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What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is an IT solution that enables you to put your website up online. The host is a provider that offers the software and technology to maintain this site so that it can be viewed on the internet. The best hosting service owns the servers on which its clients’ sites are hosted.
When someone wants to view your site, all they need to do is type the domain name into a search engine. The computer then connects to the server where your website is stored. The website is then linked through to that person’s browser so that they can view your site. This does mean that you do need your own domain in order to set up the website and make it viewable. Hosting providers such as WordPress hosting and others can even help you to buy domain names and set this up as well.
What Does Web Hosting Do?
The best hosting services have relatively similar features but will differ in some of the finer details. Here are some of the things that all the best hosting services will have:
- Email accounts — Most of the providers will also make sure that you have email accounts. These will be linked to the domain name of your site so that your brand is linked across all areas of the site and correspondence. The number of email accounts available will depend on the host provider though.
- FTP access — This is the ability to upload files from your computer to your website. This is necessary when you want to build your website and add images for instance. Essentially, through FTP you are allowing the website to access these images through the internet.
- WordPress support — WordPress is a very popular online tool that’s great for blogging or content management. It powers more than a quarter of the websites found online. Most hosting providers will let you know if their plans are WordPress hosting compatible or not.
How We Rank the Best Web Hosting
We use a meticulous ranking method to determine the best web hosting providers. We evaluate several factors including uptime, speed, security, customer support, pricing and user feedback. Our rankings are designed to help you make a reliable and informed decision for your web hosting needs. If you want to understand our rating methodology in more detail, you can check out our rating methodology page.
Main Features of the Best Web Hosting Providers
The best website hosting solutions will have a range of different features. These include a variety of disc space options, bandwidth, speed, storage space, WordPress hosting, device compatibility, and more. Without these features, your site might not run optimally, reducing traffic and thus causing your business to falter. With that in mind, here are some of the more important features you need to consider when choosing a web hosting service.
- Disc space and bandwidth — This is the amount of storage space you have access to on the server. This includes images, texts, files, audio, and more. The bandwidth is the amount of traffic able to access your site at any one time. If you have a lot of graphics, you will need more storage and greater bandwidth for optimal running.
- Website creator — Newcomers to website creation will benefit from website creators, which give you the building blocks to create a site through easy-to-use templates.
- Customer service — Any online hosting option should have good customer support via a number of channels. This is especially important for those who are newer to web hosting and might need help with setup and technical issues.
- Uptime — It’s never possible to guarantee 100% uptime, as there are always issues. However, there should be some type of assurance in place to limit downtime so that your site is up and running most of the time. This should be done through 24/7 network checking, the use of top hardware, network configurations, and more.
Benefits of Using Web Hosting Services
There are many benefits to using a hosting service. For many, it’s the simple fact that most of the complex technical aspects are taken care of. The only thing you will need to consider is the host itself, and this will be based on the features they offer and how these meet your needs.
Improved Site Performance
Using a website hosting service can improve your site’s performance, as this is what they are geared toward. Having slow performance times can affect your search engine rankings too. A high-quality web host will make sure that your site performs well. They can also help to optimize the site correctly too.
Strong Technical Support
The hosting provider should be able to offer speedy technical support whenever you need it. In particular, if there is a bug or the site goes offline, being able to get in touch, fix the problem, and get back online quickly is a must. If you don’t have these types of technical skills at your disposal, then a great web host will fill that gap.
Often overlooked, website security is a must. Top web host providers will have a number of security options available for you to add at the click of a button. You can get security plugins, SSL encryption, change permissions, get spam prevention software, and a whole lot more.
Good Reliability and Uptime
The final benefit of a web host provider is having good, reliable uptime. This means that while the host can’t guarantee 100% uptime, they will do everything they can to ensure its stability most of the time. This can be done through regular maintenance. However, this is something that can be time-consuming and potentially costly if you are hosting your site yourself.
Who Should Use Web Hosting Services
Nowadays, most companies will use hosting services. That’s because they make everything a whole lot easier. With the hosting service in place, they take care of any technical issues, so you just have to focus on the website content. Here are some companies that should use hosting providers:
Independent, small businesses will often need hosting that helps them with the technical aspects. Hosting services are ideal for this as they will deal with all the technical side. The user simply needs to create the website and its content.
Bigger companies also benefit from host services. But they tend to need very different things. For instance, an enterprise company will benefit from a dedicated server, and the chance to optimize their site’s performance through good uptimes. They will also need the ability to have large, unlimited storage for their site.
How Much Does Web Hosting Cost?
Depending on the service you are looking at, web hosting can vary hugely in price. Some basic plans cost as little as 99 cents per month, but this is usually for a shared hosting plan. Cost can increase dramatically if you are looking at a dedicated server, or require high bandwidth and large amounts of storage for top-level performance. In these cases, prices can be as much as $159 or more per month.
Types of Web Hosting Services
There are a variety of different types of website hosting solutions available. Not all of them provide the same services either. Some are much more expensive than others. Some are geared to smaller or larger businesses depending on the way they operate. As such, it’s important that you look at the cost, the disc space provided, website builder capabilities, WordPress hosting, any add-ons available, and more to figure out if this is the option for you. Here are some of the different types of website hosting services.
This is the most popular form of hosting a website. It’s also the one that fits most users’ needs. The best part of this is that it’s very budget-friendly. That’s because your website will be sharing a server and its resources with as many as thousands of other sites. This means you’re not paying for an entire server for yourself. It’s also geared towards beginners too, making it a very simple setup.
This type of hosting uses virtualization to create a virtual dedicated server. This means that it still takes resources from other servers that you will be sharing with other people. However, there’s a good benefit to this as you will get access to a larger portion of the server’s resources. This means that you will have better site performance. You can also scale up or down your server resources as and when needed.
This is one of the more expensive options, as you will be paying for an entire server all by yourself. This does mean that your website will operate in a really great way in terms of performance and the storage you can use. You can customize the server as you see fit to give your website the best chance. This is best for larger companies with high volumes of traffic.
This is a unique solution as you’re only using virtual hardware. The entire environment is in the cloud and is a relatively new option. It’s cost-efficient, though, and you only need to pay for the resources you use. It’s also very reliable and if the cloud server isn’t functioning well at any particular time, your site is simply moved to another server on that network to maximize uptime.
WordPress hosting is for those sites using WordPress. Generally, WordPress hosting will be performed by WordPress itself. You’ll get a complete environment geared towards WordPress. It will also be more secure, so you can get the best performance out of it. Better still, there’s no need to take on any of the technical maintenance. The WordPress hosting software does that all for you.
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