Most businesses can’t succeed today unless they invest in their online presence. Apart from the usual investments, such as marketing, an oft-overlooked investment is web hosting services.
Poor web hosting decisions can impede a company’s accessibility to its customers. The result is that the company’s marketing budget goes to waste. So, what is a web hosting service, and why should business owners care?
What is a Web Hosting Service?
A web hosting service is where a company rents you a server to house your website. The server is (usually) a physical computer that runs round-the-clock to serve pages from your website to visitors.
Though you can host your website, you need many specialized skills to do so. The amount of time and money you would spend to host your website is usually not worth the effort, and, there are better people than yourself. Most hosting companies can do it cheaper and more professionally.
A web hosting service enables your site to function optimally and with updated security. It also simplifies the most complex processes for you.
Types of Web Hosting Services
Just two or three web hosting types existed a few years ago. Today, there are almost seven types of hosting services, as we shall now describe.
1. Dedicated Web Hosting Services
In this scenario, you rent a physical server that serves you alone. Your website will have access to all the resources available on that server. You can also get root access to the server if you want.
If your website’s traffic increases, a dedicated server will handle all the traffic and have enough headroom. A dedicated server costs a lot more than a shared server.
2. Shared Hosting
In shared hosting, several websites coexist on a single physical server. These websites share the server’s resources. They include its processor, memory, storage, and bandwidth.
Shared web hosting is uncomplicated and affordable.
It is the one I would recommend for personal websites and small businesses. Shared web hosting works well for websites that don’t need complex configuration and management.
3. Virtual Private Server Web Hosting
Your website still shares the resources of a physical server with other websites. However, your website will receive an allocation of the server’s resources that other websites will not be able to use.
The pre-allocated resources will protect your server from bottlenecks caused by another server overusing resources. Ordinary shared servers cannot avoid this risk.
4. Cloud Hosting Service
A cloud hosting provider uses multiple virtual servers to host websites. If some of the virtual servers experience faults, the remaining ones take the extra load to maintain the operation of the websites.
The companies that benefit most from cloud hosting are e-commerce websites and websites that cannot afford downtime.
5. WordPress Hosting
You get a WordPress-friendly server to enable your website to load faster. This type of hosting may come with pre-installed plugins and themes. The package may also include applets that manage core website functions like security and caching.
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6. Reseller Web Hosting Service
It is a type of shared website hosting. However, you get additional tools to enable you to resell hosting space.
You get excellent control over the server. In most cases, you are allowed access to the Web Host Management Control Panel. The hosting company also gives you billing software to help you manage clients’ invoices.
7. Colocation Web Hosting
It is a ‘bring your own server’ arrangement. When you pay for this service, you pay for rack space in a data centre.
Once you get the space, you bring your server and put it on the rack. The web host provides power, Internet connection, cooling, and physical security.
For this type of hosting, you maintain your website personally. Software installation, backup, and troubleshooting are in your hands. If your server fails, it is your job to get it back up and running.
Importance of web hosting services
Businesses that cultivate an online presence increase their potential customer base. A good website improves your visibility all over the world even if you don’t have a physical address. Here are the ways a web hosting provider helps your business.
1. Website Availability:
Web hosting services guarantee your website is accessible 24/7 to users. When you sign up for a hosting plan, your files are stored on a server which remains connected to the internet at all times – providing accessibility regardless of user location or time zone. This ensures your website remains up and running at all times.
Web hosting services offer security for your website by shielding it against malicious attacks, hacking attempts, and other online risks. Most web hosting providers include features like firewalls, SSL certificates, and regular backups to guarantee that your website remains safe and secure at all times.
Web hosting services give you the freedom to customise your website according to individual needs. You have complete control over the platform, content management system (CMS), and other tools used in creating and administering the site.
4. Technical Support:
Most web hosting services provide technical support to help you resolve any issues with your website. This could include assistance with setup, troubleshooting and maintenance tasks.
Web hosting services enable you to expand your website as your needs evolve. If your traffic increases, upgrading to a higher hosting plan is easy in order to accommodate the extra users.
How do You Choose a Web Hosting Provider?
Your website will eventually outgrow the available storage space, processing power, and bandwidth. If the hosting provider cannot keep up with your website, you might need to find another one. You can get in touch with the consultants at Expand My Business to get more details about how to choose a web hosting service provider and get our website development services.
Meanwhile, we have covered a few important points to keep in mind when choosing your web hosting service provider.
1. The Control Panel
A control panel enables you to manage your website and bypasses logging into the server. When choosing your hosting provider, find one that has a user-friendly control panel that is not overly complicated.
It should include file management, backups, and software installation without added complexity.
2. Uptime of the Hosting Provider
Sometimes a web hosting provider might have poorly maintained servers. These servers will affect your website by frequent downtimes which appear abruptly. If your website is down too often, it will affect your customers’ trust and revenue.
Web hosting companies advertise the amount of uptime they guarantee. Make sure they meet their advertised uptime.
3. Security Features
A cloud hosting provider should have a high level of security to protect your site from malware and DDoS attacks.
Other security features they may offer include malware detection, access management, automated security updates, and automatic backups.
4. Free or Paid Web Hosting Service
If your website is not a commercial website and does not need many resources, you could opt for a free web hosting service. However, any high-volume website or commercial website requires a paid service.
Sometimes a free web hosting service might not be as free as you think. A hosting provider might provide you with an ad-supported ‘free’ service. However, as soon as your traffic grows beyond a certain point, they start to crash your site intentionally to make you switch to their paid plans.
Additionally, when you choose free web hosting, you will have to contend with having a lot of third-party content on your website.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Hosting Plan
Before I begin, let me reiterate the adage that you get what you pay for. Before further ado, let’s look at what you might want to think about before choosing a hosting plan.
1. Data Storage
It is the amount you get for your website’s files, videos, photos, etc. Data storage is usually not a concern for most hosting plans. However, if you have a larger website, you might want to read the fine print.
It is how much data your web hosting company can send to your visitors in a month. The majority of hosting providers give you unlimited bandwidth. However, if you are an absolute value shopper, you might end up with a limited bandwidth package. You will have to pay extra if this bandwidth is surpassed.
3. 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%.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
If you ever get confused by the number of website hosting services, take a step back and think about what you want first. This guide provides you with the most important information to get the best possible provider.
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.
What are web hosting services and why are they important for businesses?
Web hosting services are online platforms that provide storage and access for websites on the internet. They are important for businesses because they allow them to make their websites accessible to customers and users around the world.
What are the different types of web hosting services available for businesses?
There are several types of web hosting services available for businesses, including shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, and managed hosting. Each type has its own unique features, advantages, and pricing options to suit the needs of different businesses.
How do businesses choose the right web hosting service for their needs?
To choose the right web hosting service for their needs, businesses should consider factors such as website traffic, website size, storage and bandwidth requirements, uptime guarantees, customer support, and pricing options. It is also important to research and compare different web hosting providers to find the best fit for their specific needs and budget.