You’ve built a website – now what? For people to actually be able to visit it, you need a way to get it on the web. That’s where web hosting comes in. But what is web hosting?
Simply put, it’s where someone provides space and processing power for your website pages on a server. This means your site can be found by users, and ranked on search engines.
There are a lot of different elements to think of when choosing who to host your website with. To make it simpler, we have collated some tips to help you out.
Why do I need web hosting?
Think of your website as a house and the web hosting company as a street. Without a street, there is no house. It’s exactly the same when comparing your website and web hosting company. For your website to be visible to internet users and for you to manage your website, it needs to be hosted.
It’s important to remember that the web hosting company you choose needs to suit your needs. The products you sell or services you offer will determine the features your website calls for.
If you’ve built your eCommerce site through a platform like Shopify or Wix, however, hosting is usually included.
Types of web hosting
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to web hosting. Each type has its pros and cons, so you’ll need to choose the one that suits you.
Shared web hosting
- Hosted on the same server as many other websites
- Suited to personal and small business websites
- Not suitable for large sites with a lot of traffic
- If one website on the server goes down, the rest do, too
VPS web hosting
- Serves multiple websites
- Appears as a dedicated server, but it isn’t
- Stepping stone between shared and a dedicated server
- Used for websites with a lot of traffic
- Self-service server administration facilities
- Total control over the server, its software and security systems
- Most recent hosting type
- Resource-intensive applications or a large number of content assets
- Operates across many interconnected web servers
What to look for in a web hosting service
There are lots of services to look for when choosing who to host with. Here’s a shortlist of the essential components you need to think about.
Depending on what features your website has, bandwidth, or data transfer, will determine how much data is transferred to a user when they visit it. For example, if your site is singing and dancing with videos, music and a lot of images, these will take up a lot more bandwidth than a free web host can offer.
Most free web hosting services advertise on your site to make an income. This may put users off your site as it’s generally seen as spam.
If your business is new and you hope to increase your products or services, being able to grow and expand your website will be important to you. Check that your web host offers room to expand.
Reliable backup services when web hosting is so important. If you want peace of mind that your data is safe and secure, it should be a priority, especially when it comes to:
- Customer information
- Financial details
As you will definitely appreciate, it is essential that the types of data above are kept safe and secure.
Content management system (CMS) support
There are a range of content management systems available. It can seem overwhelming when deciding as there is so much choice.
The most popular CMS is WordPress. Since its launch in 2003, it has adapted to its clients’ needs and it’s known for being great for beginners. You can use it to build any kind of website, from eCommerce to blogs, and it’s free at point of use. It’s good to know that not all web hosts have the technical experience to support its requirements, so make sure the one you choose does.
Joomla is another popular free CMS that comes with its own benefits. It’s easy to edit content, and it’s a great option for developers as you can create a more bespoke website. eCommerce businesses can also make use of Joomla’s many extensions.
When you decide which web hosting provider to work with. Ensure they support the CMS you use and your life will be much simpler!
What are control panels and how do they help with web hosting management?
Control panels were designed for you and your team to easily manage and navigate your server. Without one, web hosting management will require someone with system administrator skills.
There are many options to choose from so to make it simpler we wanted to give you an idea of what to look for when choosing a control panel, which will in turn make website hosting a lot easier.
What are the benefits of a control panel?
- Manage your DNS
- Manage your IP address
- Create SSL certificates and bindings
- Create and modify FTP and email
- Manage databases
- Manage files
What to look for when choosing a control panel
- 1-click app installations
- Tools to manage domain names & mapping them to different websites on the same server
- Easy to install and manage SSL certificates
- Tools to automate taking backups
- Tools to restore if something goes wrong
- Easy access to restart server if something goes wrong
- Ability to swap between versions of PHP
We would love to hear about your web hosting journey. How did you choose your web host? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @TeamTillison.