When you dive into your digital journey and look into making your business thrive online, you will undoubtedly need to look at website hosting and if you come from a non-technical background finding the right package can seem daunting.
However, once you have jumped through all of the tech jargon, website hosting isn’t as confusing to understand. This post looks at all the different things you need to be looking out for when finding your website’s home.
Although they sound like they would be similar, domain and website hosting are two different things and if you are planning on making a website for your business you will need both.
Domain hosting is handled by a registrar who will sell domains to you for a yearly fee, the ending of the domain (.com, .co.uk, .org) depends on how much that yearly fee is. Occasionally you can get these with website hosting, but I always recommend getting these separately for security.
Website hosting is where your domain will point, this will be servers that house your website and your domain knows where to find your website hosting because it will have “name servers” which tell the domain where your website lives. Website hosting is charged either monthly or yearly, depending on your preference but usually yearly hosting is slightly cheaper.
There are two key items of any hosting that you need to think about first: bandwidth and storage space.
Bandwidth is important because it tells you how fast your website will load for people (how quickly the server responds) and more importantly, how many times it can be loaded up in a month (how much data can be transferred from the server each month).
The more people you expect to visit your website, the more bandwidth you need. If you are in a small area and don’t expect a lot of visits, then you can go for a low tier bandwidth. Always slightly over-estimate this one, as peaks in traffic can cause problems.
Storage is the second key item on any hosting, this is like a hard drive in a computer or a storage box. The more space you have, the more you can put up on your website.
If you are planning a large online store, with all of your shops’ items on then you’ll need more space. But if you are only planning on a little website focusing on some key information then you just need a beginner or small hosting package.
You can easily get away with 10GB of storage for a small website, this will cover content management systems, pages, and images. You can also scale up bandwidth and hosting as needed.
Now, more than ever, it has become important to make sure your website hosting is secure. There are lots of back doors in any type of server, so you need to ensure that you are limiting the number of attacks you are vulnerable to.
Making sure your hosting company has regular server upgrades is recommended so any new threats are covered, along with all past threats. Checking security settings for current websites hosted on the same servers is also important, to make sure the servers you will be going to are covered against any threat.
As a website owner, you will also need SSL certificates especially if you are going to be processing user details or taking payments. These are relatively easily obtained and any web hoster worth their salt will offer it as an additional service.
Some website hosting companies will also offer a service called “Let’s Encrypt“, which is a free SSL certificate for smaller businesses. However, these only last 3 months. A paid-for certificate will last 1 year.
Most websites will be okay on shared hosting, if you are expecting a lot of traffic then you will want to look at dedicated.
Dedicated hosting is much more expensive because you have a server all to yourself instead of sharing with other people. There is no real reason to ever need dedicated hosting, unless you are a very large business who wants freedom over their servers.
I have years of experience when it comes to finding the right hosting package for businesses and offer management and consultancy services to anyone looking for help.