Web Hosting can come in many different forms but what are the important factors to consider when choosing the company and the plan?
What differentiates hosting is how much space and speed you need on the host server and the amount of control over the content you will get. With more control, speed and security come an increase in price and technical requirements.
Here we explore what web hosting is needed for and the different services out there.
To Have a Live Website
Once you have a beautiful website to represent your brand, there are certain elements you need to procure to have it displayed on a computer. You need a domain and web hosting in order for web browsers like Google or Yahoo to search and display your webpages.
Let’s start with the domain name. What is a domain? A domain is a unique address for each website. For browsers to find and display a website they need to query the domain name against its corresponding IP Address.
It is like searching a phone number on your mobile, you can search by the actual numerical digits but it’s easier for you to recall the name of the contact. You can compare an IP address to the phone number, and a contact name to the domain name.
The phone book is a database of all numbers matched with the name of the contact and similarly, the DNS or Domain Name System is the phone book of the internet. By typing a name, the contact’s number comes up and by typing the website name in the browser the IP address is matched and returns the web page and it shows on the screen.
Where is this domain held and where is the code for the webpage stored? That is where hosting comes in.
Each website must be stored on a computer, and it is this network of computers that makes the web and why it is given the name world wide web.
You could simply use your home or office computer but the processing power is insufficient so you would need a hosting company. You need to host your website on a server that can handle the content and the traffic. These companies will have servers that will store your website files and allow users to connect to them through the internet.
By using a hosting company, you can be assured of getting some of the best features like network infrastructure with reliable speed and uptime and enough power to manage your website when it starts to pick up traffic.
The data centres are owned by companies like Hostinger, Bluehost and Hostgator. They charge for the bandwidth you use on their servers, as well as for additional services such as security and maintenance.
A hosting provider usually charges you a monthly fee depending on the amount of bandwidth you need. Bandwidth is a measure of how much traffic you get to the site on an average day because the more people viewing your website, the more bandwidth it takes to handle all that data.
If your website is not as popular as it once was but your hosting plan has remained the same, then you are paying for bandwidth that isn’t being used.
Shared – For entry-level and low traffic websites Shared Hosting is the ideal starting place. You share the server resources such as RAM and CPU so costs are kept low.
Dedicated – The next level up is a Dedicated Hosting service meaning your website is the only one stored on it. It is fully managed, and you have root access, so you can control everything from security to the operating system that you run. For more in-depth information about types of hosting see this Techradar article.
Cloud – Hosting is a further advancement of hosting and uses virtualized resources on demand. It is designed to allow customers to scale up or down their resources without having any downtime and paying only for actual usage.
VPS – another form of hosting is Virtual Private Server Hosting which gives customers a virtual server.
This means that the physical hardware (the CPU, RAM, hard disk etc.) is not visible to the user – instead what you see is a virtual representation of the physical machine. The servers are housed in the company’s data centre which is where the actual physical servers exist.
Here is a review of different VPS providers.
These are the different types of hosting services available, so which one should you choose? The factors that should be considered are the type of website you are building, the resources you need, and how much traffic you expect to view the website.
For lower traffic sites, a low-cost shared hosting service may be sufficient but for eCommerce websites or enterprise companies that need more security and control over their servers, dedicated solutions may be needed