What is Web Hosting – The Ultimate Guide
For most people, a website and email hosting service are among the first things that come to mind when you begin to start and build your business. This isn’t surprising as more and more people are searching for local businesses and web hosting solutions online each day.
When you first start to look into building your online presence and your new business website, the first thing you will be looking to do is organise a Domain Name and Web Hosting solution, but the key question here is, what is web hosting and why do you need it? We’ve broken this down for you in a few easy to follow answers;
- What is a Domain Name?
First things first, you will need to register a domain name for your website. Your domain name is a vital part of your online address, and is what your visitors will use to find you easily. For example, OzHosting’s domain name is ozhosting.com. Your domain name is unique to you; once you have registered it, nobody else can register the same one for as long as you continue to renew it.
Recommended – If you would like to secure the branding of your business think about purchasing as many domains with your name as you can. This will ensure that no one else is able to use them. For example; you might own YourBusiness.com. So you might want to look into purchasing YourBusiness.com.au, YourBusiness.net, YourBusiness.co, etc.
- What is Web Hosting?
The next thing you will want to do is reach out to a Web Hosting provider to find the service that best suits you, but what is web hosting? Web hosting is a service that allows individuals and businesses to post a website or web page on to the Internet – Imagine your web hosting solution is a block of land in a suburb. Your website is the house you build on that land. In a real world property situation, you are not able to build or maintain your house without first organising the land on which it will be placed. Web hosting is not much different, a hosting provider leases a block of server space and allows the business owner to upload their webpage. Once setup, anybody with a connection to the internet can find and start browsing your site.
But you are probably wondering:
- What are the different types of Web Hosting?
When it comes to Web Hosting, you can generally bring this down to three main types of web Hosting Solutions. These include Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) and Dedicated Server.
While all of the above types of hosting servers will act as a storage centre for your website, each differ in the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement server speed, and reliability. To help you out we’ve dug into each and look at the main differences between them;
When it comes to shared hosting, your website is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few to hundreds or thousands. This works by allowing all domains to share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. Fear not, even though you are sharing a server with other companies, each website is isolated on its own block of land, protected from the others. As this website hosting cost is quite low, most websites for Small to Medium sized businesses are hosted on this type of server. Shared hosting is widely accepted as the entry level hosting option as it requires minimum technical knowledge and very little maintenance.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS):
A Virtual Private Server or VPS for short, divides a primary server into smaller virtual servers. This means that each website has the feeling of being hosted on their own dedicated server, but they’re actually sharing a server with a few different other users. Each user has root access to their own individual virtual space, as a result this equals in a more secured hosting environment. If you need greater control at the server level but don’t want to invest in a dedicated server, a VPS might be right up your ally.
Dedicated Server Hosting:
A dedicated server offers the maximum control over the web server your website is hosted on. When using a Dedicated Server, you exclusively rent an entire server so your websites with, great power comes… well, greater website hosting costs. Dedicated servers are known to be very expensive and it’s only recommended to those who not only need maximum control and server performance but also for those who are technically sound to manage such a beast.
- Bandwidth Vs. Data Transfer?
The more you dig into these types of web hosting solutions, terms like ‘Bandwidth’ and ‘Data Transfer’ will continue to pop up, but what exactly do these mean? Bandwidth is the measure of the maximum amount of data that can be transferred (typically measured in seconds) by your hosting service at any given time. While Data Transfer refers to the consumption of bandwidth. So in layman terms, the amount of data being transferred is ‘data transfer’, while the rate of data being transferred is ‘bandwidth’.
- How do I pick a good Hosting Provider?
With so many hosting companies available to you it can be difficult narrowing down which one is the right one for your business. With literally hundreds of questions that are potentially racing through your head, the following are a few important ones to get out of the way first;
Questions to ask a potential hosting company:
– What is the uptime guarantee? (Anything less than 99.9% is unacceptable in this day and age.)
– Where is my information being stored? It is always recommended that you look for a hosting company that operates in the same country that you do. This ensures that your data is protected by the same laws of your County – Vital for companies dealing with legal documents and files.
– What level of customer/ technical support do they offer? Are these services available by Phone? Email?
– What are their customer service/ technical support trading hours?
– What is the billing arrangement?
– Is your personal information protected?
– Are there options to upgrade or downgrade your service at any time?
– What are their security measures and server backup protocols