In order to provide your website to the public, it must reside on a server, or a hosting platform. This internet connected rack of computers holds all of the website files, databases and images that comprise the website, and serves them on demand to your potential customers.
When making the decision regarding who will host your next website, many factors should be taken into account. Obviously cost should be considered, but also support, backups, security measures, email management and domain names. Eventually, you will need to use these things to keep your business website operating properly. Can your hosting support provide fee-free guidance, or will they charge you for each call? While most of these server tools are not a difficult to use, they do take time to learn. Also, you must consider the time required to manage your website server.
Most commercially available hosting types fall into one of three techie buckets: Shared Hosting, Dedicated Hosting and Virtual Private Server (VPS). Each of these offer benefits in terms of cost, performance, support, ease of use and available tools.
- Shared Hosting
The lowest cost hosting option is Shared Hosting. With an average annual price of less than one hundred dollars, your website will reside on a server used by other hosting customers. This means that the servers CPU’s, storage and IO functions are shared with up to three other companies. While Share Hosting is a good choice for value, your website performance can be affected by the other sharing clients. Should they operate a website with a lot of traffic, or tax the server with frequent email campaigns, the performance of the server will be negatively affected.
- Dedicated Hosting
Dedicate Hosting means that you have your own personal server for your website. It won’t be affected by the use of other hosting customers. The pricing for these types of servers begins at around one hundred dollars per month. You will generally have a unique IP address, many server tools, higher performing servers and better support. A dedicated server plan is usually chosen by mid-size businesses with heavy server needs.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A Virtual Private Server, or VPS, is a shared server environment, but only with your websites. This plan allows you to scale up as required. This mid-range plan can cost about five hundred dollars a year. It allows for great flexibility, while keeping annual costs low.
Most all of these hosting solution types offer Unix / Linux based servers, or Windows Servers. Most commonly, these will come with a Control Panel interface which offers a suit of commonly used tools. At Wicked Design, we prefer the Linux based systems due to their open-source nature, low cost and available integrations tools.
Domain names are also an important part of your internet business presence. Often, they can be purchased through your hosting provider, but it’s not necessary. Registered domain names can be pointed to any host, or moved to another registrar.
When signing up for a new hosting account, often the provider will offer a free domain name, which costs about twelve dollars a year to own. When searching for a new hosting provider, check on their domain name offers. New domains names don’t rank as well in search as older names, so add a year or two to the length of your agreement. This tells the search engines that you are more serious about your website, rather than one year.
Peak performance of your server, and your website, will ensure not only a terrific experience for your users, but also benefit your website’s search ranking. Keep this fact in mind while shopping for a new hosting company. In general, the lower the cost of your plan, the higher likelihood that the performance will be low.
In recent years, Google and other search engines, provide higher search rankings for those websites that perform well. This means that the pages are served fast, rendered fast and are optimized. If search ranking is important to your business, then performance should be given a high priority.
There are many free testing sites available that reveal how fast your website performs. They will return loading rates, rendering speeds and other critical factors.
Most reputable hosting firms allow you to create a nearly unlimited number of email accounts. The email accounts are associated with your domain name. For example: Joe@yourbusiness.com. You could also create info@, sales@ or marketing@. The passwords are assigned upon email creation, and can be changed later using CPanel access. Management of all email accounts occur within the CPanel, or similar, where they are all presented in list format.
The hosting tools also allow email addresses to be forwarded to various other accounts. This can be valuable when a group of staffers need to be notified of an event. For example, your business receives an order for spicy muffins. Three people need to be aware of this purchase so that they can prepare the order. The Sales@ account, in this case, can be forwarded to Baker@, Prep@ and Frosting@.
Another important part of email hosting today are spam controls. It is a must that these tools be utilized to avoid having email spam issues, or worse. Most modern hosting providers allow access to various tools that can reject “spammy” email, ensure that your email is valid, and allow others that your mail is safe. While the terminology can be somewhat overwhelming, these tools are a necessary part of being online today.
Support is always an important aspect of purchasing any service. In this case, when your website breaks, you will likely require help in getting it operational. You must consider the support availability, cost, staff skill and policies when buying a new hosting plan.
One of the ways to learn more about a hosting company’s reputation is to look for review sites. These offer rankings of services according to many factors, including support. This is a step that we recommend when looking for a new hosting plan.
Do you need website hosting for your business or organization?
Wicked Design provides professional website hosting for nearly any type of website need, right here in Loudoun County, Virginia. Our non-shared environment promises high performance, personal service, email management, backups, security concerns, spam controls and more.
Contact us should you want to learn more about our hosting: https://wickedesign.com/web-technology.