What is web hosting, and what are the different hosting plans?

If you are new to the business world, you may be wondering what web hosting is. Web hosting is a service that allows businesses to have a website on the internet. When someone types your website address, the internet will direct them to your website. There are many different web-hosting providers, so it’s not easy to decide which one is best for you. This blog post will discuss the different types of web hosting and help you decide which one is right for your business!

First of all, it’s important to understand that a website differs from hosting. The easiest way to think about hosting is a house where a website lives. Web hosting is the service that provides you with space on the internet to store your website. Once you have found a web host and signed up for an account, you can upload your website’s files to their hosting server. Your website will then be accessible to anyone who types in your web address.

Different web hosting services are available, and it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs.

Hosting packages

There are many different types of hosting packages on the market. A hosting package price is based on the type of computer your website is stored on, and the amount of web space (storage space) you need. There are four main types of hosting services that companies provide:

Shared Web Hosting

If you think about hosting services like houses, shared hosting is like a flatshare, you’ll have a bedroom, but you’ll share other rooms like a kitchen. Shared hosting is good for small websites with low traffic as it’s the cheapest web hosting option. The downside is that your website will be sharing resources with other websites on the same server, so if another website has a lot of traffic, it can slow your website down. There are also other risks; for example, if a website in the same flat is compromised, it could mean yours is too.

Pro’s

  • Cheap
  • Easy to set up
  • Great for beginners

Con’s

  • Shared rooms
  • Slower load times
  • Not scaleable

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

A Virtual Private Server or VPS is the next step up from shared hosting. If we go back to our housing analogy, if you have a VPS, your website lives in a terrace house, a separate house but contained in the same building. VPS are good if you have a medium traffic website or more advanced functionality as you will have more resources available to your website than if it was on shared hosting. The main downside of VPS is the price. It can be more expensive than shared hosting but not as expensive as dedicated servers.

Pro’s

  • Dedicated Resources (your own rooms)Separate server
  • Better performance (faster load times)
  • Cheaper than your own server

Con’s

  • Still sharing the same building
  • Not as easy to set up for beginners
  • More expensive the shared hosting

Dedicated Hosting 

Dedicated hosting is like having your own detached house for your website. You’ll have complete control over every aspect of the server, and you won’t have to share your web hosting with anyone. Its recommended for large traffic websites or if you need a lot of storage space. The downside of dedicated web hosting is that it’s more expensive than VPS and can be difficult to set up.

Pro’s

  • You own the whole building just for your website
  • Complete control over all settings
  • Fastest load times 

Con’s

  • Complex to set up, so it’s not for beginners
  • Most expensive type of hosting
  • You’ll need lots of technical knowledge to keep the server maintained.

Cloud Hosting 

Cloud Hosting is a relatively new concept and is a hybrid of shared and VPS hosting. Think of it as hosting your website in an apartment building where you own several individual apartments. Cloud Hosting is good for websites with medium to high traffic as it’s scalable. The downside is that it can be more expensive than VPS hosting if you need more storage space.

Pro’s

  • Scale resources on demand
  • High Security
  • Less unexpected downtime

Con’s

  • Price isn’t always fixed
  • Unpredictable traffic can increase costs
  • Limited customisation

How to choose what’s right for you

Choosing the right web hosting service shouldn’t be just about price. You also think about how you expect your website to grow, the number of visitors you’ll likely get as some web hosts limit the number of (visitors’ bandwidth), and whether you would like additional services such as email.

Essentially any web hosting provider offers the same service, room on a computer connected to the world wide web for your website to live on. What differs between providers is the additional services that might be bundled in with the cost of web hosting and other things such as the quality of technical support, ease of the hosting control panel, free SSL certificate, and of course, email.

One of the other key metrics to look at is downtime. Downtime or uptime is a measure of how reliable web hosting is with the company. If your website is down, people won’t be able to visit your website as the computer where your website lives isn’t connected to the world wide web. If your website is the primary source of income, such as an online store, this is a significant problem, so choose a company with a low downtime rate. 

You might want to check if the web hosting service provider offers managed hosting if you’re new to websites. Managed hosting is where the web host will look after all the server’s technical aspects, such as keeping it updated and connected to the internet and deploying security measures to help you keep your website secure.

Additional Services

Most web hosting companies offer additional services such as email hosting, malware scanning, and website backups. As with any hosting provider, it’s best to check whether they provide these services free of charge.

Some web hosts will offer lower prices for their hosting services but then charge extra for them, costing more in the long run. Some are necessary, so you should consider paying for them if they are omitted. You should be able to add these through your hosting account. We think the following are the most important that should be part of any hosting plan:-

SSL Certificate

An SSL Certificate encrypts the traffic between your website and the user’s device. If you’re running a website, an SSL certificate is a must. Whether you have an online business such as an online store or a website is just your business’s online presence, both google and users look for the padlock in the address bar. Depending on the type of business you run, you can get different grades of certificates, from free SSL certificates to paid ones that offer more encryption.

If your website is just a brochure site for your company, a free SSL certificate is usually acceptable. You can get them from companies like Let’s Encrypt. For an online business, for example, an online store with many transactions, you might wish to pay for a more advanced certificate.

Email

Most hosting providers will provide an email service where you can use your domain as your email address (example@yourdomain.co.uk). 

A custom email address that holds your domain as part of the email certainly looks more professional than a standard @gmail.co.uk or @outlook.co.uk. Hence, it’s worth checking if you get the ability for free or charged extra for a custom email address.

Daily Backups

A Backup is when a copy of your website files is taken and stored at a specific time. Websites are like cars, and they need constant maintenance to ensure that they’re running smoothly. 

Taking backups of your website files means that if something goes wrong, you can restore your website on the web server to when it was working correctly.

Most web hosts offer a way to backup your website, but some may charge for automatically taking backups. I would always recommend automatic backups as you don’t have to worry if you forget to take one yourself. 

If your website is a WordPress website, they’re alternative ways to create backups using a plugin. 

If you’re not sure how to restore a website, you should also check with the web host what customer support is available for them to do it for you and whether there is a cost. 

Conclusion

Moving your business online can be daunting as every web hosting provider will offer various web hosting packages. The critical thing is to do plenty of research into the hosting company to see what they offer and be clear on your needs. 

For the most part, if your business has a website to advertise your services, then shared web hosting would probably be adequate for your needs. Online stores will probably need a bit more omph, and you should be looking at VPS hosting. Having a dedicated server is probably the way forward if you get lots of traffic.

You’ll also need to think about any additional services you need and whether you may need technical support from the web hosts customer support team. 

Whoever your web hosting provider is, it’s worth remembering that if you’re not happy with the service provided, you can move your website to a new web host. Your new hosting provider’s customer support team will probably be able to help you move your websites files, although most web hosts also have their own DIY solutions.

If you have any questions about web hosting services or the different hosting packages or additional services, feel free to get in touch.