Web hosting is a major consideration when launching a site; remember that without a web host - how can anyone view your site! Figuring out which web hosting provider and level of service you need can be mind boggling. This can be especially true for individuals/companies starting out who may lack technical experience in this area.
Hopefully this will blog will help some of you when making that important decision of where and what web hosting to purchase.
Questions which will impact your decision include:
and a variety of other issues connected with launching a site.
The elephant in the room - cost
Ok, let’s get this one out of the way first. Cost is often a surprise for those new to web hosting. In a push to reduce costs people can forget the importance of good web hosting to cover critical areas such as performance, speed, maintenance etc.
Let’s start at the beginning to show the importance of paying for the right level of web hosting.
What is web hosting? And why do I need it?
In short web hosting is storage space for your website which is hosted by computers called servers. These servers hold files which contain your site and deliver these files to those visiting your site in order for them to view it.
Some considerations around web hosting
Choosing the right provider can make a difference to your website performance, quality, speed, communication, and support.
Cost v Quality
Going for the cheaper option does not automatically lead to cost efficiency. Poor quality hosting can negatively affect your site in a variety of ways. For example your website may be unavailable to users when required, users may experience slow response times, or you may have a heightened risk of being hacked on a more frequent basis.
Cheap hosting can also impact your site’s SEO and your visitor’s user experience. A combination of these can lead to pretty scary outcomes for any business, leading to loss of time and profits. If you have a heavy traffic coming to your website, but the inadequate hosting cannot handle the heavy traffic, then your site will go down.
You also need think about the level of memory and hard drive space your content management system will need when the site is being updated.
Security & Support
A reliable hosting company will provide secure servers that are run on the latest software. This helps ensure your site is online as much as possible. They should also offer a customer support service which can be invaluable in assisting with technical issues or enquiries.
It’s part of reality that hosting companies will come up against outages (downtime) which may range from a few minutes to a few hours of downtime. During this time your website may not be accessible to users. It is important to note that not all hosting providers are good at communicating and keeping everyone up to date regarding developments such as outages, upgrades etc. Choose a hosting company with a good track record of communications is a good idea.
Hosting providers & types of hosting
As well as trying to decide between hosting providers you’ll also need to choose a type of hosting. There are various kinds of hosting available, each with different amounts of storage, control, speed, reliability, scalability and setup.
I have picked out two options from the many on the market to compare here.
Shared hosting is one of the most popular choices, especially for bloggers and freelancers, due to easy setup, affordable costs, and support.
With shared hosting you’ll be given limited access to a server which is shared between multiple people. This means that you are sharing resources such as storage space, memory and bandwidth with hundreds of other customers.
Performance & reliability
If the server encounters problems then all sites on that server will experience downtime and it can take time to get each site up and running again. You do not know who you are sharing the server with. If security isn’t prioritised hacking will occur and could compromise the entire server. If they get a traffic spike and overload of resources your site may also become unavailable to visitors.
Support & access
Maintenance, security and technical issues are all looked after by the host provider. If you have any issues with the hosting service, the support team will look after it for you. You will have limited access to some files and advanced settings (such as PHP memory, full level admin access).
Cloud hosting is a variation of VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting that is more scalable and reliable. It has flexible pricing, allowing users to only pay for what they use. It works by drawing resources from multiple different servers. If one server goes down, it automatically switches to a different server. If your site needs more resources it will migrate to a different server that will offer the resources needed.
Cloud hosting is generally priced for the needs and budgets of larger websites. It’s an option we frequently use for many of our clients.
Lots of flexibility but you get what you pay for
Web hosting costs vary dramatically depending on what company you choose, what type of hosting you go for and what plan/package you start on.
Remember, you are not stuck with a particular web hosting provider or plan forever - you can change company if needs be. An easier option may be to switch or upgrade to a different plan with the same web hosting provider when your site grows.
When it comes to web hosting, you will get what you pay for. So if you really care about the reliability, speed, and performance of your website - it’s a good investment.
Ok, it seems that the elephant has left the room; I hope this blog post gives you a good overview to think about when choosing Web Hosting.
At Webfactory we help some of Ireland’s largest brands select, configure and manage their web hosting. If your business has particular web hosting needs talk to us today.