Website hosting is pretty straightforward but holds a lot of mystery to many people.
All that they know about it really is that they receive a monthly bill from the hosting company but are not really sure what’s involved, other than it is ‘where their website is’.
Web hosting is basically a server – or computer, that is internet connected 24/7 allowing anyone that wants to access it to be able to see it. The website sits live and available until called upon by typing in a search or the domain name, then the website is served to the visitor.
Quality of website hosting varies significantly. Large national websites will sit on their own servers, backed up daily, with huge processing power, memory and back up systems in case of power loss or critical failure. The cost of the website ‘being down’ is unacceptable financially and every precaution has to be taken to ensure its stability.
At the other end of the spectrum are small websites that may only be visited occasionally, and are not mission critical. These may well sit on shared servers with many other low traffic websites. This is fine until one of those websites on the shared server becomes busy and uses all of the server resources, memory and bandwidth. This then slows the server down and all of the other websites hosted there.
You certainly get what you pay for with website hosting but speed is a key element for consideration. Most website visitors will simply click on the next site if load times are too slow (Analytics will show this). Likewise, Google will penalise websites with slow load times. There are many free tools available online to check website speeds, so take a few minutes to punch your domain name into one of these services and see just how your site is performing.
One other key factor in website hosting is the backups taken of your website and their frequency. How important to your business is your website and what would be the outcome if your site was invisible for a few days? Worse still, in the event of your website being ‘lost’ for whatever reason, server failure, hacking etc., then how quickly could you get a new website live and what would be the cost?
Furthermore, try looking at additional offers the hosting company provides, i.e do they offer you an SSL certificate and a platform such as cPanel so that you are able to upload and install WordPress? There are many that do and many that don’t – so take the time and maybe spend the few extra pounds a month to ensure speed, security and backups are in place.