You may have heard that you need web hosting to have a website. Web hosting is a discussion point that many web developers will raise while working on a new website project, but perhaps don’t always give a great explanation as to what it is.
Similarly, many different types of hosting have their own applications, depending on what you need. It is not uncommon for web professionals to gravitate to providers they’ve worked with previously or solutions they own themselves.
Getting up to speed on what hosting is, even if only a quick and simple understanding, can aid in selecting a hosting solution and choosing the one that is right for you.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting can be a complex topic, with web developers consistently updating their own knowledge on the changing landscape. For business owners, keeping up to date on the inner mechanisms of web hosting isn’t possible. The easiest way to explain web hosting is as follows:
Web hosting involves allocating space on a web server. This space allows you to store your website files and, in the process, makes them viewable online.
Hosting is the equivalent of buying or renting a car park space, but instead of a car, you pack in everything required to manage your website.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
Website developers will upload the required files for your website to a server. This server is what connects users surfing the web to your website. Web developers may not have the servers themselves but will instead rely on a hosting provider to provide them for use, whether they make them purchasable or rentable.
Not all hosting is equal, though.
Hosting providers will often have a range of hosting packages tailored to websites of different needs. If, for example, you have a large e-commerce website and need all the bandwidth you can get, you’ll likely be looking at a larger package to facilitate those needs.
Each server will have a finite amount of resources, including available RAM, bandwidth, storage space and more. Hosting providers allocate these resources depending on the package you purchase.
A higher package, as mentioned, will usually correlate to more available resources for your website.
What Types of Web Hosting Are Available?
As technology improved, websites became more extensive with more demanding and complex functionality. As a result, hosting that was once perfect for a one-page flash website was no longer viable.
To match the needs of an ever increasing demand, hosting has branched off into different types, each catering to specific requirements. This makes it easier for users that aren’t tech-savvy to understand, at face value, what service they are getting and what is included in their package.
The key types of hosting used for general websites are as follows:
- Dedicated Hosting
- Shared Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- VPS Hosting
Each type of hosting has its shares of benefits and uses. Similarly, it should be noted that one of the apparent differences between each hosting type is the level of expertise required to manage the platform.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these:
Dedicated hosting is often referred to as being put on a dedicated server. This is when you place your website on its own hosting, allowing it to use an entire server to itself. Site developers have greater control over service administration and can control more than they would be able in comparison to other options such as shared hosting.
Due to your site being on its own hosting, plans and packages for dedicated hosting are often expensive compared to other options. You may need this hosting if you’re looking to host a more complex or larger website. However, be aware that you will also require someone with technical expertise to make admin changes.
Shared hosting is the go-to option for a small, personal brand or one-page website. This is because the requirements to run these sites are relatively low from the outset.
This hosting is as it sounds – shared – meaning your website will be hosted on the same servers as other websites. If a shared hosting server goes down, so too do all the websites currently on the server. Shared hosting is cheap compared to dedicated hosting, but you miss out on the majority of benefits associated with bandwidth, storage and overall uptime security.
When this happens, it can be a headache to get in touch with shared hosting providers, as other site owners will be calling in too. You’re at the whim of them finding a solution, whereas, with other hosting options, your technical developer can jump right on the problem and resolve it.
Cloud Hosting is a relatively new type of hosting that uses the many interconnected servers on the web. Many larger businesses are turning to cloud hosting for its affordability and reliable infrastructure. SMEs are also benefiting from the scalability and finding that starting with cloud hosting allows them to worry less about the troubles that come with shared hosting while benefiting from some of the benefits of dedicated hosting.
Many eCommerce sites or more significant corporate sites decide on cloud hosting, as it handles resource-heavy functionality and applications better. Cloud Hosting can cost significantly more than other hosting types, but this largely depends on the provider.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are a middle ground option between shared and dedicated hosting. Client-side, the hosting will appear dedicated, but behind the scenes, the servers are hosting multiple websites.
The main difference here is that technical experts will gain more access to configurations compared to shared hosting, allowing them to make changes themselves and stay alert to any issues with the site. Prices for VPS can vary but will often be a small step above shared hosting.
Why Pay for Web Hosting?
If you want to finalise and publish a website for your business, you will require website hosting. Without it, your website won’t be viewable to your customers and prospects.
Instead, we must evaluate which hosting is best for our current position. Dedicated hosting may not be the best option for you now, even if it may be in the long term. When considering the pros and cons, keep in mind the following:
Cost: Access to more resources and security is excellent, but it may not be justifiable if your business currently does not have the funds to sustain your chosen hosting for more than a year. Hosting, domain hosting, and all site management-related fees should be accounted for when budgeting, not just the new website.
Resource requirements: Nothing is more frustrating than going through all the loops to get your hosting set up only to find out your package doesn’t give you enough bandwidth. Sometimes, getting a cheaper package isn’t possible, especially if you’re running an eCommerce website. Keeping your site up at all times prevents missing out on critical sales, especially during new product or line launches.
Future Proof: Migrating to a new hosting platform can cause headaches and requires a technical expert to ensure a smooth migration. A cheaper option may keep you floating for the time being, but investing in a better package/hosting type will likely provide your viewers with a better experience on your website.
Choose the Best Hosting for You
Understanding the different types of hosting available should help you make an informed decision on which is best for your current business goals and website. Be sure to consider the points mentioned above and look into the future to see if taking a step up in hosting will help you further down the line.
If you want to take the guesswork out of choosing a hosting provider, get in touch with us!
Yoke Digitals hosting is built upon one of the best-performing WordPress hosting platforms currently available. Our hosting ensures your website is healthy and stays live with minimal downtime while providing scalability options to support your business and website growth.
Through us, you’ll also have access to technical experts, alleviating the need to hire someone in-house.
Get in touch with us here, or take a look at our website development & hosting page to learn more.