Choosing the right web host for your website can be just as vital to its success as the design and content that it presents. It’s a decision that is made early on in the web development process, and it can have far-reaching implications. It can be difficult to navigate through the range of available web hosting options without the right knowledge, so we’ve created a guide to web hosting that will tell you everything you need to know to help you make the right decision for your business.
What Is Web Hosting and Why is it Critical?
To be put plainly, public websites are delivered to web browsers by a web server. A server is a computer that provides storage for a website’s contents, with software that responds to requests to deliver pages to the end-user. Web hosting refers to the actual services that provide such servers for public websites.
A web host is a foundational aspect of every website as it can determine the overall speed and availability of your website. You will need to consider factors like available bandwidth, server uptime and security to guarantee your website’s success.
Web Hosting Providers
Although it’s possible to purchase and maintain your own web server, it’s not an option that’s practical or cost-effective for most businesses. This means that you’ll likely be contracting services with an existing web hosting provider. There are thousands of web hosting companies competing for your business, but they are not all created equally. Your best option is to choose a well-established and reputable provider, such as:
There are a plethora of web hosting providers available, but you need to keep in mind that the needs of your website should determine which you will use. It’s a good idea to explore as many hosting providers as you can to find the one that offers the features that best suit your particular website. Make sure to read and understand the service level agreement (SLA) of any host you’re looking into, so you will know exactly what guarantees you will be provided with regarding performance and uptime.
Types of Web Hosting
Generally speaking, most web hosting providers will let you choose between servers that run on Windows or Linux operating systems —the one you choose depends on the specifics of your website. Since web hosting companies serve hundreds of thousands of websites at a time, they provide different types of hosting services depending on the size, traffic and complexity of your site. The different categories of web hosting services are:
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Servers
- Dedicated Servers
A shared hosting server means exactly what the name implies. Your website will be hosted on a server that is being shared with several other websites. It’s an inexpensive option that’s typically only ideal for small websites that aren’t resource intensive. In this configuration, your website will be competing for space, processing power and bandwidth with many others. This means that your website’s performance could be at the mercy of several external factors, including the demands of other sites you have no control over.
Virtual Private Servers
Virtual private servers are the next step up in web hosting from the performance standpoint. Technically, your website will still coexist on the same physical server as others, but it will have its own self-contained operating system with guaranteed resources available to it at all times. This tends to be a moderately-priced option that provides excellent performance and security for small to medium-sized websites.
If your website is large and resource intensive enough, most web hosting companies have dedicated servers available to suit your needs. As you’ve probably guessed, a dedicated server means that your website will have its own hardware. While expensive, it’s a necessary option for any business website that requires complete operating system control and total isolation from any other website.
It’s always a good idea to talk things over with your web developer before making a final decision, since they will be more familiar with your specific website and what it will take to make it work well. With the right care and attention to detail, your website will be off to a great start and ready to take your business to the next level! Contact us for web hosting questions and assistance. Or call us at 337-326-5479