Without web hosting, you cannot have a live website. If you want to have an online identity via your website-be it blogging, business or eCommerce, you need to have a solid host. No matter what you read or being consulted, there’s no way around it.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting can be thought of a space where you put all the files necessary to run a website, usually HTML, CSS, media files and documents. A web host is a company that rents you space on its server. The web hosting companies manage the servers and make sure that your website is accessible to visitors around the world.
Why Web Hosting is needed?
Having a website that you can proudly call your own, require you to spend on a quality hosting service. Fortunately, today it doesn’t even cost much to hire a hosting service. If you are wondering, why exactly do you need hosting, it is because:
1. You need to have control
There are many free platforms like Blogger and WordPress.com that allow you to have your website for free. Then why do you need to spend money on a paid web hosting? Because when setting up your website on free platforms you agree to their terms and conditions. One day out of blue, your profit-making website can be taken down for breaking certain rule/s. Internet is full of such horror stories, you simply can’t risk giving such control to others. The best practice is to have the hosting account that gives you total control over your website.
2. Customize as much as you want
Free hosting platforms come with limitations. Furthermore, often these hosts brand themselves on your website that negatively affects your brand value. With a free web hosting service, you most probably won’t be able to have the kind of website you always wanted to. There is a restriction on storage space, plugins you can use, number of email accounts you can have, etc.
With paid hosting services you have total freedom to customize your website according to your needs.
3. Paid Web Hosting is safe
Free web hosting platforms don’t have the level of security one would expect to keep their websites safe. Paid web hosting companies ensure your websites are secured 24/7 and there’s support available immediately when there’s an issue.
How to choose the best Web Hosting provider?
Now that you know why you need a reliable paid web hosting; it is time to understand how to choose the best web hosting company. But before that, you have to need to decide what type of web hosting you will need for your website. Not all websites are created equal, they all have varied requirements. For instance, a personal blog is not that resource-dependent and can perform well on a decent hosting. While a heavy website, an eCommerce store, for instance, requires powerful hardware like more RAM, CPU power and database efficiency to perform. That is why there are different kinds of web hosting to choose from.
Types of Web Hosting
1. Shared Hosting
The cheapest of all, shared hosting is where you share the same server space with dozens of other sites. The resources of that particular server are shared among all the websites that are hosted on that server. Shared hosting is where you get started, it requires minimum technical knowledge for management.
2. Cloud Hosting
If you are expecting your website to start receiving high traffic volume (number of visitors per day on the site), cloud hosting will be more suitable. Cloud hosting has a network of servers which makes it highly flexible for large websites.
3. VPS Hosting
VPS or Virtual Private Server hosting has a private server that is divided into individual servers that are dedicated to the sites hosted on them. VPS setup is more like dedicated hosting, but the number of websites hosted on one server is much smaller than the shared hosting. This type of hosting is most suitable for sites that need more control and server resources but not as much as the dedicated servers (which also tend to be much more exclusive).
Most hosting companies of Managed VPS and Unmanaged VPS (cheaper) hosting plans. If you have the technical knowhow of servers, unmanaged VPS hosting gives you all the benefits of a VPS hosting at a cheaper price.
4. Dedicated Server Hosting
The ultimate hosting service of all, dedicated server hosting as the name suggests is for only that website that’s hosted on it. There is no sharing of resources which gives ultimate control and performance to your site. Most branded websites have dedicated server hosting. As this type of hosting is most expensive, you must pick it only when your website is resource-intensive and high-traffic.
With dedicated servers you get what are called the vCPU/RAM. The v stands for Virtual. Dedicated servers often host websites that have scope of exponential expansion. Such websites can’t be hosted on shared hosts as it is simply not possible to keep migrating website when it exhausts all the available resources due to more traffic. Dedicated servers have an option to expand much needed resources like CPU cores (that boosts the execution of processes, speeding up the website) and RAM. When the traffic on your website grows to a limit that resources additional computing and storage, you simply can hire more CPU or RAM.
Technical terms you need to know
Uptime-the amount of time a server has been up and running. It is a great measure to know how well a web hosting company is at keeping their systems up and running. It is generally listed as per cent like “99.9%”.
Bandwidth-the amount of data and level of traffic that can be transferred between your site, users and the internet.
Speed-time it takes for a server to fully load a website. It is usually listed in milliseconds like “0.33ms”.
Important word about control panels
Every web hosting company offers its customers control panels like cPanel and Plesk to manage different aspects of the servers. Depending on the web hosting company you will get access to different control panels but the predominant one is cPanel.
Today cPanel is run on over 7.5 million servers and over 1 million websites have cPanel control. Technically, cPanel is a web browser-based control panel that helps you run your website without a tech team. You can install CMS like WordPress, Joomla and Magento, manage email accounts, create backups, manage your databases, domain names, sub domains and much more with cPanel.
When choosing a web hosting company, make it a point to look for what type of control panel is on the offer. If you opt for Windows hosting, then Plesk is the best alternative to cPanel (it is for Linux servers only).
How do Web Hosting companies charge?
Most probably you will have a fixed web hosting plan that will be detailed in the specifications. For instance, GoDaddy’s hosting plan start at just INR 99 that allows you to host a single website and offers you 30GB of disk space and unlimited bandwidth. Now important aspect to pay attention to is the bandwidth. Not all hosting providers will offer you unlimited bandwidth which means there will be a threshold on how much data your website can transfer in a month. With such a web hosting if the bandwidth threshold id reached the traffic to your website will be throttled. It is same as the data pack on your mobile phone. If you run out of your usage limit the data speed is lowered by your telecom operator.
With dedicated servers and cloud hosting platforms you will have the flexibility to use the resources on-the-go. This means whenever your website needs more resources like disk space, bandwidth or computing power you can increase it for a price. Hosts like Google Cloud Platform automatically increaser the resources to meet the demands of your website. However, this can incur unexpected costs that you must be familiar with. This is why it is important to look into the fee structure of any hosting company such as charges for increase disk space and bandwidth use.
GreatBuyz understands how tempting it can be to have free hosting, but if you are serious about building an online presence for your business and service, remain in total control and thwart any potential risks, then pick a quality hosting company.