Web hosting is simply a space on te internet where your website is stored. When you have a website,
it needs to be accessible on the web, so the hosting service provider you have chosen is responsible for putting your site up and keeping it there, so that you customers can visit by typing in its URL in the browser bar on their computers.
Not all businesses would use the same type of hosting though, since their varied characteristics require tailored services that would best suit their individual needs. There are companies, such as PhoenixNAP, that will do everything for you from scratch – from building your web site to keeping it up and maintaining it. Others will give you that piece of internet space we mentioned at the beginning and leave you to it to do your own job.
Whatever the case might be, there are a bunch of factors to consider when picking out a host, and depending on the type and size of your business, the most suitable package for your company’s needs will be different every time.
How do you make that choice?
If you unknowingly go for the wrong hosting, running a successful website is going to be close to impossible. So how do you catch the right fish in a sea of web hosting providers?
Here are some points to consider.
Bandwidth and disk space offered
The first thing to do when looking for a host, is judge how much disk space and computer bandwidth you are going to need for your website. Is it going to consist of a few pages or dozens? What percentage is the graphic content and images? What levels of traffic do you expect? Is it a few hundred hits per day, or thousands by the hour?
If you are unsure, or expect traffic to quickly or gradually rise, an unlimited plan is the best option, because it gives you the peace of mind that your storage needs will be met irrespective of numbers.
Compatibility and Reliability
It doesn’t always immediately come to mind to consider what operating systems are supported in the package you are considering. Having to switch operating systems later might be a disaster, so make sure you check that point is covered too.
Another critical point to consider is what per cent of the time your site will be available. The so-called server uptime promised by most providers is 98 to 99%. This is nice if it corresponds to the truth, but since it is easy to go overboard on the promises when you are hunting for customers, it is advisable to do a research and read feedback from current customers of the respective host providers, to see if their reviews will give you information as to how good they are at keeping the promises.
A Word on Security
Do not make the mistake of skipping the check on hosting security before you buy. Security features such as frequent backups, firewalls, and user authentication are a must if your site stores and processes personal information and credit card data.
It is also nice if you have the option to be notified of any changes taking place, so that you can track down and stop any suspicious activity that might be going on.
Types of Hosting Available
Should you go for Shared vs Dedicated or maybe a VPS package? The general rules is that the more complex the site, the richer should the configuration options be.
Shared is the mainstream and most basic option on offer. Your site shares a server with thousands of other websites, which means that the RAM and CPU is divided between everybody. This offers a low cost but is a compromise on performance, so you should consider carefully which of the two you are willing to sacrifice.
The VPS or Virtual Private Server is more targeted to your needs than the Shared option. Your site is still hosted on a shared server, but a virtual server is specially created for you. This means you not only have all the server resources to yourself, but also provides a safe storage space for your website, increasing security by isolating it from the rest.
One level up is the Dedicated option where you have full control over your server. This is very nice because it lets you set up and configure things as per your preferences. The features that come with this package may not be suitable to all businesses, though.
WordPress hosting is the type which serves a particular niche in hosting, and as the name itself hints, it is designed to serve those sites, built with the help of the content management tool WordPress. Server optimization here is different and tailor-made for the CMS, and include WordPress updates, specific security features and pre-installation. If your business site was created using WordPress, then this is the general type of hosting you should consider.