Why Web Hosting Is Important
Reliable and high-performing web hosting is a crucial part of any successful website. When you’re thinking about building a new website, your choice of host is probably one of the last things on your mind. But, neglecting to choose the right host can have disastrous effects on your website—and your business.
With so many choices it’s easy to simply opt for the cheapest option. However, web hosting should be seen as an investment in your business. Think of your host as the foundation of your site. You wouldn’t build a home on a shaky foundation, and neither should you build a website with a low-quality host behind you.
If this is your first time building a website, then you might not know what web hosting actually is. Here’s a quick breakdown.
When you create a website, you essentially create a bunch of different files. These files need to be stored somewhere in order to be accessible on the Internet. You pay a hosting provider to “host” these files for you on one of their servers. This is the monthly fee that you’ll pay to a hosting company.
Hosting companies have collections of servers also known as data centres. Beyond the servers, there are a lot of additional elements like backup power supplies, network connection equipment, security measures, air conditioning systems, and a lot more.
Best of all, when you host your files on a hosting company’s web server they’re available 24/7, so your website will always be accessible on the web.
Your web host is also responsible for things like server maintenance, keeping the software and hardware up to date, troubleshooting, and more. As you can see, there’s a huge operation behind getting your website online.
Now that you know what a website hosting service is, let’s examine what you should look for in a web host. There are virtually hundreds of hosting companies out there, and a variety of hosting types like shared, WordPress and Dedicated Server Hosting and you definitely don’t want to choose one at random.
Here are the benefits of using web hosting:
1. High Reliability and Uptime
Reliability and server uptime refers to how often your website will be available online. Most hosts stick to the rule of 99.9% uptime. This leaves room for any necessary server maintenance that might temporarily bring your site offline. Some hosting companies will even reimburse you for any time that’s over their guaranteed uptime.
Before you decide on a web hosting service provider make sure to verify their uptime policy and if they offer any sort of uptime guarantee. After all, there’s no point in building a website if it’s going to be offline when you need it the most.
2. Bandwidth and Storage
Bandwidth translates to the amount of traffic and number of page views your website can handle every single month. It’s becoming common practice to offer unlimited bandwidth. However, there’s a chance this could get throttled down, or your site could go offline if you’re experiencing a massive traffic surge—such as during a holiday sale or if one of your blog posts just went viral.
If you’re on a shared hosting plan that offers unlimited bandwidth, keep in mind that unlimited might not really mean unlimited. Generally speaking, a site on a basic shared hosting plan can handle up to 30,000 visitors per month before you’ll notice that your loading speeds start to increase and your site performance starts to drop. However, if you’re at that level you can probably afford to upgrade to a better hosting package.
The other consideration is storage. The limits for storage vary widely across hosting companies and platforms. However, unless you’re storing videos, collecting and storing user data, or a ton of media content, you can probably get away with using minimum levels of storage.
3. Solid Customer Support
Customer support is something you really don’t think about until it’s too late. For some reason, your website is offline and no matter what you do you can’t it back online. You’ve tried contacting your hosting company’s support team and they’re non-responsive. Plus, you’ve got a big launch the next day. That scenario doesn’t sound fun for anyone.
For this reason, you’ll want to test support yourself before selecting your hosting provider. Submit a question or two and ensure their methods of support work for you. For example, some companies only offer email support with a ticketing system, while others include live chat and phone support.
Lastly, a solid host will have an educational blog, along with a resource library, that should be able to help you work through any issues you may be experiencing.
4. Domain Management Tools
When you first purchased hosting you probably only needed a single site. But, as your site grows, you may need to register more domains or set up subdomains for your existing domain.
Your host should be equipped with tools, such as cPanel, which allow for easy domain management.
Plus, when you’re purchasing hosting look for the ability to add multiple domains to a single hosting account. Some hosting providers will limit you at a single domain depending on your hosting package. However, it’s usually a wise decision to select a hosting package that allows for unlimited, or at the very least, multiple domains.
5. Clear Pricing
Hosting price increases are pretty common practice—unless you end up purchasing hosting for multiple years at a time.
Price variances will happen, but they shouldn’t come as a shock. Make sure you select a hosting company that has clear pricing terms, so you know if and when a price increase is going to happen.
6. Ability to Scale
Finally, you’ll want to look for a host that can grow with you. Hopefully, your site won’t stay the same size for its entire life. If you’re starting a site, then you probably want it to be a success. Usually, this means more traffic.
Over time, what you require from a host will change. If you started with a basic shared hosting plan, then you might eventually need to upgrade to cloud hosting, or you may need web hosting for your WordPress site.
When choosing a host make sure they offer scalable packages, or the ability to upgrade to a different hosting plan in time. You always have the option of migrating hosting providers, but it’s often much easier to find a host that you can stick with for the long-term.
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