A domain name is the web address people can use to access your website, but you also need hosting space and a way to upload and store all your website files to your web host. Then users will actually be able to see your website’s content online. At it’s most basic, purchasing hosting is basically renting web server space for your web files.
There are many types of web hosting options available for different types of business needs and budgets. Let’s do an overview of each type.
Shared Web Hosting
With shared web hosting, multiple websites are stored and run on the same server. These websites will also share resources like memory and disk space. If we use a building a house analogy, we can think of shared hosting as renting a room in a house. We have our own private space to add furniture and paint the walls, but common resources like the kitchen and the bills are shared. However, unlike having room mates, with shared web hosting, you won’t actually know which websites are actually using the same server as you.
The hosting company will manage that. For the majority of websites, shared hosting provides enough resources and is the most popular option. Shared hosting also allows the hosting company to offer this service at a lower price since their cost is divided among multiple customers. In the event that someone using the shared server does use more significantly more resources or you have a sudden spike in traffic, you may experience some performance issues. If this happens, you can always contact the web host customer service and have them look into the issue and possibly move you to another server if necessary.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
Keeping up with the house analogy, VPS hosting can be thought of as a town house or a condo. Some common areas are shared, but for the most part, each unit is separate from each other. With VPS hosting, multiple sites share the same server, but there are less sites per server than shared hosting. Each site also uses its own resources so increased traffic on one site, won’t effect its neighbouring site. Less shared resources means a higher cost, but if you need better performance and faster loading times, this may be for you.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated hosting would be like owning the entire house and the land that it’s on. With dedicated web hosting, your site is the only one on the server. The cost will be higher since you’ll be renting the whole server and not sharing any resources. This option is mostly used for websites that have high traffic or large e-commerce businesses. Companies will also have more technical control over the server.
Cloud Web Hosting
Cloud hosting is a bit of a combination of the types of hosting we just discussed. Hosting sites in the cloud means operating across multiple web servers that work together rather than just one server, but cloud hosting still acts as a dedicated host. The chances of downtime are reduced, and cloud hosting can manage spikes in traffic better because another server can provide additional support when needed. Cloud hosting can sometimes be a pricier option, but the price also fluctuates because you only pay for what you use. It may also depend on how the hosting company packages their pricing plans.
WordPress Web Hosting
WordPress hosting is specifically for sites using the WordPress content management system, like us. Many WordPress hosts automatically handle platform specific needs like updates to the CMS, automatic backups and other back-end support. This is ideal for those who want to use the WordPress platform but have less technical back-end knowledge.
Hosting can be more than just for your website files. Most hosting companies also include email accounts using your custom domain name. You can have one or more emails all using your domain name for consistent branding. In addition to choosing the type of hosting, some other features to look out for are customer service support. I personally prefer live chat customer support, but maybe you prefer email or phone support.
Check what options are available for contacting them. Also, are they available 24, seven? Also, think about how much storage space you might need. You can always start small and upgrade as needed. Your host usually allows you to monitor how much space you’re using. Other things to look out for is a money-back guarantee or a trial period. Check their cancellation policy. These are just a few considerations, but each person or organizations means will vary or change over time. There are many hosting companies to choose from, but if you do a search for web hosting review, there are a lot of comparison articles to help with your decision. Compare the different company offerings and choose one that fits your needs and don’t decide just by price. If you’re not sure what you need, start small. You can always upgrade later if you need to.