What Are Web Hosting Services?
Web hosting services are actually a space on the web hosting provider’s server just like space in your laptop’s hard drive. A company that provides such storage services online is called a web hosting company.
When you buy a hosting package, hosting provider company then allows you to upload all your website files, images, videos and other documents to their online servers. This makes your website publicly accessible from anywhere in the world.
There are multiple types of hosting and different packages, which we shall cover in this article.
If you’re new to website or blog running, it may look very complex to you to buy a domain name, buy a hosting plan and uploading your files.
Don’t worry! We are going to make this super easy.
Types of Web Hosting?
Which web hosting package is for me? This question may confuse you and to answer it, we will discuss briefly each type.
Common types of hosting available are shared dedicated, VPS and reseller. These types are available with almost all web hosting companies.
Hosting Packages differ from each other by the server technology, the amount of space allowed, the number of databases allowed and other services. There are many things that need to be carefully considered before buying a package.
Imagine a single system, pc or a laptop available at your home. And all family members have to share it by creating their separate logins.
Shared hosting works the same way. It allows many websites on a single system. Systems or servers being used for share hosting limits resource usage to every website.
Among all packages, shared hosting is the most budgeted and low-cost option available. But it carries many limitations as server resources are shared among all websites being hosted on it. You will never know which sites are using the same server as your site is. Some of the common issues may be slow speed, IP issues like spamming, Email issues (being pushed to junk folders), etc.
This package is an ideal & recommended choice for those who are starting up and have limited traffic on their websites.
Dedicated hosting is actually a solution in which an entire dedicated hosting server is configured and made available for your website. This means that entire server resources are meant to be only for your website.
When a website starts growing in terms of its visitors, data or contents then shared hosting causes problems and multiple errors start appearing due to server limitations.
This is where dedicated hosting comes as the next stage in which the web hosting companies provide the dedicated server, administration, and other services.
Dedicated hosting is usually expensive but considered ideal for;
- Website performance and speed
- Server configurations
- High security
- 100% Uptime
VPS is an abbreviation of a Virtual Private Server. VPS hosting is mostly the best choice for websites that are on shared hosting and now need more resources due to growing traffic but can’t afford a dedicated server.
Unlike shared hosting where a single server is shared among a large number of websites along with limited resource availability, VPS allows only fewer users and hence server resources like allocated space, memory, and processor power, are shared with limited users. This enhances the performance of websites.
Reseller hosting is for those who want to step in the business of selling hosting services to others. The reseller package is provided as bulk or wholesale at a lower cost so that the purchasing company could sell it to their clients for a profit.
Now we can guarantee that If you have read it so far, you already know which package is the best for you.
What’s the Catch?
Unlike buying a domain, buying a web hosting is very tricky and quite confusing but an important step towards your blog up & running on the internet.
When you plan to buy a hosting and start visiting multiple hosting companies’ websites, you, even sometimes techies, can easily get confused. It is due to some technical terms or jargon that are used to create chaos.
Each company will try to get more & more customers. In order to do so, some companies would list down all the features they offer and make a really long list, whereas others just hide it and show only very basic features. Looks like their marketing tricks, isn’t it?
To buy a great package you must know well which of the features you might be interested in. Read below and know it all.
Before buying a package, first, you need to shortlist web hosting companies and the best way is to check their uptime.
Uptime means their servers are running and downtime means they are not up and accessible.
After hosting your website, you will definitely want it accessible all the time. It is a nightmare for web site owners if their visitors get an error screen while they visit the website. It will also damage your site’s SEO and affects Google ranking.
Always go for uptime of more than 99%. You may find this detail on the web hosting provider‘s feature page. You really can’t afford to have a hosting with a lot of downtimes.
Check for refund policy
The second important thing, maybe, is the refund policy. Almost all major web hosting companies are now offering a refund for a specific time period. Some companies even offer a full refund up to 60 days after buying hosting.
Having refund option can be a peace of mind
It is because after buying a hosting plan, you may encounter unexpected issues with web hosting provider that you never imagined. In this case, make a quick decision and claim your full refund and go for another hosting.
As an example, we had purchased a package from Bluehosts, famous for the fastest wordpress hosting, but faced a lot of 404 errors and page not found in their own Cpanel. So we had left no choice but to take a full refund.
Standard and old-fashioned hard disk drives are now being replaced with Solid State Drive (SSD). Hard disk drives (HDD) being the old & cheap technology uses more resources and are slower. There is a noticeably huge difference in performance and speed between sites hosted on HDD and SSD hosting.
SSD technology is very different from HDD as there is no spinning and works silently just like a USB drive. Also, they are very energy efficient and uses fewer resources and provides extreme performance.
SSD hosting is comparatively quite expansive but many hosting companies are offering on cheap prices and we recommend to go for it.
Bandwidth refers to the traffic in terms of data that is allowed to travel through a website and the Internet.
Bandwidth will vary from company to company and also from package to package. Higher the package, the higher the bandwidth.
If a website has around 500 daily visitors, bandwidth will not be an issue yet.
Very carefully, choose a package that allows you enough storage for your needs. This requirement may vary from one website to another.
Some companies offer packages that include limited storage but are really cheap. Never be too quick to buy them unless asking yourself below questions.
How many blogs or websites you plan to host? You may upload unlimited websites on a single hosting package instead of buying separately for every single website.
How large are your website and its database Is it in GB or GBs?
Do you email a lot? Emails do consume space in your plan.
We would suggest going for an unlimited or maximum storage option including below;
- SSD space
- Multiple websites
- Multiple subdomains
- Number of databases allowed
- Number of Email accounts
- Nodes / maximum files allowed
Free cPanel (Control Panel)
Another most critical feature that should not be missed out is the control panel. After buying a hosting plan, you will be managing it all and if your plan does not include free cPanel (control panel), you will be stuck. Even the most famous WordPress hosting Bluehosts do not offer a functional free cPanel.
The control panel includes all the features that ensure your website is up and running. Some of the major and commonly used features are
- File manager; upload all your website files, images, etc.
- Add on the domain; associating another domain you might have
- Subdomain; creating a subdomain like making a staging environment (advanced)
- Emails; for creating, managing all your emails
- PhpMyAdmin; to manage all your databases
- FTP accounts
When something goes wrong with your hosting, the first thing that comes in mind is to contact the web hosting provider support team. But what if there is no support in your plan?
Good hosting companies provide support services to all customers on 27/4/365. But this is not it, you must also consider their response time. Their response time may vary from a few minutes to many hours.
Also, check with the company and find out how they are providing support like emails, chatting, phone and judge if it suits you.
The best advice is to talk to them before buying their package. This way you will know their support.
Maintaining websites can be a risky job but you can make it less risky if there is an option to undo things.
Backup & restore is the most critical and life-saving feature for any website. Always choose a company that offers backup options so that if anything goes wrong, you have the option to restore.
Some companies do offer an automatic backup option like on a daily basis, weekly basis or monthly basis. This again depends on your plan.
Backup can be done locally on your system but it is very time consuming and can’t be done on a regular basis.
Security should be your primary concern as there are hackers, malware around the corner waiting to steal information from you and your website visitors.
In order to protect your visitor’s important information like credit cards, personal information or to make Google happy, you should consider seriously about installing SSL certificates. Your normal website starts with http:// but with SSL certificates installed, it looks like https:// with a lock icon. SSL certificates price varies and even in higher packages, you can get it for free. SSL certificates will not also secure you.
Buying a hosting package out of so many companies can be confusing. Also changing a hosting service provider after you have started a website can turn out to be a nightmare. We would suggest you consider a famous company that offers the above-mentioned features, instead of buying a low-cost package from an unknown company.
Also, you really need to think about what are your requirements. If you are going to start a new website or a blog, then go for a minimum package and gradually buy a larger package if your requirements grow in the future.