At some point, everyone has thought of a brilliant website idea. In order to bring your idea to life, you need to learn the basics of getting a website up and running. The first important question to ask is, what is web hosting and how does it work?
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that enables website owners to store their website files on a webserver for a fixed monthly price. In simple words, it is the practice of renting space on a webserver to host a website.
Types of Web Hosting
There are five main types of web hosting currently available. As technology advances, more methods may emerge in the future.
Shared web hosting
This is by far the most common type of hosting. Shared hosting occurs when many websites are all stored on the same server. Since space is shared so freely, the price of this type of hosting is relatively low. This makes it an excellent choice for smaller personal websites that don’t expect to have too much concurrent traffic.
Virtual Private Server hosting involves multiple websites being hosted on a virtual network. This type of hosting sits right between shared and dedicated. While multiple websites are sharing, each site owner can configure individual settings similar to a dedicated platform.
Dedicated servers are best for large-scale websites. Dedicated hosting involves a domain renting out an entire server just for one website. Websites with millions of hits each day need full control over an entire server to keep their virtual doors open.
Hosting information in the cloud is the hot new craze. This allows many websites to store their information in a completely digital format. This provides cheap hosting that can be scaled up indefinitely. Many new businesses are starting in the cloud in hopes of expanding at a record rate.
This type of hosting sess multiple websites stored on a single hard drive. When a website takes up way less space than their hosting plan allots, the account owner can choose to rent out the remaining space to a third party. This is a smart use of bandwidth that allows the account owner to make some passive income by renting out their remaining server real estate.
Benefits of Web Hosting Services
Going with a web hosting service offers a litany of benefits to your website. Without one, your site may load incredibly slowly or not at all. Here are a few reasons why you should always choose a web hosting service for every website you create.
Improved site performance
This is arguably the most crucial aspect of any website. The average internet user will click off of any website that doesn’t immediately grab their attention. You have just a few precious seconds to pull them in, or you risk losing them forever. How fast your site loads determine who stays on your website. Fast websites also boost search rankings, which help attract new visitors. Web hosting ensures that a well-optimized website will always load quickly.
Robust technical support
Websites are halted in their tracks by issues all the time. Having timely customer support is essential to any web page. This is especially true on days of important product launches and other time-sensitive events. The top web hosting providers always have a team on standby to help their clients at a moment’s notice.
Domain-specific email address
Reaching out to potential customers with a generic Gmail address won’t produce very many sales. Most web hosts provide access to email addresses based on your domain name. This allows you to maintain brand recognition throughout all of your official communication and newsletters. A little professionalism goes a long way in the world of website creation.
Better website security
Security is one aspect of web development that many people choose to ignore. It is easy to think that no threats will ever befall your site. However, even the smallest sites have sensitive data about the owner stored on it. Web hosts provide security protocols that help keep you and your clients safe from malicious attackers.
Site reliability and uptime
Uptime has become quite the buzzword in recent years. It refers to how often your website is accessible to the general public. Most website owners will want their page up 24/7. The easiest way to maintain a reliable site is to use a quality web hosting provider. The top web hosting companies only go down when routine maintenance is in order.
How to Select a Web Hosting Service
Many people often wonder how to select a web hosting provider. There are a few key things to watch out for when picking a great service for your site.
Bandwidth refers to how much traffic and data your website can transmit at once. When wondering how to select a web hosting service, the first step is to ensure they offer more than enough bandwidth for your needs. Always choose a plan that gives you some additional leeway. You never know when your website will blow up overnight.
Some web hosts will have strict rules about advertising. When determining how to select a web hosting provider, always check the fine print about ads. Some providers offer free hosting in exchange for ad placements over your site. This gives you no control over what goes up and can put off your potential traffic. It also means you have no room to place your own ads if you choose to monetize your site.
Most websites are started by business owners looking to expand. If you have any desire to grow your site over time, be sure your web host offers upgrade packages. This allows your website to comfortably expand as traffic picks up.
Top 10 Web Hosting Providers
There are dozens of good web hosting services available globally. Below are the top 10 web hosting providers you can choose from:
SiteGround stands out as one of the top choices for shared hosting. It is one of the recommended hosts by WordPress.org and is known to be very reliable, with 99.99% uptime and solid customer support. With features like proactive server monitoring, automated daily backups, and proprietary WordPress caching plugin, SiteGround is a robust solution for both newbies as well as advanced users. The most basic StartUp SiteGround plan comes at $6.99/month (for a 12-month subscription) and hosts 1 website.
GreenGeeks is an environmentally responsible web hosting company. The company prides itself on being environmentally friendly and claims to offset 300% of the carbon from the energy it consumes. GreenGeeks offers a number of budget-friendly hosting plans, and its $2.95/month-3-year starter package offers unlimited storage, free domain and web builder, free CDN and SSL, and 24/7 technical support. With SSD servers, regular backups, proprietary real-time security scanner, pro-active server monitoring, and free SSH, GreenGeeks is also a very secure host. It provides a 99.87% uptime.
A2 Hosting has been consistently ranking among the top hosting providers. It provides unmatched performance, superb support, and a wide range of feature-rich plans. Due to its flexible plans, A2 Hosting is a great choice for novice and experienced users alike. The plans scale up evenly, allowing you to plan future expansions way in advance. The customer support is excellent, which is always a great asset to have by your side.
DreamHost is one of WordPress’s three recommended hosts, and includes some managed WordPress hosting in its basic shared plans. Monthly plans under $3/month are available if you pay annually, and $8/month if you’d like to add email. Customer service is one area where DreamHost could do better: email support is available 24/7, but live chat support is only available during business hours for the basic plans. DreamHost also offers the longest free trial period in the business (97 days).
If you don’t mind paying a premium for an optimized environment, with quality tools and excellent support, WP Engine is for you. WP Engine offers a highly comprehensive managed WordPress service to help you with setup, security, performance optimization, troubleshooting and a whole lot more. The WP Engine platform adds many useful extras such as a staging area allows you to work on a copy of your site, without affecting the production site. But this level of functionality isn’t cheap. The most basic WP Engine plan costs $30 a month, which is more than 3 times the price of the competition.
Bluehost offers incredibly cheap plans that start at less than three dollars per year. They also offer easy WordPress integration that makes building your site a breeze. They have been around for many years and have a robust technical support team if you have any questions or concerns.
This web host offers cheap plans with very few restrictions. It is an excellent choice for young companies that already have a lot of data to store. You get unlimited bandwidth, which will help you continually expand comfortably.
There are tons of plans to choose when you go with InMotion. They offer special startup pricing for newcomers and provide protection from DDoS attacks. If you suspect your site will need some security from day one, InMotion has you covered.
Hostinger is an excellent choice for businesses that are already booming. They offer a robust business hosting plan that gives you some advanced e-commerce features. You also get full control over all of your website’s intricate settings.
GoDaddy is easily the most well-known web host. They offer millions of domain names at relatively low prices. New users also get a free year of Microsoft Office 365 for a year upon signup.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you are new to web hosting, you probably have several doubts in your mind. Questions like why you need web hosting, how web hosting works, and how to select a hosting provider can get quite confusing. Below are some answers.
You need web hosting because it allows you to host your website without having to worry about issues such as server maintenance, management, and uptime.
2. What is meant by web hosting?
Web hosting is a service where a hosting provider rents out space on its server for a website to store its files. Using a web hosting service is like renting a plot of land to build your home. The server space that you pay for acts as the home for your website.
3. Can I host my own website?
Yes, you can host your own website by setting up your own web server. However, it requires a good technical understanding and it is always recommended to go with a hosting provider.
4. Is web hosting free?
Web hosting can be free or paid, depending on what you choose. If you want to start a brand new website with your own domain name, you will need to purchase hosting. However, if you want to start a website with a subdomain, you can host your website free of cost. Blogger and WordPress.com provide free web hosting by allowing you to create websites with your subdomain.
5. How does web hosting work?
All the data uploaded to a web hosting network is stored in cyberspace. When a person searches for something with their web browser, the server displays relevant files on the en user’s screen.
6. How do you get a domain name?
To get a domain name, you must first find out who owns it and buy the rights to it. Most domain names cost a few dollars each month. However, a massive website like Google.com would cost billions if they ever chose to sell it.
7. Are there any hidden fees?
While the fee isn’t exactly hidden, you do need to renew your subscription every year. It costs money to maintain a server for websites of any size. Even the top web hosting providers need to charge a fee to keep everything running.
8. Can I switch web hosting providers?
Yes. Many web hosts even offer a free service where they help you transfer all of your sensitive files from your previous host.
Web hosting is a crucial component of any website. Before bringing any project to life, choose a web hosting service that will suit the specific needs of your site. A little planning before you start can make the daily operation of your site much easier for years to come.