Why you need a web host
While you can gain customers through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, your business needs a web presence of its own. Your business website is an asset that you own and you do not need worry about policy changes made by those social media sites. Your web host is the service provider that will store the files you use on your website. You might say it is where your website “lives” on the internet. It is the web host that provides a place on the internet for your website to be found on the internet. Without a web host, your website will just be a clump of files and it would not be seen on the internet.
Types of Web Hosts
A simple Google search for web hosting will return thousands of results and each web hosting provider offers different types of web hosting plans. There are 4 main types of web hosts, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud. They all vary in type, features, and prices. The type of service you select will depend on your business needs and budget.
Shared Hosting is probably the most common and most talked about type of web hosting. It is widely accepted as a great beginner option. Shared hosting is exactly what is sounds like, you share a physical web server with hundreds, and often thousands of other users and businesses. It is normally the least expensive hosting option but it does come with some drawbacks and concerns.
* It’s affordable. Since shared web hosts can host thousands of users on one web server they are able to offer their services at a more affordable rate;
* It’s beginner-friendly. It is very easy to get started with shared web hosting. It is very beginner-friendly and you can usually install programs such as WordPress with just one click.
* No real technical knowledge of web servers is needed.
* It’s maintenance free. You are not required to do any maintenance on the web server. Security, upgrades, and maintenance of the server are managed for you. (This does not include any updates to installed software such as WordPress.)
* Security Concerns. Because your website sits on a web server with hundreds or thousands of other sites, another site’s activities can affect your site. Another person’s hacked site can easily become your hacked site.
* Shared Resources. Shared space means shared resources such as CPU time, memory, and disk space. If someone else’s site is hogging CPU time and memory it is going to affect the speed and load time of your site.
* No Control of Server. With shared web hosting you have no control over the server or it’s performance. Your site will not be able to use resources beyond the maximum your web hosting package allows.
* Limited Usage. While on shared hosting you will be limited to the amount of CPU usage and bandwidth your website can use.
VPS stands for virtual private server and it is similar and yet very different from shared web hosting. It’s similar in that you physically share a web server with other users, but, different in that you are not sharing resources. A VPS is a physical computer that is divided into several virtual sections with a web server setup on each section. This separates users’ accounts and allows each section to function independently as if it was on its own physical computer.
* Security. Security concerns are less with a VPS than with shared web hosting since each user is compartmentalized into their own section.
* Limited Shared Resources. With a VPS server you have your own space on the web server and you don’t have to share with anyone else. This allows you to have more access to resources such as CPU usage and memory.
* Greater Control of Web Server. VPS servers allows you to have root server access. This allows you to have greater control of your web environment.
* Rapid Growth. VPS is great if your site is growing rapidly. It allows you to grow as your business grows. Web host providers can easier allocate more space and resources to your VPS as business and traffic to your site increase.
* Maintenance. Unless you choose a managed VPS plan, which usually cost a little more, you are responsible for managing everything on your VPS server including the web server software, updates, security, and more.
* More Expensive. While A VPS web host is more expensive than shared hosting, it is not super expensive and can be pretty affordable depending on the web hosting provider you go with.
* Technical Knowledge. Some technical knowledge is required with a VPS. You need to know the basics of web hosting and how a website works.
Using a dedicated server means you have a web server all to yourself. You are basically renting a whole computer server to use for your website and your website alone.
* Security. Security is usually best on a dedicated server because you are the only one using it. If you practice safe security policies you shouldn’t have any problems.
* All the Resources. Since you are the only user on the web server you get full access to all the resources. No waiting for CPU time or bandwidth.
* Control of Server. With a dedicated server you maintain control of the server and performance. You can configure the web environment to the exact specifications you want. Cons
* Most Expensive. Using a dedicated server is the most expensive option since web hosts cannot offset that cost with other users.
* Technical Knowledge. Technical knowledge is a must have with a dedicated server. Unless you have a managed account it is completely up to you to fix anything that goes wrong. Cloud Hosting Cloud hosting is relatively new. Clouding is a team of servers, which is called the cloud, that work together to host websites. It allows multiple computers to work together to handle the needs of any website. Pros
* Very Scalable. It has the unlimited ability to handle high traffic or spikes in traffic without slowing your website.
* More Resources. While you technically have to share resources with others like in a VPS, there are so many more servers involved and that means more resources are available.
* Extremely Reliable. Because the cloud has a team of servers working for you, if one server goes down another one is waiting there is to pick up the slack.
* Cost Efficient. You only pay for the resources you actually use.
* Advanced Technical Knowledge is a must have. Cloud hosting is not easy to setup and you must have knowledge of the resources you have and know when you will need more.
Web Host Providers
Once you have decided which type of web hosting you need, next is to decide which web host provider to go with. There are thousands of web host providers in the world today. Some of these are really big companies, others are owned and operated by two or three individuals, and some are even resellers of of the bigger hosting companies.
The most important things to look at before you decide on a web host provider is uptime and customer service. Uptime is the amount of time your website is on the internet. If a server has trouble keeping your site online, your business will not be able to work for you. If you cannot get ahold of your provider when there is a problem,