What Is Website Hosting? Web Hosting Broken Down
Reliable, fast websites use the best web hosting services. It’s an essential part of any business site, blog, app, or other online services. If you want to build a successful website, then choosing the right hosting provider and hosting package is part of that process.
Web hosting enables you to store your website and all of your website files online. Web hosting companies use their servers to provide this storage to their customers for a variable package rate.
While that simple definition works, it doesn’t quite cover everything that web hosting allows you to do – such as host WordPress sites or host your own business email account. We break down all these facts and what to look for in an excellent web hosting service below.
Web Hosting Explained
The way web hosting works is fairly straightforward. Whenever you navigate to a site, you are essentially loading files that are “hosted” on a server. Hosting companies have huge server farms with racks and racks of web-powering computers.
Whether you already have a website, or are just getting started on one, you will need to set up web hosting in order to support your website. The best web hosting providers give low-cost plans in exchange for reliable storage online for any websites, apps, or other online projects that need a hosting environment.
There are also several types of web hosting:
- Shared Hosting: You purchase space on a large server in a data center that is shared with other customers also hosting websites, applications, email platforms, etc. These are low-cost plans for basic, new websites.
- Dedicated Server: These are higher-cost plans, but with it, you’re provided your own server to use. Some dedicated solutions provide server space that is quite large and can accommodate multiple websites and applications.
- Managed VPS Hosting: A virtual private server can be managed by the host or self-managed. This option combines shared hosting costs with dedicated web server security and customization.
- Amazon AWS: Amazon has some of the largest server farms in the world and they power most of the internet. If you need more computing power or database storage, you likely will need Amazon AWS.
- Google Web Hosting: Another high-powered hosting option can be found through Google web hosting or the Google Cloud. Google cloud hosting is a great option for start-ups and small businesses looking to scale.
Most hosts also provide WordPress hosting, email hosting and eCommerce store platforms.
How to Find Excellent Web Hosting Services
Now that you know a little bit about website hosting and what it’s used for, you also want to look at all the benefits of a high-quality web host. These are the services and features that any modern hosting company should provide. However, some of these features may not be accessible on lower-cost plans.
Very Reliable Hosting with 99.99% Uptime
Anything less than a 99.99% uptime is actually pretty unspeakable. While hosting providers would like to say that your site won’t ever experience any downtime, there are extreme instances where downtime could occur (such as a natural disaster). That’s why you’ll never see a “100% Uptime” guarantee, as it’s impossible to make such a claim.
A 99.99% uptime essentially guarantees that there will almost never be any downtime for your site and the servers to your site will be extremely fast and reliable.
Storage and Bandwidth
Low-cost shared hosting plans typically have a few restrictions on bandwidth and storage. Bandwidth refers to the amount of traffic and how many times people will be loading your website every month. However, it’s now common practice to offer unlimited bandwidth.
Massive traffic surges can potentially bring down your site if you don’t choose high enough bandwidth on a low-cost plan. Basic shared hosting plans may handle up to 30,000-40,000 visits per month.
The other factor is storage. Sites like Netflix require huge amounts of storage through Amazon AWS because they have so many video files to stream. Your website likely won’t need this capacity. Low-cost plans typically offer 100GB of storage, while higher-cost plans may go as much as 100 TB or more, depending on what you need.
Dedicated Technical Support
Website hosting services should provide you with access to dedicated technical support via online chat, phone or email. While working with a website hosting company may provide you with very basic support options, a digital marketing company that hosts their site’s servers through their own dedicated servers could provide you with even greater support.
Domain Name and Hosting Management Tools
Major website hosting services allow you to register domain names or even offer free domains with their services. In addition, they should provide you with access to:
- Bulk domain management
- Control panel software, such as cPanel or Plesk
- Email accounts
- WordPress setup and management
- Security and spam prevention
- Privacy registration for domains
- SSL certificates
- Other integrations such as Drupal, Joomla, and eCommerce site builders
Your web host should be providing you with either the tools necessary to run the business yourself, or the dedicated customer support required to keep your business online and running smoothly.
If you were to go with a digital marketing agency, for instance, you’d likely receive extremely dedicated customer and technical support that will handle all the heavy lifting for you so that you can focus on your company.
Scaling Up Your Website Hosting
You never want to get locked into a plan that doesn’t allow you to upgrade from a basic shared hosting plan to a dedicated server web hosting plan.
What if you build a site that instantly starts getting mega traffic (that’d be awesome!), only to find that your web host shuts down your site when it goes over bandwidth?
Scalability is something that you should check first when buying a plan. Most web hosting companies make it easy to add on bandwidth and storage as you need.
Site Performance and SEO
Additionally, web hosting companies should be ranked on loading speeds. Some web hosts claim to have 99.99% uptime and fast services, but their servers are too bogged down, particularly with shared hosting options.
If your site takes too long to load, it’s going to hinder your ability to rank in Google. This is extremely important for any business, but even more so for strictly online businesses that may rely on the organic visibility that Google and SEO can provide.
Partnering With The Right Web Hosting Provider
Now that you have a better understanding of all the different types of hosting services available, it’s time to pick a hosting provider. While there are hundreds of service providers out there, it’s important to find the one that’s going to give you the best hosting experience for the money.
Our team has years of experience working with clients who need a reliable solution to hosting their business website. With virtually zero downtime and dedicated hosting, our team can make sure that your business never stops running.
Get started today by contacting us. We’ll be happy to help and schedule an initial consultation to get your own website up and running.