Web Hosting Selection - Understanding The Right Factors
Web hosting selection is one of the important decisions to make once you have made up mind to launch your website. However, the decision becomes much easier if you are aware about your own website and a few things about web hosting. The complexity has increased in the recent past due to competition and availability of many options to host the web. The following are some of the basic things that could help you in web hosting selection that you are looking for.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service enables you launch your website or web page on the internet and make available to all on the internet. Web hosting companies provide the necessary technology and all necessary services required for the website to be available on the internet. The websites or web pages are stored or hosted on a device or storage location known as servers. When you type your website URL on the address bar of the browser, it connects to these servers, access the website and make available to you in the internet. In a nutshell, we can understand that web hosting selection is all about selecting the server & its type which you are going to host your website.
Types of Hosting
Web hosting selection becomes easy with the basic knowledge of web hosting or servers. There are different types of hosting servers available in the market. The following are most commonly heard and found in use.
As the name “Shared Hosting“ or “Shared Server” suggest, one or more customers or websites share the hosting server. This is one of most prominent and cost effective ways to enter into the hosting world. It may face some challenges and performance issues with your growing needs as the server and resources (CPU & RAM) are shared. This option is the best considering the cost and is most suitable to small and medium websites. The option to upgrade to a dedicated server or VPS server or cloud server later is always available depending on the future needs of the website.
“Dedicated” means “exclusively allocated for an intended purpose” and hence the name “Dedicated Server” or “Dedicated Hosting”. Sometimes the organization or may not be interested to share the server and resources (CPU & RAM) due to security and better control of software, hardware and security systems. In this case, a complete server equipment is leased by the organisation and not shared with others. It offers better control, performance, reliability and security. The major concern is it’s cost which is higher compared to that of shared hosting.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
VPS hosting is the next option provided by the internet hosting service providers. It is the virtualization or the splitting up to of a single server equipment into individual virtual machines. The VPS runs on it’s own operating system and the configuration can be customized. However, the server resources (CPU & RAM) are dedicated for each website and are not shared with others. It is functionally similar to that of dedicated server but comes at lower cost. However, the performance may be lower depending on the load of other virtual machines.
Multiple servers host the website in cloud hosting which provides better reliability, performance and security. If a server hardware is down, then the website adjusts and switches itself to another server. The cloud hosting is more suitable to high traffic websites. As far as cost is concerned, it is generally expensive than that of shared hosting.
Re-seller hosting is just like an owner of a property rents out his property to different tenants. If you have a re-seller account, you can use the space and bandwidth allotted to you to host the websites on behalf of others as if you are the hosting company. This service is more suitable to website designers and developers.
WordPress hosting is specialized hosting services provided to WordPress users. It provides good support in terms of security, updates, back-up etc. The growing popularity of WordPress made hosting companies to provide all technical support necessary for running WordPress.
As we had already gone through some of the basic fundamentals about different types hosting and servers, it will be very easy by now to appreciate the importance of web hosting selection. You may find many service providers coming up with different features to attract the customers and it has certainly increased the complexity with multiple choices. However, the following are some of the basic features which we should always consider while choosing the hosting service provider and plan.
- Storage Space – Website files like text, images, audio, video etc. require storage space.
- Bandwidth and Data Transfer – Data usually transfer between the user and the site via internet during usage. Bandwidth refers to the rate of traffic and data permitted to flow between the users and the site via internet. Data transfer is the total amount of data transferred in a given time whereas bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can transferred in a given time. Many hosting service providers offer unlimited storage which may not be technically possible to offer unlimited storage to all the customers. Many a times, the site owners do not even reach the limits. Of course, there is a cap limit which may be based on the usage statistics of the majority users.
- Website Creator & FTP Access – If you are new to website creation, hosting service provider offers website creating application which helps you create a website with a template. You need to be assured that you have a 24×7 unrestricted access to FTP (File Transfer Protocol) for website file transfer, migration etc. which will enable you upload and download the website files from your computer and the hosting server.
Well there are several the technical features provided by the hosting companies consider while choosing the hosting service provider and plan.
Having gone through the basics of hosting servers and features available in the market, it is now time for assessment of needs of your own website and business. Try to answer the following:
- What is your website all about viz website, blog or e-commerce?
- Expected traffic, growth of traffic and bandwidth required
- What will be kind of files & size on your website?
- What will be space required?
- Level of security and reliability required
- Budget for hosting (most important)
Customer support and services are one of the top factors particularly when you need technical or some other help to resolve your issues. Be sure that your hosting service provider is responsive 24×7 and is readily available to assist you all the time. However, you cannot test it until you have signed a plan with the hosting service provider. Nevertheless, you are free to take opinion of your friends and colleagues who had already used hosting service.
Cost of Web Hosting
Budget or cost is also one of the key factors during web hosting selection process. There are number of hosting service providers in the market and the cost can be checked from the market which may suit your website requirement.
Final Thoughts on Web Hosting Selection
Web hosting selection is very important to your business. Keeping in mind all the factors what we discussed above, the selection totally depends on your website needs like storage, bandwidth, security, reliability, performance, service level and finally the budget you are ready to invest.