Web Hosting Explained
Most new website owners get scared and frustrated when they start to choose a web host. It’s not the process that is scary, it’s overwhelming for someone who has no idea what “web hosting” is all about.
So if you:
- are planning to make or already have a blog or website, and
- have access to a computer and an internet connection, and
- are not super techy person, but you want to understand the technology, and
- know the basics of the Internet, search engines, websites, and web address…
then let’s have a review what web hosting is.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is the service of providing storage space for websites owned by either individuals or organizations. It also refers to the activity of web hosting itself. Web hosting is a big industry, with more than a billion websites online. There are still millions of websites or blogs created everyday. Somehow, we all need server space to store all these websites’ files.
To be available online, a website has to be on some server or computer and connected to the Internet. That server is your web host. The web host can be anywhere in the world but it has to have power, Internet connection, and a dedicated IP address.
IP means “Internet Protocol”. It is a numerical set of instructions that provide communication, identification, and location system for any computer connected to the Internet. A “Dedicated IP” means that the address does not change with each connection. Web hosting companies own and operate dedicated machines to serve websites. Servers are in specialized building called data centers. Data centers have all necessary features to make your site available 24/7/365.
Most hosting companies also offer domain registration services. Some people keep their domain name with the registrar company, separate from the hosting account. Better keep it all under your hosting account for trouble-free management and maintenance
Finding the right web hosting company is essential for your website success. Don’t go too big right away, and stay away from free hosting offers. Start with basic shared hosting plan and move up as needed, your web hosting plan can grow with your website.
Although not all websites need to be updated daily, it is good practice to have new content on a regular basis. Here are a few important things you should be looking at when choosing a web hosting company.
Longevity in the Business
Don’t be afraid to ask for the web hosting company’s history and length of time in the business. A good web host has its own data center, a support team, and customers who can vouch for their service.
The computer hardware that acts as server is also important. Servers are expensive and costs a lot to maintain. A high-speed data connection, too. Both have to operate continuously to make sure your website is up and running online.
What good is the website if you’re not connected at all? A good web host should have full connectivity, high speed Internet, and reliable backup at all times. Look for this criteria when choosing a web host.
Make sure your host updates their software solution. You may using aged servers and low connectivity speeds to the internet, why not? But without the most updated server software, your online business may fall apart. Also, outdated server software may lead to hacking, affects downtime, and other server issues.
A good web host provides backup for your website in case of some disasters. Ask if they have automatic backups every hour, every day, every week, or every month.
Most web hosting companies offer price packages of all shapes and sizes. From the basic package to the enterprise package, they have bundled some services and features in one price. Don’t go with the package just because it’s the cheapest. Most of the packages are in the form of shared hosting, re-seller, or dedicated hosting. Know what your website needs and compare first before selecting.
Technical Support & Customer Service
This may not be something you need all the time, but it is important to have one when needed. A good web host offers not only 24/7 technical phone support but also chat, email, and through online FAQs.
Once you have these details, compare them to other companies. Don’t hesitate to call them and ask personally. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. They will understand that you’re not techy as they are.