You have your business up and running and now it’s time for your website. As you speak to web designers and developers to get your website built, you will learn that you also need to buy two things. One, a domain name, which is simply what you and all your visitors type on your browser’s address bar to visit the homepage of your website.
Next, you need to buy web hosting. This article will help you understand what it is and why you need it.
What is web hosting for?
Let’s start by breaking down what a website is to its core; it is essentially information. Everything you see on a website is information: words, pictures, sounds, and videos. Not only that, behind a website is a series of instructions to dictate how a website looks and behaves. Meaning colours, effects, what happens when you click or scroll, and so on. All of that is information.
For a website to function, all this information needs to be put where it can be accessed by anyone in the world. So that anyone with internet access can merely type www.yourbusiness.com and find you. But where can the information be placed?
It has to be ‘hosted’ on a server, which is, practically speaking, a computer that is turned on and connected to the internet all the time. That is what web hosting is for, to place all the information necessary to form a website.
Plus, most web hosting services also include email hosting. So that you can have your very own email address tied to your domain name: [email protected].
You need hosting for this because, just like websites, emails consist of information.
Files / Backups
Web hosting deals with files practically the same way your computer does. It can store your files like your documents, spreadsheets, pictures and so on. Which means that your web hosting can also double up as a place where you can back up your files. Just be sure you do it in a way that it cannot be accessed by anyone other than you.
Types of web hosting
If you visit a hosting provider and see its list of services, you will typically find several types of hosting.
Cpanel Hosting or Shared Hosting
This is a common type of hosting, which will suit you if all you need is a basic website.
The name ‘cpanel’ refers to the dashboard that allows you to administrate your hosting. So that you can do things like create new email addresses, see how much storage space you have left, edit your files and databases, and so on. All through your browser.
Also, by ‘shared’, they mean your website is hosted on the same physical server as other people. Think of it as renting a room in an apartment.
Remember how we described servers as essentially computers? This is a type of hosting that gives you access to a whole computer, dedicated to just you (as long as you pay for it).
This means you get high storage capacity, processing power, and bandwidth. Suitable for large websites with high traffic.
Not only that, a dedicated server can be managed like a computer. Imagine being able to remotely control another computer on an interface that looks like a Windows desktop. This gives you full flexibility to install your needed functionalities and control.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
Did you know that your computer can have another ‘computer’ inside? There is software you can install on your Windows computer to allow you to run a separate instance of Windows. This is called virtual computing.
Virtual servers work similarly. A single physical server can accommodate multiple virtual instances of servers. This is so that you can have the flexibility and control of a dedicated server, but with lower computing resources, at a lower price.
Lately, hosting providers have been introducing this as an option. For context, ‘Wordpress’ is a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to build and edit websites with little or no technical knowhow. It is powerful and flexible enough for individuals and small businesses.
Wordpress hosting is designed for those who decide to power their websites with Wordpress. You can also use cpanel / shared hosting to create Wordpress websites. But Wordpress hosting has an extra feature called Litespeed that significantly increases the loading speed of your Wordpress site.
This type of hosting works by having your files placed on multiple servers instead of one. The advantage of cloud hosting would be uptime; with multiple servers, your website will still be running even when one of the servers fail. Also, you can easily scale up if you need more resources.
How much resources do I need?
If you’re a small business starting out, most likely a cpanel / shared hosting will be good enough for you. Now the question is, which package would you opt for?
Hosting providers typically give you tiered pricing for different levels of the same hosting. The more resources you get, the higher the price.
The main number you should look at is storage space. This will accommodate your website files as well as your emails. To help you estimate if, for example, 10GB of space is enough, just imagine you have an external hard drive of that size.
Do you need a lot of photos on your website? How large and frequent will your email attachments be? Will you be uploading videos?
If you’re still unsure, just start with the smallest option. You can always upgrade your package at any time.
Should I use free hosting?
We would not recommend using free hosting at all, especially if you’re running a business.
- Lower uptime
- Your website will likely experience far more downtime than paid hosting.
- Some free hosting may force you to display ads on your site.
- In more serious cases, your website may end up distributing malware.
Which hosting provider should I use?
There are several to choose from, but here are some of our favorites.
- Google Cloud Computing
- Amazon AWS
- Digital Ocean
Cloud Hosting Management
Cloudways: Our first choice when it comes to web hosting. This service goes one step above normal hosting providers by allowing you to easily manage multiple providers. For simplicity, scalability, and peace of mind.
I have purchased my hosting, what’s next?
Now to build your website. Doing this is best left to web design companies. This is because it takes people with various technical skills to create a website. Designers, developers, project managers, and content creators, for starters.
Let the highly experienced team at Orangesoft help you build your website.