Getting online has become quite easy these days with several website hosting companies and domain providers making it a mere 5-minute work for you. You shouldn’t, however, jump on the decision of taking your website online without gathering the basic knowledge about web hosting services and their need for your website.
Web Hosting is one of the major steps to building your online presence. When entering the online world, you require your domain name and hosting to create a website you desire. Before delving any further, let us find out the meaning and need of web hosting for your website.
What is Web Hosting? Why is it needed?
Putting it in simple words, Web hosting can be compared with real estate in the physical world. It is a virtual place online to store all the website’s data. By purchasing a web hosting plan, you are purchasing this virtual real estate for your website for a stipulated period.
Now the question arises, why do you need web hosting for your website? It is like asking why do we need a house to live in? The answers to both these questions are quite similar. It is needed to store the digital data safely under the supervision of the hosting provider. A web host ensures to store, carry, and share your website information safely over the internet. You can also expect many other facilities under a web hosting plan. It’s like our houses have many along with providing us the basic security.
Things to know before signing up for a hosting account
Since you know the need for web hosting for your website now, let us discuss some other important aspects that must be considered before signing up with a web host:
What is your purpose for hosting a website?
The first thing you need to know before signing up for a web hosting account is your purpose to host a website. Why are you building a website? Is it for writing or blogging purposes is it for selling your products online? Is it for representing your skill sets as part of your resume? Knowing the purpose of your website will help you decide the other things on this list.
What do you need before hosting a website online?
Web hosting is not the first step to enter the online world. You will have to get a domain name for your website even before you buy a hosting plan. A domain name will provide identity to your website as the latter will be known by this name forever. Amazon is known by its domain name. It is found in the address bar of its website.
So, it is essential to book a domain name for your website before buying a web hosting plan. Alternatively, you can buy a domain name and a web hosting plan in a bundle from the same company like Namecheap for a better deal. In such a case too, you will have to decide upon a domain name for your website before you plan to make a purchase.
Additionally, you will also have to decide on the extension to your domain. For instance, Amazon’s domain extension in the above picture is .com while in the following one, it is .co.uk –
The .com website serves the needs of international customers including the ones belonging to the US. While the .co.uk website serves the needs of customers from the UK. Depending on the audience you are planning to target with your website, you can choose either a local or an international domain extension.
Expert tip: Always keep in mind the purpose of your website while selecting a domain name and extension. An appropriate name is more memorable and brings in more exposure to your website.
What kind of web hosting do you require?
Before signing up for a web hosting account, you must know that there are different types of web hosting catering to the specific needs of different website owners.
The following table will help you grasp the basics of popular web hosting types offered by different web hosts:
|Type of Web Hosting||What is it?||Who is it suitable for?|
|Shared Hosting||One server is shared by many website owners without any exclusivity.||New websites, small businesses, hobby bloggers, and others who do not expect major traffic spikes.|
|VPS Hosting||A part of the server is allocated exclusively for managing your website needs.||Medium-sized businesses, experienced bloggers, news websites, and others needing more control on the server resources.|
|Dedicated Hosting||The whole server is reserved for your website.||Large business, high-traffic blogs, e-commerce sites, websites containing sensitive customer information, and others requiring complete control over their websites.|
|Cloud Hosting||Multiple servers are shared by different website owners for greater flexibility and on-demand access to server resources.||High-traffic websites, e-commerce stores, and other websites experiencing sudden traffic spikes.|
|Managed Hosting||The web host manages the upkeep and security aspects of your website to help you focus on building your website content.||Entrepreneurs, small-business owners, beginners, and other website owners without much technical know-how.|
What is your budget?
With a wide variety of web hosting available for your website needs, the prices also vary according to the resources offered with each hosting type. You will have to set up your monthly or yearly budget before signing up for a web hosting account. It will help you choose the right hosting plan that fits well within your budget.
It is important to consider both the introductory and renewal prices while signing up with a web host. The introductory prices are generally lower than the renewal prices to attract new customers. Therefore, recommended to carefully examine the renewal web hosting prices before purchasing a hosting plan for your website.
It is also worth mentioning here that a long-term hosting plan will save you a lot of money when compared to a monthly or yearly hosting plan. So, if you plan to stay online for a while, consider booking a long-term web hosting plan for greater savings.
Check the reviews and reliability of the hosting provider
Due to the increase in the number of websites, the hosting business has been booming in recent years. This attracts new hosting providers into the business who might or might not have the skills and experience to handle your website successfully. Due to this reason, I recommend signing up with an established web host with good credibility.
Additionally, you can also check the reliability of the hosting provider by reading the reviews of its existing customers on different discussion forums. It will give you an insider’s view about a specific web host. Along with that, visit third-party websites providing detailed reviews about web hosts for considering several expert opinions.
Availability of free trial and refund policy – Web Hosting
Many web-hosting providers offer free trials of their services for a designated number of days. This allows you to try their hosting services without making any payments in advance.
On the other hand, there is another form of trial that you’ll come across which is the “Money-Back guarantee”, It empowers you to ask for a refund of the amount you paid towards hosting your website in case you are not satisfied with the services received. I highly recommend selecting a hosting plan with such a free trial and refund policy since you are investing your hard-earned money in a hosting plan.
You will something similar to this on the host’s website:
If it turns out later that the selected plan does not fit your needs, you can always ask for a refund. Selecting a hosting plan with a free trial and refund policy makes your investment risk-free. However, you must read the full terms and conditions attached to such a policy for clearing away any confusion.
Assessing the security provided by the web host
Since your website data is stored, managed, and shared through your web host’s server, you must consider the security provided to this data before signing up for a hosting account. Check the basic security measures taken by the host to protect its server from any kind of breach.
I recommend choosing a web hosting plan with a free or paid SSL certificate like this one:
Such a certificate encrypts the digital communication between the servers and browsers thereby making your website information secure while sharing it with your website readers. Additionally, an SSL certificate also impacts your search engine rankings these days.
Determine the accessibility and quality of the host’s customer support
Customer support is an extremely important aspect to consider while signing up with a web host. Since you are new to the world of web hosting, a quality customer support team will be your helping hand in case of any confusion. Consider the accessibility of the customer support team of the web host you are considering along with the quality of service it provides.
The accessibility aspect can be determined from the host’s website. I recommend choosing a web host offering 24/7 support through at least one of the various channels like instant chat, phone, or social media. It helps you solve any website issues that may arise at an odd time of the day or night.
You will find information similar to this on the host’s website:
The quality aspect of customer support can only be judged from the experiences of the existing customers. Consider visiting the appropriate discussion threads of different community forums for getting insiders’ views on the support quality offered by the web host.
Ease of using the hosting account
It is important to know whether the platform offered by the web host is easy to use or not. Some hosting providers offer quite an overwhelming control panel with dozens of advanced and complicated features. For a beginner, it becomes difficult to work with such a hosting provider. I recommend choosing a web host offering cPanel as it is beginner-friendly and yet can carry many advanced functions.
Apart from the control panel, some web hosts make it easy for you to install WordPress and third-party applications on your website. Choosing such a host will save plenty of your time and help you enjoy your website development process as all the difficult tasks are being taken care of by the host.
Examining the features of the hosting plan – Web Hosting
Reviewing the features of the web hosting plans offered by different web hosts will help you make the right choice. But before examining the hosting plan features, it is very important to consider the needs of your website depending on the purpose and expected traffic of the website you are planning to build. Don’t forget to consider your existing audience from any of your social profiles that can be routed to your new website.
After considering the resource needs of your website, look at the features offered by different hosting plans to match them to your needs. I recommend building a checklist here to prevent missing out on any feature that your website might require.
The important features that must be examined in a hosting plan include:
- Amount of disc space and bandwidth
- Availability of website backups
- Uptime guarantee offered
- Upper traffic limit set
- Number of subdomains offered
- Availability of professional email
- Website security offered
Ready for upgrades
If you are planning to work hard on your website and make it grow, you must be ready for that growth. You can always purchase a small hosting plan initially but it is recommended to look for the upgrade options available with your web host. Moreover, if your website is about to exceed the resource limit set by your current hosting plan, your web host should be able to provide you an easy upgrade option for additional server resources.
Shifting from one web hosting type to another should also be a smooth experience when your website grows. Likewise, talk to the customer support team in advance for examining the time and effort involved in such upgrades. You can also check out the third-party websites and discussion forums for determining the ease of upgrade options with different web hosts.
With the above guide, you can enter the web hosting world with complete confidence as you are ready to choose the best hosting plan for your new website. Moreover, always keep in mind that the web host you select must be able to support your website goals for building a website of your dreams and taking it to the desired level.
Do you have any special requirements for your website that I didn’t discuss here? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer all your queries.