When it comes to the possible ways of publishing and operating a website, the term “web hosting” is one of the buzz words used the most frequently. However, if you are a novice in the field of having a website – maybe you have just made up your mind about creating and publishing your own site – the way web hosting works might not be all that self-explanatory. That’s why we would like to help you get a general idea of how websites come to be and appear on the internet.
What Is, in Fact, Web Hosting?
When you have created the content and the design for your website, it is time to let other people see it as well – in other words, it is time to publish it. For this, you will need a web hosting company to provide the space your website requires. A webhosting company is practically a service that has powerful, large capacity “computers” that are continuously connected to the internet. These computers are known as web servers! Your website files are uploaded to these servers so that the rest of the world can access it online.
Registering a domain name is a pre-requisite to hosting your website online as a unique domain name provides the “address” from where your files will be accessed and located. A domain name is linked to something called an Internet Protocol (IP) address which is a unique number that serves as the real address of your website. Domain names make remembering where a website is located much easier as the IP looks something like this “18.104.22.168” which can be difficult to remember compared a domain like this “mycooldomain.com”.
Most web hosts allow you to register a domain with them, but there are dedicated domain registrars like NameCheap, NameBright and GoDaddy to name a few.
Where to Find a Web Host?
There are numerous companies that provide web hosting services. If you enter the simple query “web host” or “web hosting” into a search engine like Google, you will instantly get hundreds, if not thousands of web hosting offers, from there you will have to decide which one is the best for your requirements.
Some of the more popular web hosting companies include: Hostgator, BlueHost, MediaTemple and SiteGround. These are not recommendations but you are bound to come across these hosts when doing research.
How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Plan?
With so many companies providing cheap or completely free hosting services, the choice is certainly not easy. First, you will have to evaluate your own needs and requirements. If the site you want to publish is your personal site or your blog, you can choose a free hosting plan, but if you want to publish a company website, you will need a service that guarantees permanent uptime and extra features.
Shared or Dedicated Servers
Choosing the right server environment is another important task. You will see that you are offered several different options when it comes to the type of service you can sign up for. Here are the major types of hosting services:
- Shared hosting – this means that your website will be stored on and operated from a server that hosts other websites as well. This solution is certainly the most affordable, but if you want to publish a resource-intensive website, you should hire the entire server for your site;
- Dedicated servers – if you sign up for a dedicated server plan, your host will guarantee that the server your site is stored on will be reserved for your site and your site only. This is certainly the most expensive option, but if you have an eCommerce website with a huge growth potential or your website registers high traffic, this is the best solution for you;
- VPS (virtual private server) hosting – this solution works like some kind of a transition between the two types of server environments above. Your website will share a server with other websites, but not as many as in the case of shared hosting, so VPS plans are priced somewhere between the two types of plans above.
Other Features You Will Need
Your choice of hosting plan will depend on some other, additional features as well:
- 24/7 customer service and tech support is very important – should any problem occur, you will need to be able to talk to someone and get the problem fixed right away;
- You will have to know exactly how much storage space you need on the web server to be able to operate your website – calculate your needs and choose your plan accordingly, but take into consideration that your website may grow in the future, so it will need more resources, too.
- Bandwidth – your choice here will depend on the volume of traffic you expect and on the type of contents you have on the site. Pages populated with a lot of images usually require more bandwidth to function properly than those that contain mainly text.
Keep these tips in mind when doing your due diligence. A little advice before paying for hosting with the host you have selected: search for web hosting coupons online as over 80% of all hosting providers offer promo codes that can help reduce the cost of hosting significantly.