What is a web hosting service?
Web hosting is an online service that enables you to publish web applications and websites online.
A web hosting service is a type of internet hosting where the providers rent your site space in their physical servers to store the necessary files and data for your website to work.
Do I need a web hosting service?
Yes. Every website on the internet is hosted by a service provider that pays for the servers in one way or another.
Apart from paying for hosting servers, hosting your website enables you to access other services;
- You get access to domain registration from the same provider reducing the integration technicalities.
- Adding web security tools to safeguard your website from fraud and hacking is easy.
- Business-class email and email marketing tools at affordable rates.
Types of web hosting
Considering the numerous web-hosting service providers, you can fall into the ‘Paradox of choice’ trap. Self-hosting is not viable for beginners as it’s costly to set up and operate.
Let’s talk about some of the popular types of web hosting available;
Multiple users share server resources, including storage space and power processing. For this reason, shared hosting is excellent for personal websites and small businesses that need affordable web hosting services.
However, it has some disadvantages, including slow website speed due to increased traffic to other websites and minimal access to server configuration.
Virtual Private Server ( VPS) Hosting
VPS web hosting is great for mid-sized businesses, e-commerce stores, and websites that receive a sizeable amount of online traffic. Your website shares a physical server with other websites, but each has a virtual partition. This provides your site with its virtual private server resources.
The main disadvantage is the increasing costs of hiring technical experts to operate and manage the virtual server.
Cloud hosting uses several virtual servers to host sites. This means whenever any servers experience overload or technical problems, the remaining servers take over the hosting of all the places, reducing downtimes.
The critical shortcoming is; that users don’t have root access, which is expensive compared to shared or VPS hosting.
As I mentioned above, self-hosting is very expensive and requires technical knowledge in operating and managing the servers.
You buy hosting servers dedicated to your site only. Another option is renting your server rather than installing an on-site one. Such web hosting providers offer you dedicated professional support.
Some of the advantages of dedicated hosting include;
Root access to the servers
Complete control of the server configuration to customize
7 Essential Features of a Good Web Hosting Service Provider
A domain name is an address that internet users type on the browser to reach your site. It was created to enable people to access Internet Protocol ( IP), representing the website’s online locator.
A web hosting provider offering free or subsided domain registration is essential for beginners. Also, providers that quickly make domain integration bought from other hosting sites are an added advantage.
A web hosting provider with extra layers of security is a requirement. Up to 43% of small businesses are victims of cyberattacks, according to Fundera.
These security features to consider before choosing your web hosting service provider include;
- Automated malware scans that remove any malware threats. Some offer website scans to improve security and send warnings on suspicious files.
- Using designed rules, a web application firewall ( WAF) protects your website from common cyber attacks.
- SSL Certificate encrypts your data via the website, such that only the recipient gets to use the data. Some service providers offer free or discounted SSL certificates.
Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time. It’s often confused for internet speed, but bandwidth is the amount of information, while speed is how fast it is received.
Depending on the hosting you choose, dedicated hosting, though expensive, has the best bandwidth. Your site speed is not slowed down by other websites sharing the same servers as you.
Most web hosting providers still offer VPS and shared hosting plans but limit bandwidth to make it cheaper.
The best web solution providers can increase your site speed in the following ways;
- Limiting the number of websites on shared servers to provide enough resources for each site
- Using Content Delivery Networks ( CDN) which speed up web content delivery by bringing it near to the user’s location
Applications like Control Panel functionality make editing and website set-up less technical. Most web host providers offer payment plans that come with this feature.
The Control panel enables other website management functions like;
- File Transfer Protocol ( FTP)
- Server and domain management
- Easy access to backups
- Database management
- One-click installation for relevant apps and plugins like WordPress
- Account administration from a single dashboard
This is the time your website is up and running for visitors to check and use. The best uptime is 100%, but some web hosting providers fail to uphold this percentage resulting in downtimes.
The best web host solution providers should have backup servers that kick in whenever your servers go down. Also, having additional backup servers in multiple locations is essential in natural occurrences.
Shared hosting is beginner-friendly from a budget standpoint. A budget-friendly web hosting provider is the preferred choice for beginners. You want a provider who can scale your service provider as your website traffic grows.
Reliable customer support is essential in any business. You can know this by reading online reviews about the company. Don’t choose a web hosting solutions provider who doesn’t uphold their ’24/7 Support ‘claims.
Here are some key questions to keep in mind regarding customer support from your hosting provider;
- Do they offer 24/7 support and uphold the claims?
- What are their customer support response times?
- Do they offer support channels that you prefer using?
Most web hosting providers offer the above essential features to host, build and scale your website. Choose a web solutions provider that goes beyond providing your website storage space on their servers.