Website hosting can be a minefield if you’re really not sure how it all works. There is so much confusing jargon and a multitude of choices.
You don’t need to be a techy in order to make sure you arrive at the right option to meet your specific requirements as a little knowledge can go a long way.
What is web hosting?
In a nutshell, it’s a computer that lets people see your website and without it, you don’t have a website. It’s like having a car without an engine.
When someone goes to your website, it shows the files that make up your website and is one of the most integral parts of having an online presence. Hosting is generally overlooked and added to the “get it as cheaply as possible” category which all depends on what your website is.
There are 3 main types of web hosting:
Generally, a lot of websites on 1 server that share a smaller amount of processing power with many other sites. This can be great and more than enough for a static website such as a brochure website that doesn’t have much functionality. It can also mean that other websites on the same server can affect your website.
This is better suited for online shops, basic WordPress sites and shares more processing power over a much smaller number of sites. Some VPS hosting also dedicates a certain amount of processing just for your website so it’s not affected so much by other websites on the same server. VPS hosting is also sometimes called Cloud Hosting.
Dedicated Server Hosting
This is where you get a server that is completely for your use only. It comes at a higher cost but means that you have all the processing power and server resources at your disposal. This is great for sites with lots of functionality such as a shop or a large WordPress site.
Your web designer would be able to advise you best on what type of hosting is better suited for what you need but there are also some important questions you should ask them before you commit to anything.
WHAT DO I GET FOR MY MONEY?
Don’t be tempted to go for the cheapest hosting option – inadequate hosting may only be a few pounds cheaper but reduced power will mean your website is slow and unresponsive and may fail altogether.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOSTING PERFORMANCE CREDENTIALS?
Ask about average monthly uptime, which should be 99.99%+.
IS MY INFORMATION SECURE?
If you’re storing data or taking payments through your website, you’ll need a secure provision, so a shared server may not be ideal.
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE FOR EXTRA BANDWIDTH?
As your website gets busier, you may need to upgrade your hosting. It’s worth finding out early on what the charges may be and how the upgrade process works.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE BACK-UPS?
Find out if back-ups of your website are included in the monthly hosting cost and how often they take place (which should be at least once a week as standard).
WHAT’S YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE LIKE?
Look for a provider who will promise to respond to your telephone calls and emails within three hours and manage problems within one working day.
IS EMAIL INCLUDED?
You can’t assume that email hosting is included, so ask at the outset about costs and service delivery.
HOW DO YOU MONITOR MY WEBSITE?
A good hosting provider should be monitoring your website server and able to alert you of any issues before you even know there’s a problem.
IS THAT A PROMISE?
Don’t be afraid to ask for a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to outline service provision. Your website is important so leave nothing to chance.
People underestimate the importance of hosting; it’s the element that protects your (and your customer’s) information, powers your website and is essential to customer experience. There are many types of website hosting, from standard options to dedicated servers and hybrid bespoke solutions that will offer enhanced power and additional layers of security. It’s about finding the right solution that will fit your business needs both now and in the future and a good web developer should be happy to answer any of these questions.
If your still not sure and need some advice or need a reliable hosting company, give us a call on 01206 588 603 to see how Stuart Design can help.
or call us on 01206 588 603 to have a chat!