If your business needs a website, then you’re going to need some form of web hosting.
But if you don’t work on websites for a living, then understanding how to choose a web host that’s appropriate for your business can be daunting, to say the least.
There are many different types of hosting, each with its own price points, features, and capabilities. And trying to figure out all this stuff can be pretty overwhelming.
But if you want to choose the web host that’s right for your business, then you’ve got to understand what each type of hosting is, and the benefits and disadvantages of each option.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “What is web hosting?”, wondering what makes a good web host, or trying to figure out how to choose a web host, then you’re going to want to keep reading.
Because in this article, I’m going to explain what web hosting is, and explore the various kinds of web hosting, including the pros and cons of each type, so you can choose the web host that’s right for your business.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows you to make your website publicly available on the World Wide Web.
But what exactly does that mean?
Well, when you pay for a web hosting service, you’re basically just renting space on a special kind of computer called a server, where all the data and files required to run your website will be stored.
Then, when someone types your website address into their browser, this computer will serve all that information to them, so that their browser can access your website. This service can be offered through the use of a dedicated computer, shared computer, or several other options.
When you have a website, you’ve got to stay on top of its security at all times, and that includes making sure it’s protected from hackers.
If you fail to do this, you’re putting your data, and that of your users, at risk, preventing users from properly accessing your website, and you can even hurt your search engine rankings.
How to Choose a Web Host
As I said above, if you want a website, then you need a web host. But choosing the best web host for your business is essential to ensuring your website has what it needs to run efficiently and securely, so this is not something to be taken lightly.
At the same time, picking the most appropriate web host will ensure you’re not overpaying for web hosting that goes above and beyond the needs of your website.
In addition, you need to be aware of several common web hosting issues, such as problems with the control panel, and making sure to pick the right package, so you ensure you’re not going to be paying through the nose for things like additional domains or email addresses.
When it comes to control panels, you should do a good amount of research on whatever web hosting services you’re considering, so you can make sure that their user interfaces are intuitive.
Believe it or not, a lot of web hosts’ control panels are an absolute nightmare to navigate, so make sure to keep this in mind.
As for picking the right package, two important things to watch out for are the cost of additional email addresses and domains.
Especially if you’re expecting to see your business grow significantly in the coming years, then you’ve got to make sure you’re not going to get gouged if you want to take on additional domains, or need to assign email addresses to lots of new employees.
For example, some web hosting services will charge an extra $5 per month for each additional email address, so that gives you an idea of how expensive this stuff can get.
At any rate, selecting the most appropriate web host for your business can be a pretty tough thing to do, as once tried and true hosts often get bought out by bigger hosting companies, who will impose new policies and terms of service at random, and often degrade the quality of their customer support.
That being said, below I’ve listed several web hosting options, explaining what they are and exploring the pros and cons of each, so you can choose the web host that’s right for your business.
Shared hosting allows you to share the resources of a server with an unknown number of other website owners.
This is by far the most popular option, mainly because of its affordability, as it’s much cheaper to share space on the server than it is to rent the entire machine.
In addition to being the cheapest option, this kind of web hosting typically comes with a bunch of free features, such as the control panel, databases, and email inboxes.
This is also the easiest option to use, as these servers are preconfigured, and well-organized, and your hosting company does all the maintenance and security updates for you.
However, shared hosting does have its fair share of disadvantages, as well (no pun intended).
For one thing, you have no control over the software that gets installed on the server, which means you’re basically stuck with whatever your web host decides to give you.
And more importantly, with shared hosting, the server’s resources are shared among all the different accounts on the server, and so if one account starts to use a lot of resources, this can impact the performance of all the other sites on the server.
If your business has a simple website with generally static pages, then a shared hosting plan might be a good option for you, but if you have a large e-commerce site, or something with a lot of concurrent users, or a ton of images, then you might want to consider a different option.
Rather than share a server with who knows how many other users, dedicated hosting allows you to have a server all to yourself. Dedicated hosting is a considerably less popular option, mainly because it is so much more expensive.
But, as the old adage says, you get what you pay for, and that is certainly the case when it comes to dedicated hosting.
Besides giving you access to a server that’s solely dedicated to your website, dedicated hosting also offers several other benefits, such as customization of the server’s hardware and software, expandable storage space, and full control of how the server is configured.
Simultaneously, because you have access to a dedicated server, the load times for every page on your website will be much faster, and because you’re not sharing the server’s resources, there’s no one else on the server who can impact the performance of your site.
And aside from the fact that this is by far the most expensive web hosting option, the other noteworthy disadvantage is that many of these packages do not include any kind of free support, so you may have to pay extra for that.
In any case, if you have a site with a ton of images, a lot of concurrent users, or one that requires a large database, such as an e-commerce site, and you want to ensure your website will be performing at its best, then this is probably your best option.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
Virtual private server hosting utilizes virtualization technology to give you dedicated access to a portion of a server’s resources, along with a limited number of other users. These plans typically come as a raw server install and don’t always include the software needed to run your website, which is definitely a double-edged sword.
If you’re someone who’s more tech-savvy, then this gives you the luxury of being able to log in to the server and install any software extras that you may need to operate your website, and you may also have the ability to choose which type of control panel software you want to use.
But if you don’t know anything about this sort of thing, then this can be a big disadvantage, not least because these kinds of web hosts are typically very hands-off with their servers, unless you request support, which could end up costing you extra, depending on what plan you’ve chosen.
This kind of hosting is somewhat similar to dedicated hosting, in that, aside from bandwidth, which is pretty tough to max out, the performance of your website will not be impacted by other users.
In a nutshell, VPS hosting is basically like the mid-tier option between shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
So, if you have a website with a medium amount of traffic that exceeds the limits of shared hosting, but doesn’t require the resources of a dedicated server, then this might be your best option.
How We Can Help You Choose the Right Web Hosting Service
While we don’t offer web hosting services ourselves, we’re extremely well-versed in everything having to do with web hosting, and can work with you to discover which web host is your best option.
All of our recommended hosts offer unlimited email inboxes and storage, free SSL, which can enhance your website’s security, and several will also give you a free domain for one full year.
We’re also more than capable of answering all your questions and offering additional tech support, which you may not be getting from your current web hosting service.
In any case, choosing a web host that’s most appropriate for your business is essential for the success of your website, and it’s a major decision that should be taken very seriously, as it could have a significant impact on your website’s performance.
So, if you’re still scratching your head trying to figure out how to choose a web host, wondering what makes a good web host, or debating whether you should renew with your current web hosting provider, it’s best to talk with someone who can give you the best advice for your business.
Are you wondering how to choose a web host that’s right for your business? We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so we can help you make the right choice. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you.
To your business success, Susan Friesen