Picture this: You have started a retail business. You set up a physical store, hire new employees and buy the requisite merchandise. But your business also needs an online presence. So, you register a domain name and get a website built for yourself but don’t buy a web hosting service. Now, what will happen? None of the online visitors will be able to reach your website and find you on the internet. That’s why a web hosting is indispensable if you want to have a robust online presence.
In this brief guide, we will discuss everything related to web hosting: what is web hosting, how it works and how can you choose the best service for your website. So, let’s begin without ado.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service where you pay a service provider to use their servers and publish your website on the internet. In most of the cases, you pay a monthly or annual fee and get access to technical support and other features.
So, how does web hosting work? Let us see.
Your website is hosted on your service provider’s servers. Whenever a user types in the URL or domain name of your name, his computer gets connected to these servers and your website will appear in his browser.
Most of the service providers offer much more than space on their servers. Let us look at some features that web hosts typically provide:
Bandwidth: It is the maximum data transfer rate of the network of your service provider. If your website is expected to handle large traffic, then high or unlimited bandwidth should be your preference. Otherwise, even a small bandwidth will serve the purpose.
Storage: Most of the hosting providers offer at least 1 GB of storage space. This can vary depending on the type of content on your website. If your website includes heavy multimedia files, choose a plan that offers high or unlimited storage space. Even with an unlimited storage plan, there are limitations. Once you reach a certain storage usage, you will be notified that a limit has been reached.
Technical Support: All renowned hosting providers offer round-the-clock technical support. This is usually available through multiple channels: email, live chat and telephone. This is important because whenever your website experiences downtime, timely support can get your website back on track faster.
Uptime: Top hosting providers offer over 99% uptime. Uptime is the time for which your website remains available to its users. If your host offers 99% uptime, you will have 3.5 days of downtime per month. On the other hand, 99.999% uptime means just 5 minutes of downtime every month.
SSL Certificate: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a protocol for encrypting internet traffic. An SSL certificate tells people that your website is secure. Any website with an https web address uses an SSL certificate.
Backup: A regular backup is vital to the uninterrupted functioning of your website. If your website gets hacked at any point in time, all your data will be preserved if you have regular backups in place. Premium web hosts backup your website regularly and maintain its copies that can be retrieved if required.
Choosing a Web Hosting Service for your Website
Now that we know how important a web hosting service is, let us discuss how you can go about choosing one for your business.
1) Select the kind of hosting you need for your website
As a website owner, you get to choose from a wide range of hosting options. Here are some of the common ones:
- a) Shared Hosting: Here, your website is hosted on the same server as several other websites. Shared hosting is an affordable option for those with consistently low web traffic.
- b) VPS Hosting: VPS or virtual private server is a great option for those upgrading from shared hosting. Though a VPS comes with a dedicated set of resources, it is also a kind of shared server. A VPS brings higher speed and customization than a shared server.
- c) Cloud Hosting: Cloud hosting is a relatively novel kind of hosting where multiple physical servers create one large virtualized cloud server that hosts your site. Cloud servers are incredibly scalable and apt for growing businesses that draw high traffic. Unlike most other kinds of hosting, cloud hosting works on a pay-per-use basis, so you are charged depending on the space you use.
- d) Dedicated Server Hosting: Dedicated server hosting is one of the most expensive hosting options out there. It is ideal for websites that regularly attract heavy traffic. In dedicated server hosting, you get an entire server for your exclusive usage. So, you enjoy complete control over everything related to your server. Managed dedicated servers can be a great option for those with little technical expertise.
2) Assess the kind of website you want
Decide on the type of website you need for your business. By doing so, you will be able to narrow down on the choice of your hosting service. Here are some common types of websites business owners want to create:
- Online Stores
- Individual or business websites
Once you have finalized the kind of website you need, you can better follow the steps mentioned below.
3) Identify the features you need in your hosting service
Determine the features you need in your web hosting service. These will change depending on your website. For example, if you need an online store, you will have to ensure your hosting service has e-commerce capabilities.
4) Assess the level of support you need
Different kinds of web hosting services come with varying levels of technical support. In some cases, you get complete support from your host where everything from security, maintenance, installation is handled by your service provider. In others, you manage your hosting service either partially or completely. The level of support you need depends on how much technical expertise you have or how much server management work you want to outsource.
5) Consider the growth plan of your website
Do you plan to scale your site considerably in the days to come? Do you expect your web traffic or follower base to grow exponentially in the near future or stay fairly constant over time? These questions will help you choose an appropriate hosting service that’s in sync with the estimated growth of your business.
If you foresee your website to have consistently high traffic, investment in a dedicated server hosting plan should be the right decision. If your site has the potential to grow drastically over time, cloud hosting can be the optimal option. If you are an individual who wants to pen blogs to share with an online audience, a shared server will likely be a good option.
6) Establish a budget for your hosting service and choose a hosting provider
If you ask your hosting provider how much web hosting costs, their answer will be: it depends. Yes, the cost of your hosting service depends on your hosting service provider, the type of hosting you need, the kind of plan you are investing in and the level of support you need. So, it’s vital that you thoroughly research the expenses related to any hosting plan before buying one.
And once this is done, you can go ahead and select the hosting provider of your choice. As an illustrious web hosting provider in India, Go4hosting offers a wide array of hosting options for every kind of hosting service-shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud-in both managed and unmanaged categories.
Still have trouble figuring out the web hosting service you need? Call us on our toll-free number 91-120-602-5102 or email us on [email protected] to know more.