Hosting a website is one of the first and most important steps in running a successful online business. Choosing the right hosting company can be tough, as there are so many options to choose from.
In this guide, we’ll explore what you need to know about website hosting, what companies offer reliable hosting services, and how much it costs to host your site with some popular providers.
Getting Acquainted With Web Hosting
Before we dive into how to host a website and the specific providers, let’s first take a look at what website hosting actually is. Website hosting is the process of making your website available online by storing it on a server. When someone types in your domain name (e.g. example.com), their web browser will access the host server and display your website contents.
Many people think that hosting a website simply means buying a domain name, but there is much more involved than just that.
You could have the best web design in the world – but visitors might not even be able to see your site if it’s hosted poorly, or with an unreliable company. It’s important that you know how to select the most suitable host for your business needs.
Let’s Go Through What It Means To Host A Website
The first thing you need to understand is that there are different types of hosting. There are shared hosting servers, VPS (virtual private server), dedicated servers, and more.
The Foundational Components Needed For Web Hosting
While there are many different types of hosting, they all share the same basic components:
- Physical server hardware
- Operating system (OS) software
- Web server software
- Database software
- FTP (file transfer protocol) software
The physical hardware is what creates the foundation for your website. You can’t exactly create a website without somewhere to store it, and that’s where the physical server hardware comes in. The server’s hardware will determine things like the processing power, memory, and storage space that your website will have access to.
1) A Hosting Service Provider (HSP)
The OS software is the server’s operating system. This is what makes up the foundation of your hosting service, and without an operating system, you can’t have a website hosted. The most common types of operating systems are Linux, Windows Server 2012/2016, and Unix servers.
The web server software is what serves up your website’s content to visitors. There are many different web server software options, but some of the most popular ones include Apache, NGINX/Ginx, and Microsoft IIS.
The database software is responsible for the actual storing of your website’s data (pages, images, posts, etc.). The most popular database software options include MySQL, MariaDB, and Microsoft SQL Server.
The FTP software is used to transfer files from your computer to the web server, and vice versa. Common FTP software options include FileZilla Pro and CoreFTP LE.
A well-known provider of all four components needed to host a website is Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS offers both Linux and Windows Server options, as well as a variety of web server software (Apache, NGINX/Ginx, IIS) and database software (MySQL, MariaDB, Microsoft SQL Server). They also have their own FTP software called AWS FileManager.
Now that you understand the basics of what’s needed to host a website, let’s take a look at finding your perfect domain name.
2) You’ll Need A Domain Name
In order to have a website, you will also need a domain name. This is the web address that visitors type in when they want to see your website. For example, instead of typing in the IP address (192.168.0.100) to access a website, you could type in the domain name (example.com).
Once you have your domain name registered, it’s time to actually purchase the web hosting service that will host your site.
5 Types Of Services Offered By Hosting Companies
1) Shared Web Hosting Services
Shared Hosting: With this type of hosting, your website shares resources with other websites on the same server—including storage space and bandwidth (the amount of traffic your site can handle). This is the lowest-cost option, but it comes with many limitations.
Because your site shares resources with other sites on the server, higher traffic ones (and especially those that use a lot of bandwidth) will affect you negatively in terms of performance and speed.
2) Virtual Private Server Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting: With a VPS, you get your own isolated server environment, which gives you more dedicated resources and typically faster performance than shared hosting. This option is a good choice for medium- to high-traffic websites.
3) WordPress Web Hosting Services
WordPress Hosting: This type of hosting is specifically designed for WordPress users. In addition to the features that come with standard hosting, these services also include WordPress-specific features like automatic updates and one-click installation.
4) Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated Hosting: With this type of hosting, you are the only one using the server. As a result, you have all of the resources available to you and no sharing with other sites. Dedicated hosting is best for high-traffic websites or those that require custom configurations (such as software installation).
5) Cloud Hosting
Cloud Hosting: Cloud hosting is a newer form of hosting that combines aspects of both shared and VPS hosting. With cloud hosting, your site shares resources with other sites on the same server but also can access additional resources as needed.
What To Look For In A Hosting Provider
When shopping for hosting providers, keep the following factors in mind:
- Storage Space: The amount of storage available to you will determine how many images and videos you can upload, as well as the size of your website’s database.
- Bandwidth: The amount of bandwidth available to you will determine how many visitors your site can handle at once without experiencing slow loading times.
- Uptime Guarantee: All hosting providers should offer some form of uptime guarantee, which is the percentage of time their servers are up and running. Be sure to note what percentage of time is covered by the guarantee.
- Amount of data transferred: This affects how much you pay, so look for a plan that offers unlimited bandwidth or at least enough space and bandwidth for your needs. Look for hosting providers who use SSD drives vs HDD drives as well since they’re faster than traditional hard drives.
- Customer Service: Hosting providers can vary significantly in terms of the quality and speed of their customer service. Ask friends and family for recommendations, read reviews, or test out the provider’s customer service yourself before signing up.
4 Easy Steps For Hosting With A Provider:
1) Have A Look At The Different Web Hosting Providers And Compare Prices
The first step in hosting a website is that you’ll need to find a web hosting provider. There are many providers to choose from, so do your research and compare prices to find the best fit.
Once you’ve found a provider that meets your needs, it’s time to choose the hosting plan that’s right for you.
2) Select Your Hosting Provider
The next step is to sign up with a hosting provider. Again, do your research and read reviews before signing up for any plan so you know what to expect.
When you sign up, you’ll be asked to choose a domain name for your website. If you don’t have one already, you’ll need to register it.
If your provider offers website builder software, this may be included in the plan or available for an additional fee.
Once you’ve signed up, your hosting provider will provide you with access to the control panel for your domain name and website. If they don’t, make sure that it’s easy to access from within an email or via a link (do not use cPanel as this is only available with shared hosting plans).
After signing up, it will take a day or two for your provider to set up your account and activate your domain name.
Once you have registered your domain name, the next step is to choose a web hosting plan. A web hosting plan provides space on a server so that your website can be accessed by people all over the world.
3) Select your Hosting Provider Plan
There are many different types of hosting plans to choose from as noted previously, but the most common are shared, VPS, WordPress, and dedicated server hosting.
Shared Hosting is the cheapest option and is good for small websites with low traffic levels. If your website starts to experience higher traffic levels, you may need to switch to a more expensive plan or upgrade your hosting service.
VPS Hosting is a good middle-of-the-road option for medium-traffic websites. It offers more dedicated resources than shared hosting but still comes at a lower price point than dedicated hosting.
WordPress Hosting is designed specifically for WordPress users and includes features like automatic updates and one-click installation.
Dedicated Server Hosting is best for high-traffic websites or those that require custom configurations (such as software installation).
Cloud Hosting is a newer type of hosting that combines aspects of both shared and VPS hosting. With cloud hosting, your site shares resources with other sites on the same server but also can access additional resources as needed.
4) Register Your Domain Name
Before you can host a website, you’ll need to register a domain name.
A domain name is the address of your website (e.g., mywebsite.com).
You can purchase a domain name from any number of providers, but we recommend using a domain registrar like Namecheap.
Once you’ve registered your domain name, you’ll need to point it at your hosting provider’s servers. This process is called DNS propagation and can take anywhere from 24-48 hours.
Once you have completed these four steps, your website will be live and accessible to the world!
Why Web Hosting Is A Good Decision For Businesses
Web hosting is a good decision for businesses because it provides a professional and reliable online presence.
A website hosted by a provider will be accessible 24/7, meaning that customers can always reach you.
Additionally, providers offer a wide range of features (like eCommerce capabilities) that can help businesses grow and succeed online.
Finally, providers offer round-the-clock support in case of any issues or problems that may arise.
To summarise, businesses should consider using a hosting provider to ensure their website is always available and running smoothly.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a hosting provider.
Price, features, and customer support are just a few of the most important things to look for.
To get started, check out our list of the best web hosting providers and find the one that fits your needs and budget.
Those who do not have the resources to invest in a web hosting service should consider using one of several free website builders and blogging platforms, such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com.
What Is The Best Web Hosting Service?
The best web hosting service will depend on the website owner’s specific needs and rules.
For example, a tech-savvy user may choose to use an inexpensive cloud-based platform while someone who doesn’t have much experience with websites might opt for something more robust like Kinsta.
Deciding on the “best” web hosting service is difficult because it depends on the person’s needs.
What Is The Cheapest Web Hosting Provider?
While there are many cheap options in the web hosting industry, some solutions can be relatively expensive depending on how each one is configured (for speed, storage space, etc.).
One of the cheapest shared hosting providers available today is SiteGround; however, users should always do their research before choosing any provider to ensure they’re getting exactly what they need at the right price point.
What Is The Most Secure Web Host?
There’s no one answer to this question because security depends on the website owner’s specific needs.
For example, some users may be comfortable with a slightly less secure option while others require an ironclad solution that can withstand even the most aggressive cyber attacks.
One of the more secure web hosting providers available today is Kinsta, which offers multiple layers of protection against malware and other threats on their servers.
Is Web Hosting Safe?
Again, this depends on the website owner’s specific needs and preferences.
Some web hosting providers offer more security features than others, while some users may be content with a less secure option that doesn’t have as many bells and whistles.
It’s important for individuals to research their options before making any decisions in order to ensure they’re getting the best possible protection for their data and websites.
What Is The Difference Between Web Hosting And Domain Registration?
Domain registration is the process of securing a unique web address (e.g., yourbusinessname.com) for a website. This service is offered by most web hosting providers as well as other companies like GoDaddy and NameCheap.
Web hosting, on the other hand, refers to the service that allows individuals or organizations to make their websites accessible via the internet. It includes storage space for files as well as bandwidth (i.e. data transfer).
Here is how we would distinguish between the two:
– Web providers provide space on a server for your website files to live
– Domain name registrars sell domain names (i.e., example.com) which help people find your website online
– You don’t need to use the same company for both web hosting and domain registration, but it’s often more convenient
Can I Host A Website For Free?
It is possible to host a website for free.
Some web hosting providers often offer “free” trials or other limited offers.
Other such as WordPress.com or Weebly are free for basic use, but might not look the most professional.
Therefore, if you’re planning to use your site for business we recommend you don’t use a free plan. Regular web hosting in the UK is relatively cheap and can cost as little as £5/month.
Is Web Hosting Expensive?
If you are looking at how to host a website and are wondering if it is expensive, in short, the answer is No; in fact, many web hosting plans as little as £5/month (less than your Netflix subscription).
However, there are also more expensive choices available depending on what each user is looking for out of their service provider(s). Some companies offer higher-end plans with unlimited storage space, bandwidth and other perks while others sell hosting on a pay-as-you-go basis.
When researching different web hosting providers for your website(s), be sure to consider the features you need most to avoid wasting money on unnecessary or redundant services that don’t provide any real value.
For example, many people do not need unlimited storage space and can save money by choosing a provider who offers a finite amount of storage instead of an “unlimited” plan.
What Is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is one of the most popular methods used by individuals who are just starting out because it’s relatively easy to set up (compared with some other options) and ensures each user has enough resources at their disposal to make an effective site without breaking the bank.
This type of service refers to accounts where multiple users share server space rather than having dedicated servers for each customer.
Typically, the number of users on a single server is limited to between 20-100 or so depending on how many resources are available and what other customers are using at that time of day/year.
The primary benefit here is cost; shared hosting plans often work out cheaper per month than dedicated servers because they don’t require as much setup (e.g., infrastructure) or ongoing maintenance costs for their providers.
Can I Change My Web Hosting Provider?
Yes, it is possible to change your web hosting provider as long as you can transfer your website files (and DNS records) over to the new company.
This process is often called “transferring” or “moving” a website and can be completed relatively easily if you’re familiar with using cPanel, FTP, and/or SSH.
If you run into any problems during this process or need help transferring your site, be sure to contact your new hosting provider’s customer service department for assistance.
They should be more than happy to help!
Where Can I Buy A Domain Name?
You can purchase a domain name from your hosting provider or through another company called a registrar.
There are hundreds of different registrars who offer their own .com, .co.uk, and other domain endings for users to register with them.
Prices will vary depending on whether you want just one website address or multiple ones as well as the types of domains being registered (e.g., country-specific extensions).
When researching new companies to transfer/purchase a site from, be sure to consider customer service reviews and pricing structures in addition to any additional services they may provide like SSL certificates which help customers verify that their sites have been encrypted by third parties so all information is private while it’s being transmitted over the internet.
Can I Change My Domain Once I’ve Bought It?
Yes, it is possible to change your domain name if you’re unhappy with the one you originally registered.
However, this process can be a little more complicated than transferring/moving a website and may require working with your old and new registrars to get everything set up correctly. Additionally, there may be costs associated with making the switch (e.g., purchasing a new domain or reactivating an expired one).
If you’re unsure about how to go about changing your domain name, be sure to contact customer service.
They should be able to walk you through the entire process step-by-step!