Every website needs a website host. A website host gives your website a place to live and makes it accessible to visitors.
There are many different options for website hosting, with varying prices and features. Knowing what you need, what types of website hosting are available, and what to ask a potential web host can help you find the right web hosting provider for your business.
The six main considerations when choosing a website hosting option are speed, security, support, scalability, cost and type of hosting environment.
Users expect your website to load in 2 seconds. If it took longer, they would be more likely to leave. Google also uses page speed as a ranking factor, so slow website performance can hurt your search rankings and keep customers away. While website speed is affected by a number of different factors, it is imperative for any business to have a web hosting provider with fast servers and enough memory and processing power to match the incredible site speed.
Keeping your website secure should be the most important thing for your web hosting company. The website hosting server should be equipped with a strong firewall and constantly monitored by the hosting company for any unusual activity or unauthorized intrusion. Your web hosting company must also maintain an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate — an extra layer of security that encrypts information that is transmitted between your server and the user’s browser. SSL is becoming standard practice for all websites and is a must if you sell products or accept payments on your website.
Does your company have the technological know-how and the in-house resources and manpower to manage website servers, or would you prefer to hire a web hosting company to do everything for you? If you want your host to offer support, make sure it offers 24/7 monitoring and support and is easy to reach in the event of a power outage or other issue.
View the current traffic and content on your website. Do you expect to use significantly more resources over time due to increased traffic or additional content such as photo or video galleries? If so, it is better to find a web hosting provider that can accommodate this extension than one that will fail.
Website hosting can cost anywhere from a few hundreds per month to thousands per month, or it can even be “free”. Like everything, you get what you pay for. “free” hosting is usually offered in exchange for the hosting company advertising on your site, or as an add-on to a larger service plan. A cheap web hosting plan likely means you have flexibility and limited access to resources, which can lead to performance issues. Make sure you know your web hosting needs so you don’t end up with a “great deal” that doesn’t meet your web hosting needs.
Web Hosting Environment
Shared hosting is usually the cheapest option, although there are significant trade-offs for cost savings. With shared hosting, your website is hosted on a shared server with other websites. You share disk space and resources with other servers on your server, so if other websites on your server experience large spikes in visitor traffic, your website’s performance may decrease – pages may load slower or the website may become inaccessible at all, giving visitors the chance of an error message when they try to access it. In addition, shared hosting can pose a security risk.
The next level in web hosting is Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting, which is a dedicated server simulation that works together with other VPS sites on one server. VPS sites have a dedicated section of the server, so the performance of each site is not affected by changes in other people’s traffic, and the security risk is less because each site is blocked by others. In addition to more resources, VPS hosting gives you more control over your hosting environment.
With a dedicated website hosting server, you have a server that only works with your website – all storage and performance is dedicated solely to your website, and you can control how the server is used. A company with a strong IT staff may choose to have its own dedicated server in place. In these cases, the Company is fully responsible for managing the server, including troubleshooting and disruption, as well as installing and maintaining firewalls, updates and other security measures.
Another option for dedicated hosting is managed dedicated hosting, where the company that owns the website rents a fully dedicated server from a web hosting provider who takes care of all server maintenance and security.
Cloud hosting servers run on large public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, combining the processing power of hundreds of physical servers. Since cloud hosting isn’t limited to a single server, you can easily scale by adding more storage without having to switch hosting providers or reconfigure, and only pay for the resources you use. Cloud hosting also maximizes your website’s uptime because you don’t have to worry about servers crashing. When a server in the cloud crashes, others assume it doesn’t exist, so there’s no interruption in service.
Regardless of the type of server you choose, be sure to ask any future web hosting provider these 7 questions:
Am I under contract?
If yes, what are the conditions? Some website hosting companies pay according to your needs, so you can leave whenever you want. Others lock you into a contract with a low initial rate that increases significantly when it comes time to renew your contract. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for.
What type of support do you offer?
If you have a problem with your website, you should be able to count on 24/7 live help. Ask prospective web hosting companies if they offer 24/7 support, how to access it (phone, email, live chat, support tickets) and what the average response time is.
What types of security are included in the hosting package?
A good web hosting provider is equipped with a strong firewall, has the latest version of antivirus software, and offers constant monitoring, automatic updates and bug fixes, and malware detection and removal.
How often do you make backups?
If you’ve ever lost data on your website, you’ll want a hosting provider that can help you recover it. Look for a website hosting company that offers daily protected archives and will help you recover your website from archived files if website files are damaged or lost.
What is your uptime rating?
Of course you want your website to be as short as possible. The uptime rating or uptime rating of a web hosting provider tells you how reliable the server is. Look for an uptime rating of at least 99.5%.
Can I upgrade my hosting plan?
If you’re not sure your website traffic will be consistent, be sure to explore your options if you end up needing a more stable web hosting plan.
What are the hosting restrictions or limitations?
Before you hire a web hosting provider, you need to know what you can and cannot do. Ask about the provider’s hosting plan limitations, such as Number of domains, file transfers, resource usage, etc.
Contact SHEN Technology now to help with your digital marketing needs.