If you’re new to creating a website, you might also be new to some of the required elements like web hosting. If you’re starting a new site from scratch or you want to improve your current site, the web hosting provider you go with is important.
However, there are hundreds of thousands of providers available, making it hard to choose the right plan.
One of the upgraded options is a virtual private server. VPS hosting improves site performance significantly from a shared hosting plan.
If you’re not to the point of comparing specific types of hosting services, however, the following is a primer.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting provides space on a server so a website can store its files. With web hosting, all the files on your website, including your images and site code, are available to be viewed online. Every time you visit a website, it is hosted on a server.
The type of hosting determines the amount of space a website has.
There are a few main types of hosting, including VPS, shared, dedicated and reseller.
More or less, web hosting is the process of either buying or, more likely renting space so your website has a place on the internet. A server connects web users to your site, no matter where they are in the world.
When you’re choosing hosting plans, you’ll see they cover many different needs. For example, your hosting needs are going to be different if you plan to start a small blog as compared to the needs of a large company or organization.
Regardless of how small your project is, you need good, reliable web hosting.
Plans range from free up to very expensive options specialized for certain types of organizational needs.
Guiding factors as you choose a plan include how you plan to use your site and your budget.
You also need to think about speed, security, and support.
Beyond those factors, the following are other things to guide you as you choose hosting.
After you purchase a domain name, as was touched on, you need a storage location connected to the internet. The hosting company makes sure your files are delivered to your site’s users. When someone is typing in your web address, their computer is connecting them, via the internet, to the server that has your files.
Types of Web Hosting
The following are more details about the specific types of web hosting available.
- Shared hosting is usually what you start with as a brand new site. With shared hosting, your site is stored on the same server as other websites. It’s simplest to use, and there are usually many tools to help you along the way. Since you are sharing with other websites, the downside to the simplicity and ease-of-use is that if there’s a surge in use from any of the sites, it can impact your user experience. If you don’t get a lot of traffic, at least at this point, shared hosting can be a good option.
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting: A VPS plan is somewhere in the middle between a shared server and a dedicated server. You get more control, but you may not be at a point where you need a dedicated server. With VPS, the benefit is that you can get some of the benefits of dedicated hosting, but you don’t need extensive technical knowledge.
- Dedicated server hosting: This gives you the highest possible level of control over your server. You rent your server, and your site is the only one stored on it. Having a dedicated server is expensive, and there’s a need for a high level of technical knowledge for ongoing management.
- Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting means that computers are using shared resources, and you can use the resources you need without needing to have your own infrastructure.
- Managed Hosting: Many of the hosting packages you see online are considered managed. That means the company provides technical services and does the day-to-day management of operating systems and hardware.
How Much Traffic Are You Estimating?
One of the biggest considerations to keep in mind is how much traffic you estimate you’ll have.
Most hosting providers are going to charge based on bandwidth and storage. Bandwidth is the number of bytes you’re serving in a period of time.
If you’re just starting with your website, you’re going to have low bandwidth. However, if something on your site starts ranking well or goes viral, then your bandwidth needs can go up quickly.
It can take time to build up a lot of traffic and it’s not something that happens overnight, so you might want to start small and scale-up.
Other Key Factors
The following are some other specific factors to weigh when selecting hosting:
- What is the cost? You are likely going to pay a signup cost, but also renewal costs. You need to go over the fine print pretty carefully to make sure you’re getting a full picture of the costs.
- What are your technical needs? When you’re choosing a web host, you need to ensure it meets not only the current requirements for your site but also possible future requirements. For example, who do you think will do most site management? Is it going to be you or a professional?
- What is the support like? There are going to undoubtedly be times when you need support. Is support available by chat, phone, or email? Is someone always going to be available and particularly at a time that works in your time zone?
- Can you customize the site the way you want?
- Will it be easy to set up and get your site up and running?
- What’s the cancellation policy like?
Finally, it’s always a good idea to go over upgrade options when you’re choosing hosting. Your hope with creating your site is likely that you will grow, so you want to be able to upgrade to a plan that will suit that growth in the future.