Getting the best web hosting done for your website is a very important task in the process of launching your website.
If you have chosen the right domain name, then you must decide the best web hosting service provider which suits your requirements/budget.
What is web hosting?
In simple terminology, web hosting is server space where your website related files get stored.
For example, you are trying to access www.bloggingonblog.com website then your web browser will access the website files and display content in the web browser. It’s by accessing those required website files where they stored by its owner.
In other words, you are renting some space on the server to store site related files. When someone tries to access your website then based on the web browser request, files get fetched and displayed on the browser.
From whom you get this server space?
There are few best web hosting service providers who will have required setup to store and manage your files.
When you buy any web hosting plan that means you are renting some space on their server who store and manage for you.
These servers will be in running more almost 24/7 so that your site can be accessed without any breaks. These servers required special software and hardware setup with continuous maintenance to provide the best browsing effect.
Most of the businesses or people who have websites don’t have their server setups. Hence, they will go any of the best web hosting service providers available to rent some space for their websites.
These web hosting service providers will give basic services like maintenance, security and required software install.
How does this web hosting work?
As we just discussed, your website is a collection of some files. After you buy any web hosting service provider plan, you will have to build your website.
You will get access to cPanel to load the website files onto the server or you may use CMS like WordPress to build the website.
You may store all scripting files (CSS, js, PHP, HTML), media and video files in the space allocated to you. This storage capacity will vary based on the web hosting plan you have purchased from the service provider.
After you buy the best domain name from any registrar, you have to link the same domain name with the hosting you have done.
So, when someone tries to access your website, then the web browser will access the files from where you stored on the server and display it on UI.
Why this web hosting required?
You might be thinking that why can’t I use my PC/laptop as a server and launch my website when a website is just a collection of some files.
Off-course, you can do that in case you are an experienced webmaster. There are a few main reasons we go to web hosting service providers instead of launching with our server.
What if there is a power cut in your area, especially if you are living in a residential area? If your PC (server) goes off, then no one can access your website from somewhere else in this world.
Web hosting service providers will install power backups to avoid server down issues even when no power in server location. So that your site active and accessible almost al the time.
When someone tries to access your site, as a server your PC requires internet to receive that request and respond. It requires more internet upload speed than your home internet plan supports.
Because it depends on the number of people accessing your site at a given point of time.
Consider you need to install the best security software to avoid attacks on your site like malware, hacking.
Maintaining a server is not as easy as maintaining your PC or laptop. There are many aspects you need regular maintenance. Like installing up to date OS versions, security patches, checking or repairing hardware issues.
Sometimes, it is very difficult to identify the issue until you have experience in that subject.
If you fail to resolve any such issue in time, then your site will affect if someone tries to access it.
Web hosting service providers will have a big team of IT who will do this job. This Technical Infrastructure Team will regularly monitor servers and repair if any software or hardware issues.
If you see all the above reasons, to make your life easier and offer the best performance to your website users, suggest you shouldn’t go with self-hosting.
Hence, list down your requirements and check which web hosting plan best suits your ask. Before that, you must know what are all types of web hosting services available and what to consider while choosing any type.
What are all types of web hosting services available?
- Shared hosting
- VPS/Cloud hosting
- Dedicated hosting
These web hosting types are depending on what are the services they provide to you. Like a site with millions of views having different requirements than a site with average traffic.
There are various web hosting types available but we will cover below basic types of web hosting which are popular.
If you are newly launching your site, then you may go with this basic low-cost web hosting plan.
As name it-self convey the message that this shared web hosting is where you share the server space with other website owners.
For a real-life example, you are renting a flat in a multistorey apartment where basic services shared across all other flats. In this way, you don’t need to worry about the maintenance of those services but free to use the flat space allocated with some guidelines.
Similarly, the web hosting service provider will allocate space to store your files and install all required software like CMS.
Based on the plan you chose, you have to use the limited resources allocated, you shouldn’t go beyond that.
The server will be portioned rightly in a way so that there won’t be any security issues to your site from other websites.
This VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is best suited for websites with medium level traffic that exceeds shared hosting limitations.
Virtualization technology will provide you dedicated (private) resources on a server which shared with multiple users.
Using this virtualization technology, the hosting service provider installs a virtual layer on top of the operating system of that server. This particular layer splits the server into partitions which allows each user to install their software.
As its name says, it is Virtual and as well as Private where you have complete control over it. Other users will also be there but separated at the OS level. It is very much similar to how you partition your computer disk space and install different OS.
This VPS hosting option is a bit more secure and stable solution than shared hosting in which you don’t get a dedicated server space. Still, it’s smaller-scale and cost-effective than renting an entire server space.
With VPS hosting, you will get guaranteed resources (like memory, disk space, CPU, etc.) which you don’t have to share with other users on the same server. In this option, you will get root-level access similar to a dedicated server plan, but with low cost.
You need technical skills to manage the server correctly as Improper configuration may lead to security vulnerabilities of your website.
In Cloud hosting, you don’t use a particular server but rather a server cluster that runs in the cloud.
Each of the servers in that cluster will store the latest copy of your website files.
If one of the servers in the cluster is busy, then the request will route to another server in the cluster automatically to serve the requested task.
Hence, there are very fewer chances of downtime in cloud hosting as it routes the traffic based on server availability in the cluster to serve the website visiter’s request.
And so, we can say Cloud hosting and VPS hosting are not mutually exclusive to each other.
As its name says, you will get allocated to the entire server space in dedicated hosting. This dedicated hosting is a costlier option than shared hosting as there are no other users to share the server space and cost.
You can go with this option if your website receives huge traffic or your website need special server-level configuration.
As the entire server space is yours, you can install all software whatever is required for your website.
This option gives you the best performance and security but you need some technical skills to configure the same in the right manner.
What are all must considerations before choosing the best web hosting plans?
There are a few things you need to mind before selecting any hosting plan so that you can choose an appropriate hosting plan.
Required bandwidth: bandwidth is traffic or number of page views you are expecting on your website. The more traffic you expect the more bandwidth required from the server to server visitor’s requests.
Hence, you should pick up the best web hosting plan which supports your maximum bandwidth expectations.
Storage capacity: general website files (CSS, JS, PHP, etc) will be small in size and won’t occupy a lot of space on your site. If you are going to add more videos, images, that required you to choose the best web hosting plan which comes with enough disk space for these needs.
Site uptime: Site uptime requirement is dependent on the type of website you are creating. Most web hosting service providers will give 99.9% uptime but some websites need 100% uptime.
Business Email accounts: Check if the web hosting provider allows you to create a business email account. Business email is something like firstname.lastname@example.org which looks very professional than having like info.yourdomainname@gmail/yahoo.com.
Some web hosting providers give business email option free for some time and few changes you for the same.
FTP access: FTP is a useful and known method to transfer files from one computer to another on the internet. If you want to upload or download any website files to your server, FTP access is a must and easiest way. Unless you are a beginner and not required to upload any website files, you need to explicitly ask for FTP access so that upload/download the files easily.
Support: This is a very crucial aspect where you don’t know when you need support from the hosting provider. Imagine you stuck with any issue which resulted in the website gone down but no immediate support from the hosting provider.
Some hosting providers provide a different mode of support based on the plan you are purchasing. Plans like 24/7 email support only, chat support, on-call support sometimes only in business hours.
Hence, better to check the support aspect in each available plan before picking up any plan.
I hope you have got a better understanding of these web hosting options like what is web hosting and types of hosting available. And more importantly what services to see while choosing the best web hosting plan.
So, check all the required aspects and choose the best web hosting plan and web hosting service provider. I will cover the best web hosting service provider (like Hostinger, siteground) plans based on the budget in my next article.
For other fellow blogger’s benefit, please share in the comments if you know any other vital features to check before choosing a web hosting plan.