If you want to get a website online, then you’re going to need web hosting. Without a web host, there’s no way for your visitors to actually access your website.
Still, if you’re just getting started with building a website, you might be wondering exactly what web hosting is, and how it can benefit you? Besides the obvious benefit of being able to have a website, of course.
What is Web Hosting?
Essentially, web hosting is a service offered by hosting companies. They host your website’s files so that they’re accessible on the internet.
Think of it like this. You’ve got a ton of different files on your computer, and if you want to access them you just open up the file. But, if you wanted to show this file to someone else they’d have to be in the same room, of you’d have to send them the files.
In this metaphor, your web hosts act as the sender. All of your site’s files are stored on your hosting company’s server. Then, whenever a visitor types in your domain name, the server sends these files to the web browser.
Your website is just a collection of different files and media elements, like photos. So, you rent a space on a web server and store all of your files there.
Your web host will also provide you with things like server maintenance, support, email accounts, and lot more. They’ll also provide you with tools that allow you to easily manage your server, even without technical skills.
Once you’ve purchased hosting, uploaded your site’s files to the web server, and pointed your domain name towards your hosting account, you’ll have a website accessible to anyone in the world.
There are multiple forms of web hosting available to you. Even though there are many types of hosting, not every style will be suited for your website. Review the following list to determine what type of web hosting you need.
Shared hosting is the most popular form of hosting, and probably the best fit for most website owners. One of the biggest advantages of shared hosting is that it’s incredibly cheap. If you have little to no budget, you can still make shared hosting work for you.
The reason it’s so affordable is that you’re sharing server resources with hundreds to thousands of other sites. So, instead of paying for the entire server yourself, you’ll be splitting the check.
Not only is shared hosting is very easy to use, but since it’s oriented towards beginners, it’s one of the simplest hosting environments to set up.
VPS hosting is a very different style of hosting. It uses a technical process called virtualization to create a virtual dedicated server. However, it still pulls resources from multiple physical servers that you’re sharing with other people.
The biggest benefit of VPS hosting is that you have access to much greater levels of server resources. So, your site performance will improve across the board. Plus, you have the ability to scale your server resources up or down as you see fit.
With dedicated hosting, you’re renting an entire physical server. This means no sharing of resources with other users. As a result, the costs of dedicated hosting will be much more expensive.
But, having an entire server completely to yourself offers you incredible levels of performance and storage. Plus, you have the ability to completely customize your server to help get the most out of your website.
Dedicated server hosting probably won’t make sense for most website owners until they’re getting massive volumes of traffic.
Cloud hosting is unique in that you’re using virtual hardware. Your entire hosting environment lives in the cloud. This relatively new style of hosting has immensely grown in popularity for a few reasons.
To start, it’s cost-efficient. With cloud hosting, you only pay for the server resources you actually use. So, if your traffic is variable month by month, you won’t be paying for a high level of server resources when you don’t even use them.
It also has incredible reliability. If a cloud server cluster isn’t functioning properly, your site will be moved to another server on the network.
Essentially, cloud hosting offers you the ultimate in flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Plus, it has incredible uptime and can offer you unparalleled performance.
Managed WordPress Hosting
The final type of hosting you’ll come across is WordPress hosting. It’s exactly like it sounds: hosting for WordPress websites. The most common form of WordPress hosting is WordPress managed hosting.
With this, you’ll get a server environment that’s 100% optimized to run on WordPress. This has the advantage of being more secure, helping you get the best performance out of your site, without having to handle any technical maintenance tasks yourself.
With WordPress managed hosting you’re essentially hiring a team of WordPress experts to manage your server for you, and help you get the best levels of performance possible. If your site runs on WordPress and you’re out of the initial growth stage, then investing in this style of hosting is a great idea.
The Benefits of Web Hosting Services
The right kind of web hosting plans can offer your site a lot. Without the proper web host, you run the risk of having a site that loads slowly (or not all), ruins your chances of ranking, and a lot more. However, choosing a high-quality host can help you avoid the tragic fate above.
There are many reasons why web hosting is important; it’s a service that is high-quality, reliable, and professional . Here’s a list of the largest benefits a rock-solid hosting provider can provide for your website.
1. Improved Site Performance
When it comes to succeeding online your site’s performance matters a lot. In fact, you only have a few seconds to capture your visitor’s attention before they leave your site and never return again. If your site takes forever to load, then your visitors aren’t going to stick around.
Not only that, but your site’s performance also affects your search engine rankings. With slow loading speeds your site will measure poorly in user experience metrics, which can influence how high your site ranks in search.
With a high-quality web host, loading speeds won’t be an issue for you. Now, you could have a very high performing host and your site could be optimized poorly, but once you fix your website’s slow loading times, you should find your site loads incredibly fast.
2. Outstanding Technical Support
If you’re providing products or services through your website, then you realize the importance of timely and helpful customer support. Your hosting company should be no different.
Imagine you’re in the middle of a big launch; everything is going fine until your site mysteriously goes offline. What do you do now? Every moment you’re offline is costing you sales. Hopefully, you can turn to your hosting provider’s support staff and they’ll be able to bring your site back online as quickly as possible.
If you don’t have the technical skills yourself, then your hosting provider will be like the technical team member you never had.
3. Domain-Associated Email Address
If you want to look professional, then you’re going to need a branded email address that uses your domain name. For example, if your domain is “newdomain.com”, then you’ll want an email address that says “email@example.com”.
If you’re reaching out to customers and clients via email, the last thing you want is to use your regular Gmail address.
When you use a quality host service provider you’ll have the ability to create your own domain-specific email address. Some hosts limit you to one, while others will allow you to create an unlimited number of domain-specific email addresses.
This allows you to look professional when reaching out to people via your website. Most hosts also have a number of email management tools built-in as well. For instance, you’ll be able to check, send, and receive emails, as well as set up email forwarders, so you can manage your emails from your preferred email provider.
4. Improved Website Security
Website security is something that a lot of website owners never think about. Although having a 100% secure website is nearly impossible, you never really know where the next threat is going to come from. You can still take steps to ensure your website is as secure as possible.
The foundation of your website’s security begins with your host service provider. After all, this is where all of your site’s files are going to be stored. A quality host will have multiple levels of security in place.
For starters, you have the actual physical datacenter, which will be protected. Then you have any necessary firewall protection on the servers themselves. Finally, depending on what kind of web hosting services you have, you’ll have security measures in place that protect your site from other sites using the same server.
As you can see that’s a lot of steps to secure your site. Then, you have everything you can do on top of that to secure your own website. This will involve things like locking down your login screen, installing spam software, changing up user permissions, or even installing one of many security plugins to help enhance your existing security.
Hopefully, your host also has regular website backups in place. You might not ever need to use them, but if your site does get hacked, you can just restore to a previous version of your site, instead of having to start over from scratch. These can also come in handy if you accidentally take down your site by editing any of the core files. Instead of having to troubleshoot every little thing, you can just restore your site from a previously saved backup.
5. High Reliability and Uptime
When you’re trying to find the right hosting company, you’ve probably come across the term uptime. It’s actually incredibly important. Your site’s uptime is how often your site will actually be online. You’re probably thinking, “I want it online all the time,” and that’s a natural response.
However, most hosts have a clause in the hosting contract that specifies the percentage of time that your site will be online. For most hosting companies this number is 99.9%. That small percentage of time when your site is offline is when things like server repairs, updates, and maintenance are done.
If you’re choosing a host because of its high uptime, you’ll want to make sure this claim is valid. The online reviews that speak to downtime will say a lot, and so will their guarantee. Some hosts will even offer payment credits for any time that your site is offline outside of the guarantee.
Regardless, a hosting company with high uptime can be very beneficial to your bottom line. After all, people can’t buy your products or services when your site is offline.
As you can see, the right web host can bring a lot of benefits to your website. While the wrong host will only make your success online that much more difficult.
Beyond the main benefit of helping you get your website live on the internet, web hosting carries a lot of other benefits as well.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how you can take advantage of these by choosing a high-quality hosting provider.
Keep in mind that the type of hosting you settle on should be what’s best for your current website needs. You can always switch packages, or upgrade your hosting in time.