s code is held in a lot of files and they can be added, deleted, modified or created.
These files also need a place where they can be stored – a server. A server is a computer designed for keeping these files and allowing you to manage them how you see fit. The better the server, the safer your files will be and the faster your operations with them will be simple as that.
So who is the web host here? The web host is the company that supplies you with your server and manages it. Now that wasn’t so scary was it? A company that sells/rents servers and other related services is called a web hosting company.
Types of web hosting
Most of the web hosting companies offer various hosting packages that can be quite different. Which type you choose should be completely based on your hosting needs.
Shared hosting is the cheapest hosting option which is most suitable for beginners. It is for people who are on a low budget, but this also means that this type of hosting is not that good. Shared hosting is called this because there are multiple websites stored on one server, i.e. a single computer.
The number of sites located on one server could be over a thousand and all of them take away the same resources from the same server. This means that if a website gets a lot of visitors it can use most of the server’s resources and all the rest will experience slow performance. Simply put, shared hosting is good for websites that don’t expect a lot of traffic. They are for those simple sites that developers can use for training.
VPS hosting is a virtual private server, and this type of hosting is the most popular. It is also the most balanced type of hosting. A virtual private server is still a shared server, however the way it’s done is much better. The first major difference is that a VPS can have up to 20 users, instead of a couple of thousand. Additionally, it has a thing called hypervisor.
These types of servers are split into parts based on the number of their uses. For example, if there are 10 users on the server and the server has 10GB of ram and 200GB hard drive, all users will get 1GB of RAM and an additional 20GB of hard drive space. This means that your website and its resources are independent from the rest. The hypervisor’s job is to manage all the tools that create these separations inside the server.
With this type of hosting you will have no neighbor issues, as the whole server will be reserved for your website only. There are many benefits to this, but there are also some downsides. Given the fact that the whole computer is dedicated to you, it is possible to customize your service in many ways.
You can choose the type and amount of memory you need, change hardware elements if you want, or choose the operating system you want your server to run on. This gives a lot of flexibility that might be needed if you use specialized software. The downside of this option is that you must manage a lot of things on your own and this requires a bit more knowledge about hosting and computers.
Basically, cloud hosting is, at its core, the same as VPS. The difference between these two is of course that these servers are cloud-based, i.e. they are virtual servers located on the internet, and they allow you to use resources from multiple computers that are all connected to that network. This makes cloud VPN more scalable, as you can increase your speed when needed. Additionally, cloud VPN hosting has many security benefits.
How to understand your hosting needs
You cannot know what is good for you if you don’t understand your hosting needs. When coming up with answers you should keep several things in mind:
- The type of website you will have
- What apps that site will need
- Whether you will use any special software
- How much traffic there will be on your site
You must give correct answers to all of these questions and make a plan for your website.
If you are building a website for an already existing business organization that has a lot of customers, then it’s best to go with VPS straight away. On the other hand, if you are making a small personal blog, you should start with shared hosting that has the option of being upgraded to something better.
Does that provider have site backups
No matter how well-protected your website might be, there are still things that can happen to it and cause it to crash. There are security breaches that simply happen and cannot be stopped. Sometimes servers malfunction and the end result is security falling down, making your website vulnerable. All of these things are sometimes out of your and your web hosting provider’s hands, and this is why regular backups are important.
With backups, i.e. regularly saving your vital information, you can rest assured that your website will be safe and that no data will be lost in case your website goes down for some reason. Additionally, you will be able to restore it to its original state in no time, meaning that you visitors or customers won’t be lost.
The things you should ask your potential provider include the following:
- How regularly do they perform backups?
- Do they provide you with the option to perform backups from the control panel?
- Do you have the option of backing up your site on your own and without their technical support team?
Find a host that can do all of these things and make sure that you do backups regularly or you will lose money.
Perform an online research
Taking some time and researching web hosting services online can help you a lot in finding a trustworthy, reliable provider. Find sites that offer web hosting service reviews and see what their previous customers have to say about those services. Also make sure to check online ratings, as they can show you weather some service is dishonest or low quality.
Read what they have to say on their websites, or talk to them in person if you can, and then look at their reviews and ratings and see if their story matches with the actual level of quality they provide. You might even be able to contact people and talk to them individually so that they can tell u about their experiences with a certain web hosting provider.
The level of technical support
Technical support is very important when it comes to hosting services. It is true that website backups are important, but there are many other technical issues that might occur and this is why you need to find a hosting provider that offers quick response and a lot of knowledge and experience to deal with issues as quickly as possible.
Good tech support will always be there to give you valuable advice, or solve major problems for you. Find out how quickly they react as this is essential if you want your website to grow and bring you money. If a website is often down for a long time, people will start turning away from it and you don’t want that, do you?
In the end, there are no perfect web hosting providers, and their services will always have both strong and weak sides. The important thing is that you get all the essentials, and you can deal or learn to live with some smaller nuisances along the way. Still, never go with an unreasonably cheap service, as it will probably be terrible and you will end up losing all of the money you “saved” and then some.