All You Need to Know About Web Hosting
For many people, finding hosting for their websites seems to be a long and complicated process on par with having their teeth pulled. While it’s true that a lot of jargon is bandied about, choosing the right web host isn’t as difficult as it might seem.
You just need to remember a few critical factors when researching web hosts. Of course, the type of web hosting is also important, as the one you choose depends mainly on your specific needs and circumstances.
So, let’s take a quick look at the different types of web hosting.
A Quick Look at Types of Web Hosting
There are four main types of hosting available, namely shared web hosting, private virtual hosting, dedicated hosting, and colocation hosting.
This type of hosting means that your site will be sharing space with as many as 100 other sites on the same server. Sometimes, it can be more, depending on the web host. It’s mainly intended for small websites, but is relatively inexpensive, which is why it’s an attractive option for many people.
It’s also easy to use and tends to come with a whole host of tools that makes life easier, especially for people new to web hosting.
The problem with this type of hosting, though, is that if somebody’s website suddenly gets a lot of traffic and they exceed their share of the system’s resources of the system, it could affect your site’s loading speed. And the slower your site is, the more traffic you will lose.
Private Virtual Hosting
This is a combination between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. In other words, you share a server with other sites, but you have a dedicated section of that server all to yourself thanks to virtualization.
This option is suitable for small and growing sites.
It’s advantageous because the hosting provider is the one to manage the hardware, yet you receive full root access as if it were a dedicated server. It’s also easy to scale the hosting package up or down, depending on your website’s needs.
One of the issues is that you could be responsible for some maintenance of the server software. Also, the more resources you need, the more expensive it becomes.
Furthermore, if you want to upgrade the CPU or the RAM, you can’t really do it separately as they are often tied together.
In this case, your website will be running on its own server that you don’t share with anyone else. The web hosting company manages and owns the hardware, but essentially leases the operating system as well as the software to you.
This type of hosting is best suited for medium to large websites. The main advantage is that you aren’t sharing resources with anyone else. However, you can also configure the server extensively, and performance is usually much better than other options.
The problem is that it can get pretty expensive and you might even find that buying the hardware outright will make more sense over the long term. This is especially true if you need a lot of space or RAM.
Another drawback is that it does require a lot of technical knowledge.
This is when you buy your own servers and hose them in a colocation facility. In other words, a hosting company gives you access to their internet connection and ensures you have access to a climate-controlled environment with uninterruptible power. They’ll also provide physical security and some basic support.
It’s suitable for medium and larger websites.
The main benefit is that if you use it over the long term, it’s much cheaper than dedicated hosting. Furthermore, you have complete control when it comes to choosing the hardware.
The drawbacks are the large investment cost and the high degree of tech knowledge required to get things working and to keep them running.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Host
There are a number of factors you need to analyze when choosing a hosting provider, such as uptime, performance, customer support, and price, which are all essential when deciding on a web host.
Performance and Uptime
Performance and uptime are, essentially, the most important factors. The speed with which your website loads, as well as the uptime of your website, have a direct correlation to your traffic.
In other words, if it takes a website forever to load, people are not going to hang around. Likewise, if your website is down more than it is up, then you’re going to lose valuable traffic.
Thus, you want to choose a web host that has a proven great uptime – at least 99.9% – as well as a good server response time.
Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on what the web hosting company says, though. Instead, hunt around and check out some of the reviews online that have been conducted by people who actually test the service.
There are quite a few available and you’ll find that the advertising spiel is not always on par with the reality.
While you probably won’t need customer support that often, you still need to be able to get in touch with them quickly and make sure they offer effective support.
So, make sure that the web host you choose has support available around the clock, and that their team is able to help you with your problems. Web hosts that provide multiple contact channels are an even better option.
You should actually test their support yourself because, once again, many companies claim to provide excellent support, but the reality is not quite on par with their claims.
You also want to work with a web host that can help you upgrade easily. If your website and traffic grow quickly, the last thing you want is for your website to suffer because it takes forever to get more resources.
Thus, you want to work with a host that can switch you easily from a shared server to a dedicated one, for example.
Price should definitely be a consideration but remember that you do get what you pay for. So, don’t just look at the direct price, but also consider all the features and services included in that price, as well as the quality of service.
After all, poor service can lead to lost revenues, which will hurt more than a paying $10 or $15 extra a month.
Also, make sure to check the renewal policy as many companies will charge a higher renewal rate.
While we’ve already stated you should check out customer reviews, it’s important that we reiterate this.
Don’t just rely onthe company’s advertising. Instead, do your own research and learn as much as you can about the company in question. Check out their credentials but also customer feedback.
Also, make sure to look at reviews where the author can prove that they’ve tested the service. This will increase the likelihood of the reviews being objective, while also providing real results, rather than just marketing gimmicks.
While the above was only a quick look at web hosting, it’s more than enough for you to be able to choose a reliable web host. Remember, like with anything else, take the time to do your research, and you’ll be just fine.