Web hosting, as defined by PC Mag, is the process of making a website and the associated data available on the internet. Ever since the internet became such a mainstream source of marketing income, the business of web hosting has grown hundreds of times over. Regardless of whether it’s a business website, a review site for instagram bots, a repository for data, or a personal site that offers direct services, those websites need to have a hosting company providing it access to the wider web.
Understanding Hosting Types
CNET mentions that there are several types of hosting servers that a company can use, including:
Shared Hosting – Uses a shared server where multiple user-accounts exist on the same physical server
Virtual Private Server (VPS) – Uses virtualization to enable multiple servers to be run within a sandbox as if they were individual server machines
Dedicated Server – The physical manifestation of a server that a website owner can rent
Cloud Server – A virtual server operating on a cloud service such as Microsoft’s Azure or Amazon’s AWS
Hosting sites rent spaces on their servers to people or businesses and offer them a secure method of setting their website up so it can be accessible to other people on the internet. Choosing the right hosting site for a website is more than just seeing which one is the cheapest. Sometimes, the most affordable option is the best, but more often than not, it isn’t. There are several other key elements that website owners need to take into account when they consider hosting companies to store their websites and data. Some of these are:
Let’s get the most crucial concern out of the way – how much should a website owner expect to pay for quality hosting? The answer to this question is dependent on the type of website you intend to operate, the amount of bandwidth you will need for traffic and how much the reliability of the server matters to your particular niche. Prices vary significantly, with lower end packages being available for as little as a few dollars a month. Higher end packages might cost more than $10 per month, and offer more traffic for sites that might see more people showing up to do business.
Quite a lot of websites offer promotional offers to attract customers. A user with A2Hosting promo codes available could take advantage of the offer and sign up with the company for less than the average user would be able to. Users that sign on with a particular hosting company are usually reluctant to change across to another, and so these promotional features are beneficial to both the customer and the hosting provider.
While most web hosts tend to offer packages that users can leverage across the board, some hosting sites specialize in a particular type of content. WordPress, for example, specializes in blogs and websites running their proprietary content management system. Reviews and recommendations of different website hosting companies and their specialties exist in multiple places across the web, and researching a particular hosting company before signing up with them is a necessity.
Technical Details and Support
Different uses of a website mean different requirements for the owner. Sites that intend to host a lot of streaming video would need more substantial volumes of bandwidth. Websites that want to do marketing and blogging might require less bandwidth, but more guaranteed uptime. Sites that will offer storage options for clients might need more copious amounts of disk space on the server. Having technical specs that best suit your needs is essential, but you must first define your needs to know if the hosting site meets them.
In addition to technical details, technical support and customer service is another primary concern to address. Quick Sprout notes that about 20% of clients of web hosting companies mentioned that customer service was a significant factor in them choosing that particular host. The reason technical support is essential is that if something goes wrong, you want to ensure that you can count on your hosting company to restore service quickly and professionally. Reviews also help here in choosing a hosting business, since people tend to be very vocal about lousy customer service.
Domain Names and Databases
Most web hosting providers offer solutions for clients who want to host several domains under the same account name. Businesses that want to have multiple domain names can do so without having to register a different account for each one. Some hosting sites even offer clients the ability to purchase and register domains directly from the site itself. Additionally, web hosting services provide databases for their clients, which can be extremely useful for e-commerce sites and blogs. For app developers, database access is an essential consideration since it could impact the usability of the application.
Email Addresses and FTP Accounts
Hosting providers usually offer email addresses to all their clients, generally using the domain name as the host server address. The professional impact of having an email address with your own domain at the end of it is immense. Furthermore, web hosting providers tend to offer secure access to a client’s file storage through File Transfer Protocol (FTP) allowing you to store data on the server directly, which can be used to help in building the website front or back end. Webmasters in particular usually enjoy having this feature.
Finding the Right Hosting Provider
Website hosting requires a little bit of research to know what you’re getting into. The first step is deciding what you’re going to do with the website. From there’ it’s a simple matter of seeing what similar sites require for them to run and which hosting provider offers the best value for similar usage. Consider the features that a web hosting service provides carefully since switching providers can be difficult once you register your domain with one of them.