Web hosting services offer "physical" storage space for websites. These storage solutions are servers wherein you "rent" the area from your site to reside. Think of the servers as apartments, whereas web host providers are the landlords. If you're planning to develop a website, it will do you well to know more about web hosts before publishing your online presence.
So, here are three things to know about web hosting before developing and publishing your website.
1. Types of available hosting plans
All hosting services have the same objective: to provide a space for websites to reside. But, the setup of each hosting solution may provide different benefits. Here are a few types of web hosting plans you can avail from various service providers:
a. Shared Hosting
Think of shared web hosting services as a dormitory wherein everyone sleeps in the same quarters. This hosting plan lets site owners share the server space with other websites. Sharing the area also includes dividing the bandwidth allocation to all sites in the same server.
Shared hosting plans tend to be inexpensive, but they might offer several limitations and caveats in return. Also, if one website encounters an error or a hack, other sites sharing the same server allocation might become affected as well.
b. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS hosting allows site owners to set up personal space in servers. As a site owner, you can set up partitions on physical servers to use several digital servers.
Unlike shared hosting, the limitations and risks are fewer with a VPS web host provider. Also, your site shouldn’t feel much of the strain from the load to other websites in the server.
c. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting might be the most expensive option for all web host packages. If shared hosting is like renting a space in a dormitory, then dedicated hosting lets your site sit in a house. In other words, you're going to use entire machines or servers for your website. This option is ideal for sites that need to secure several features, hoping to gain a significant amount of traffic in return.
Make sure that you pick the best hosting plan that fits your site and budget needs. Read a few web hosting reviews before deciding which web host provider to choose.
2. Site uptime
One of the main challenges many site owners have to face with their chosen web host is site uptime. Albeit most web hosting providers cannot guarantee websites are live 100% of the time, the services should offer a 99% uptime on average, at the very least.
Site downtime can occur for several reasons. For instance, the server is installing updates and needs to reboot for a few minutes. Otherwise, a power outage took place in the physical location of the web hosting provider. You can check more information about the site uptime of different web hosts on Hosting Foundry as their web hosting comparisons are constantly updated.
But, these issues should not inhibit your website from being off the Internet for too long. Otherwise, you might be losing valuable visitors to the competition. That tragedy might look worse if you’re operating an online shop.
3. Site speed
Fast site speed is crucial to giving your visitors an excellent online experience. Many Internet users aren’t patient enough to wait for more than a few seconds before a website loads. If your webpage doesn’t load in time, then your efforts to gain more visitors might be in vain.
Several factors in the web host’s side may affect site speed. These elements may include:
- Server location
- Stability of the Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- The use of Solid State Drives (SSDs)
But, it’s also essential to note that speed isn’t everything for websites. Many individuals find stability to be a more critical factor than site speed. Consistency in delivering excellent online experiences may help maintain an ideal loyal visitor count. If your website isn’t consistent in offering suitable loading speeds, your visitors might find it as an annoyance.
However, it’s critical to choose a web host that can provide a satisfactory site speed with reliable stability. Also, don't solely rely on the web host's services as you still need to maintain a "hands-on" operation in managing your website's integrity. Don’t be that site owner that puts everything in the hands of the hosting provider and complains to them if an error occurs that you can prevent.
4. Know the terms
Beginners might find several terms about web hosting complicated and confusing. Albeit you can create an online presence and find a reputable web host without learning hosting jargon. But, it should be in your best interest to know about these terms. Some of the words you may encounter when choosing a web host include:
a. SSL (Secure Socket Layers) certificates
SSL certificates help add an extra layer of data protection to your website. These security protocols help prevent hackers from scrambling info during data transmissions. The captured data using SSL certificates will look unreadable and may require an extra amount of time and effort to decrypt.
b. Operating System (OS)
Like personal computers (PCs) and laptops, web host servers also use OS. Several web hosting providers use either Linux or Windows to help site owners carry out tasks.
c. The Cloud
“The cloud” is a term used to refer to a group of servers accessible over the Internet. Web host servers might include cloud features like digital storage solutions for site owners for added accessibility for files.
Other terms that you might consider learning more about include backup, bandwidth, and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). Understanding these terms will help you create better websites.
Remember, site speed, website uptime, and the type of web hosting service are only a few of the many factors to consider when choosing a web host. Also, don’t forget to learn about the terms used in web hosting and in creating a website to avoid confusion in the short- and long-term. Be scrutinous in checking each option before deciding which hosting services are best for your site. Pick the right provider, and you might gain more value from their services than initially intended.