What is Website Hosting?Every company by now, be it startup, or Fortune 500, should understand the importance of maintaining an online presence. But what is website hosting?
Website hosting is the necessary base element to gaining and maintaining an online presence. Since analogies are often one of the best ways to understand things, here’s one to explain web hosting.
Picture a restaurant. Specifically, picture the server in a restaurant. Typically, there’s a straight-forward process that occurs every time you go into a restaurant. You look at a menu to decide what you want, then you order food from the server, and eventually, the server will bring you your food.
For this analogy, imagine that looking at the menu is someone performing a Google search for something specific. When this individual clicks the link in Google, a request is sent. Just like you, ordering your food in a restaurant. Finally, the internet server—or web host—fulfills the request, and brings the user the website—you get your food.
However, just as when a bad server in a restaurant is unable to properly fulfill your order, problems can arise if you don’t have the right hosting.
Why Do I Need Professional Web Hosting?So your question of “what is website hosting” should now be answered. But can, or should, you take care of it yourself? The short answer is no, for three good reasons:
Just as you need a food server to be reliable, the same applies for website hosting. The server should be available whenever the restaurant is open for business. Since your website should be open for business 24/7, your web host needs should be as well. Further, since the entire point of having a website is to have people visit it, your website needs to be able to handle this.Secondly, you need your website to be secure. Just as you wouldn’t want people to break into your physical business, the same applies for your online one. And just as you wouldn’t trust just anyone with your physical security, the same applies for your website.
And finally, accomplishing all these things can get very expensive, very fast. Obtaining the kind of Internet connection, hardware, and knowledge required to operate a reliable, fast and secure website server is not for the shallow-pocketed or time-strapped. Even expert web designers stay away from the perils of website hosting and employ a company that specializes in the service.
What Should I Look for in Website Hosting?Keeping all of this in mind, what exactly makes a good website host? Look for five things:
The first two have already been covered. You want to find a web host who can keep your website running at all hours of the day and night. This means they need the equipment and staff to do this well. And, just in case something does go wrong, you want them to have good support to solve the problem as fast as possible. Similarly, they should have security training and staff to keep the facility safe.Bandwidth is what gets used whenever your website gets visitors. Make sure you have enough of it, and that the connection is good enough to support all the traffic. It should be fast, and connected to main pipelines.
Technology means that you should make sure your web host can support the type of website your business needs. Modern web design uses a variety of techniques which may or may not be supported.
And finally, the price should be right, but remember that cheaper doesn’t always equal better. Many discount web hosts over-sell their services to the point where the amount of websites they host far exceeds the capacity their systems can handle. This translates into downtime and slow response rates for your website. Make sure you’re not cheaping out on necessary reliability and service.