What is web hosting? Web hosting is an online service that makes a website or web application accessible on the Internet. It can be easily accessible across different devices such as desktops, mobile, and tablets. When a hosting plan is purchased, a space on a physical server to store all the website’s files and data is rented. Hosting services also deliver additional support, such as security, website backup, and website performance.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
When you create an account with your web hosting provider, you get some space for your website or web application on its server. From your account dashboard, you can access and manage this space. You are also given access to more resources, such as random access memory (RAM), central processing unit (CPU), and bandwidth.
Getting a web hosting plan is quite similar to renting an office space. So it depends on the type of web hosting service and how much percentage of resources you can use. The cheapest option is to lease a coworking space. As your business grows, you can upgrade to more exclusive web server access or even get the entire server. Likewise, there are free web hosting options that allow you to share with several other websites or web applications.
Why Is Web Hosting Important?
When you create a website or blog, one of the most common concerns is related to having a good hosting service. Reliable web hosting is the key to keeping your website up, running, and accessible to users. After all, a web hosting provider gives your website a place to live on the world wide web. It will store the data, making it available for viewing worldwide. The web hosting provider is the foundation of your site. Therefore, choosing the right web hosting is a crucial part of any successful website.
Choosing the Right Web Hosting Provider for Your Business
There are virtually hundreds of web hosting companies that exist nowadays. Since you invest a space on a physical server that stores all the data and files, you need your website to run correctly for a successful business. The below features are important to look for when deciding on a web hosting company/web hosting services.
#1 Better security
Selecting a good web hosting company that provides a secure IP address is necessary to enable HTTPS on your website. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure which ensures that all data going through the website gets automatically encrypted. It hides any sensitive or personal information from the world including hackers. A good web hosting provider will have things in place such as regular website backups, firewalls, and other methods to not only protect the web server but the data center as a whole.
#2 Data Backup & Data Recovery
A high-quality web hosting provider frequently backs up the data. In the matter of a security breach, human error, or some other mishap, you do not want to lose any of your website data. For example; if your website data isn’t sufficiently backed up, months of work and success can be lost entirely. A reliable web hosting company must deliver both data backup and data recovery options to cover your business’s specific needs.
#3 IT Support
Even if your website design and technology meet your needs, you do not control entirely certain things. If something gets broken with the server and it starts affecting your website, it is the job of the web host to fix the issue. Good web hosting services must respond quickly and effectively and provide you with the necessary tools and answers.
#4 Better website load time
It is very common that a user gives up and clicks away when a page is taking too long. This may cause you business loss. You should aim for 1-2 seconds of load time. Load times directly depend on the web hosting.
#5 Better uptime
Uptime refers to how often you can expect your site to be online. Usually, most web hosting providers have an uptime guarantee of 99.9%. This means your site should be online 99.9% of the time. Do not forget that every minute your site is offline, it costs you money or growth.
A website does not stay as it was created in the beginning. It evolves, its business grows, and traffic spikes. So should your website hosting services should handle all these changes. A scalable web hosting provides the available memory and processing power on your website when it is needed. In other words, a good website hosting company should be able to meet the changing needs of your business.
Types of Web Hosting
Shared Hosting: Shared website hosting model is one of the most basic and cheapest website hosting options. It provides several websites to be hosted on the same server. This hosting option can be best suited to personal websites, startups/small businesses looking for an inexpensive option, etc.
Dedicated Hosting: A dedicated web hosting provides your website exclusive rights over the entire server. You do not share the server with anyone else. This option gives more benefits, but of course, it is also more expensive than shared hosting.
VPS Hosting: VPS (Virtual Private Server) web hosting is between shared hosting and dedicated web hosting. The website still shares the physical server space with other websites, but your website has its own “independent virtual real estate”. Basically, VPS is the more secure and stable option compared to shared hosting. However, it has smaller scale and is cheaper than renting an entire server.
Cloud Hosting: This model offers web hosting services on the internet by using the cloud. It has several benefits such as better flexibility, reliability, and scalability. cloud web hosting uses a network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers to host a website.
Managed vs Unmanaged Web Hosting: What’s the difference?
All hosting plans no matter what you choose, need a managed hosting plan or an unmanaged hosting plan. Both plans have their benefits. In this part, we will explain the difference between managed and unmanaged web hosting plans a little bit.
Managed server hosting: If you want less maintenance for your website, this plan is right for you. The most important website management tasks like security and updates are mainly taken care of for you. In this plan, Backups, CDN, and other features are usually pre-configured. It has higher recurring costs and less flexibility with plugins and software versions. It Limits access to account configuration options.
Unmanaged server hosting: If you want to handle your website updates, security, and maintenance then you should choose unmanaged hosting. It comes with low cost, flexibility with plugins, and installable software versions. It provides full access to cPanel for account-level configuration options. You have full control over what you do.
The Role of Web Hosting in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Every website focus on SEO and wants its site listed on the first page of Google for relevant search queries. A high-quality, reliable web host provides the foundation for your SEO efforts. Keep in mind that Google aims for users to have a positive experience while using their search engine. Therefore Google looks at several factors to ensure that. Websites that work faster, and have better security and location get a rankings boost.
Web Hosting and eCommerce: How to Choose the Right Platform
The eCommerce market is growing speedily, especially after the recent global pandemic. The global retail eCommerce sales statistics show further huge growth. Therefore you must be strategic when it comes how to choose the best eCommerce platform for your business in the present and in the future.
When you start your e-commerce store, the aim is to create an online experience involving selling products to your customers. It does not matter their location or preferred shopping destinations. You just want to reach every possible customer. The right e-commerce platform will help you do that.
A good eCommerce platform should provide an entire ecosystem supporting and giving you better control of your business. Here are the features that you should look for in an eCommerce host;
Quite often, we hear about hacking and stolen private data over the internet. When a customer goes on a website, especially with a credit card, the first thing that concerns the customer is how secure is the website. Therefore a good eCommerce platform must protect the customer by ensuring their privacy and data protection.
Slow page load times or not being able to get relevant search results does lead to abandon carts and create sales loss. Therefore it is vital that the platform ensures high website performance regardless of the number of shoppers searching for the product or placing orders at a given moment.
E-commerce platform integration
The web hosting provider must ensure an eCommerce integration platform allows companies to prevent manual and duplicate data entries and improve the speed of data exchange. The host should integrate Shopify, Magento, Amazon, and other eCommerce applications, with their own ERP systems.
We already highlighted the importance of uptime previously. When the website is offline, you will lose money of course. So the website hosting company must provide guaranteed uptime and stays online regardless of traffic surges or hardware failures. Most Web hosting for eCommerce offers monitoring services and reacts to any attacks or server-side issues in a timely manner.
Content delivery network CDN setup
When you choose good web hosting for eCommerce, look for whether a content delivery network is included with the hosting plan. It is possible to use a third-party CDN provider, but it will bring additional costs and take you hours spent on configuring the content delivery network according to the needs of your e-commerce business.
Popular Web Hosting Companies
- Amazon Web Services
- Google Cloud Platform
- 1&1 IONOS
- Hetzner Online
- Liquid Web
- WP Engine