How do you choose the best among so many hosting services? And why is it even important? Well, when business owners take the time to choose a reliable web hosting provider, they ensure that their site remains responsive, fast, and (most importantly) accessible at all times.
Unfortunately for many people, choosing the right host can be confusing and even downright frustrating. There are so many options, and for those who aren’t tech-inclined, it can be difficult to determine how they all differ.
We help clients choose the right hosting service for their needs all the time, so we understand where you’re coming from. We put together this simple, easy-to-use guide based on the questions we hear most frequently. Keep reading to learn more:
What is a Web Hosting Service?
A web host, or hosting service, is a company that provides everything needed for a website to be viewed on the Internet. It is the actual physical location that houses your website, and it holds all of the data, images, video, and so on that comprise your site. It should be noted that web hosting and domain names are not the same thing: a domain is just that. The name used for your web address and nothing more.
Web hosting is provided by using a special type of computer called a server. There are several different kinds, including:
- Shared servers: A shared server is one physical machine that can hold hundreds of different websites. All of the resources, like data and bandwidth, are shared amongst the various sites. This results in a cheaper overall cost to you, but it comes with several drawbacks: there is little to no customization allowed, file types you can upload are limited, and most of all, your site’s performance can be negatively impacted by the other sites sharing the server.
- Virtual private server (VPS): Like a shared hosting plan, your site will be housed in the same physical space as many others. Unlike a shared plan, however, you will be allotted a certain chunk of the resources. That means that no matter how much traffic another site gets, they can never take away from the bandwidth and data you’ve been guaranteed.
- Dedicated server: A dedicated server is space that’s entirely your own. Your website is the only one that occupies the machine, and absolutely no one else shares your resources. You can either purchase your own server and keep it on-site or rent a server from a hosting company (many people opt for the latter, as the hosting company will provide updates and service for them).
- Cloud servers: Cloud servers are similar to a VPS, in that you’re sharing the resources with several different websites. The difference, however, is that your service comes from a vast number of servers, located all over the country (or even the world). If one bank of servers happens to go down, another will immediately pick up the slack for completely seamless service. As a website owner, you only pay for the service that you use each month (rather than a fixed rate) and you can scale on demand.
How Do I Know Which One is Right for Me?
There is no one-size-fits-all “right” answer when it comes to choosing the best choice of hosting services. The true answer lies in understanding your business’ needs and the amount of resources your website will require. If you’re unsure, ask yourself these questions:
- Does my website require a large amount of bandwidth or data? Do I have a lot of custom apps or features like video streaming and MP3s? Do I get a huge number of visitors every day? Or is it just a simple text-only blog?
- How much do I want to spend? We understand that you may be on a budget but be aware: you often get what you pay for. A lower-fee package most likely comes with less overall resources.
- Do I need to be able to scale quickly? You may have a small site now, but if you’re anticipating growth down the road, it’s important that your hosting service can keep up.
- How important is customer service? When you’re starting a new business website (especially if it’s your first one) you’ll likely have a lot of questions. Do you want to be able to speak to someone on demand, at any time of day? Or are you ok with sending an email and receiving a response later?
- Do I want to obtain my own domain name? If you’d rather make things as easy as possible, look for a hosting company that will provide a domain name for you. Many of them offer it as a free service as part of signing up.
- Does the company I’m looking at have great testimonials? One of the best ways to determine the quality of a hosting service (and whether they’re right for you) is to look at what other people have to say. Are current or past customers happy with the service?
Choosing the Right Hosting Services
Choosing the best among so many hosting services doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. If you understand the type of website you’re starting and what sort of features you’ll require, it should be easy to determine the amount of resources you’ll need.
Not sure? We’ve been delivering superior performance and best-in-class hosting for many years, and we understand what a small business owner needs. Call at any time to speak with one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives – we’d be happy to walk you through the process, step-by-step.