Here at Dynamic, we’re often asked this question! If you’re not a ‘techy’ or have no experience in all things web wise, then here’s the low down on what is hosting, how it works and what to look for in a good hosting company.
Q: So, what do we mean by web hosting?
A: Hosting is the term used for the storage of web files and data on the internet. Your website files are stored on ‘servers’ that are owned by hosting companies. Essentially, you’re renting the storage space from them in order to deliver your website to the people who are looking for you. Your website can’t be displayed on the world wide web if you don’t host it somewhere!
Q: How do hosting companies do this?
A: When someone types in your domain name (web address) their computer connects to the server where your website is hosted (or stored). It locates your IP address where your files are stored on their server and directs the person to your website. Clever, hey?
Q: What types of web hosting is available?
A: There are ostensibly, 3 types of hosting that are available and literally hundreds of hosting companies offering them. Their packages range from free to highly specialist and it’s worth considering which type would be the best fit for your business.
Q: What is shared web hosting?
A: Shared hosting refers to your website files sharing the same server as hundreds of other websites. It’s usually the cheapest type of hosting and a good choice for start-up sites when the site is relatively small. However, some shared hosting can come at the risk of slow load speed of your site, due to the number of files being stored, the amount of traffic pulling from the servers and the sharing of essential data and hardware, like RAM and CPU.
Think of shared hosting as being in the terraces at Wembley, jam-packed in, standing room only and craning to see the match. It’s noisy and busy!
Q: What is a VPS?
A: This term means ‘Virtual Private Server’. In this instance, the server is ‘split’ up into many smaller, mini servers and your files are stored in one of these. Although your website is still on a shared server, the VPS hosting within that server is private and dedicated solely to your site. So, there’s no pushing and shoving to get your website loaded quickly!
Think of being sat comfortably in your own dedicated seat at Wembley, next to other seated strangers, can see the game quite well with no jostling or distraction. That’s VPS hosting!
Q: What is dedicated hosting?
A: Dedicated hosting is the term that describes a server totally dedicated to one business. It’s not shared with any other data from other sources, is private and secure. This type of hosting is usually used by very big organisations with huge amounts of web data.
So, you’re now at Wembley, in your own private Corporate box, with friends, family, food and drink. That’s dedicated hosting for you!
Q: What should I look for in a good web hosting company?
A: There are a few things that you need to consider when choosing the best hosting package for your business:
- How much space (bandwidth) will you need to display your website correctly? The number of bytes required to transfer a site to its visitors is important. Media-rich content on your site (video or music), will take up more ‘space’ than text, so it’s important to think carefully about how much you’ll need, particularly if you’re going to be expanding your website over the months and years.
- Does the hosting company have enough space for you to expand your website? If the hosting servers are already at capacity, then it could cause problems when you want to expand your site.
- Are the servers themselves secure? Do they provide regular and automatic backups of your website, what are their disaster recovery plans, do they monitor their network regularly? Do they run firewalls, antivirus software and SSL layers to protect your data?
- Lastly, but crucially, what is their customer support service like? We hear horrendous stories of sites ‘going down’ and the owner can’t get through to their hosting company. Or if they do, they’re passed from pillar to post by the Company, whilst racking up fortunes in telephone bills! Bad service can cost you and your company dear, so it’s always wise to check your hosting company out first.
Q: What if I want to rebuild my website from scratch?
A: Many companies now offer a service called ‘staging’. This means that you can build your new website on a different domain name before it goes live. You can then either migrate it yourself to its rightful address, or you can pay the hosting company to do that for you.
Q: Are all web hosting companies compatible with WordPress?
A: Due to the popularity of WordPress as a website builder, it is pretty darned important that your hosting company supports sites that are built in WP. The majority of them do, but it’s worth checking out anyway. It would be a disaster to have built a super-duper site only to find out that your hosting company can’t house it.
Q: Is there a free web hosting service?
A: The answer is both yes and no! There are companies that offer free hosting, but you’ll soon find that you’ll be paying a price for them to promote their products on your site with pop ups and banners. The downside of this is that no one likes to see these types of advertising when they’re searching for something else, and the chances are that they’ll leave your site quickly if they see these promotions. The price to you and your business of this type of ‘lock in’ could cost you far more than a decent hosting monthly fee.
So, there you have it! A simple guide to what is hosting, how to choose the right type for your business and what to look for in a good hosting company.
If you need help with hosting, then talk to us at Dynamic Sales Solutions. We provide hosting packages specifically tailored to suit your business needs now and in the future. Give us a call on 01452 534 860. We’re local to Cheltenham and Gloucester, but we also provide hosting services to any UK business.
Take a look at our website www.dynamicsalessolutions.co.uk