A website without hosting is nothing but a bunch of files with no place to store them. To make your project visible to online users, you need to find a proper server solution that meets website requirements in terms of bandwidth storage, security, load time, etc.
Picking the one might be a hassle especially for people who are far from being hosting experts. You should never underestimate the hosting role in terms of website running, maintenance and support.
Teaming up with the wrong hosting will doom your project to failure. On the other hand, choosing the right one is the same as establishing a partnership between the service provider and website owners. You pay for a chosen plan and get full-scale support without downtimes as well as technical or security struggles. The question is how actually to choose the right solution? What features to consider and where to look for? Keep reading the article to find the answers to those questions.
What is Web Hosting?
The term “hosting” itself means a virtual space or storage where you may provide a living for your website. Each online project consists of a domain name, HTML/PHP or other files, texts, images, photos, etc. All those elements are located in specific folders. You need a place to store those folders and ensure the website proper running. This is where web hosting may help. In other words, it comes as the accommodation for your site with the ability of other online users to access it whenever they need.
In today’s reality, the term represented companies and service providers that deliver their server solutions to website owners. To make things a bit easier, they actually rent out their technologies and digital assets. Once you have had your website hosted, it is available on the Global Web by typing in the domain name in the browser’s search bar.
How Does Hosting Work?
So, you have a domain name and a customized template. The next stage is to make the project accessible online via browsers and multiple devices. A server is actually an extremely powerful computer that hosts all your website files on a single CPU (central process unit) with all texts, images, widgets, videos, etc. The term “server” describes the CPU as the device that serves up your site data and folders to the visitor.
Every time a user types in the domain name, the request is sent to the server. When the request is processed, the server sends the required data back to the user. At this time, the DNS (domain name system) ensures smooth connection with the right computer. In other words, every time you pay for a hosting plan, you actually rent a company’s server in addition to some exclusive features that vary from one hosting provider to another.
Features that Define High-Quality Hosting
Picking up a proper hosting depends on various issues we will discuss a bit further. They mainly refer to your website complexity, type, CMS, expected traffic, etc. At the same time, there are some baseline features that will let you sort out trusted server providers from poor services.
The core features to look for include:
- Bandwidth – the amount of data a single server may transfer to a computer requesting the website. The more bandwidth hosting delivers the better especially for websites with high traffic.
- Storage Space – defines how many website files and content you may store. If you plan to launch a complex project with multiple regularly update pages and media content, you need to look for more storage space.
- Performance – this feature combines the uptime rate as well as website load speed. Both crucial for user engagement as well as SEO. The faster and more stale your site runs, the better for users and search engines.
- Security – it includes a complex system of security and protection means to prevent the site from breakdowns, hackers, scammers, malicious software, etc.
The above-mentioned features include only general issues to consider. We are going to have a detailed look at all the points to look for in a good hosting solution. But first we need to identify the main hosting types and what project types they may suit.
Major Hosting Types
As it was said before, picking the best-matching hosting depends on various factors. What kind of website do you want to launch? How much content will it have? Is it going to be a one-page site or a project with multiple pages? What is your budget? To understand, what server solution is the right pick for your particular needs, let’s review some of the major hosting types.
1. Shared Hosting
This hosting type is a good choice for small projects and limited budgets. It does not mean website owners will suffer from the lack of baseline features. You get the same assets as other users, as you are going to share the same CPU with other website owners.
The only downside here is that with shared hosting you get less bandwidth and storage space if compared to more advanced solutions. Users select shared servers to host:
- Blogs and content-based sites.
- Professional portfolios.
- Small business websites.
This option is good for sites with low and moderate traffic.
2. VPS Hosting
The next hosting type is actually the same as the previous one with one and only difference: you do not need to share a server with multiple users at the same time. You use it in private with a few other website owners. It results in much more hosting facilities in terms of bandwidth, storage, and performance.
VPS hosting solutions are more expensive if compared to shared ones. They are good for:
- Websites with multiple pages.
- Online magazines.
- Small and medium eCommerce projects.
On the whole, VPS hosting is good for any purpose and despite the traffic.
3. Dedicated Hosting
This one represents the upper stage of the VPS server solution. The term “dedicated” means that you solely owe all of the hosting facilities without sharing them with anyone else. The option is pretty expensive. It is good for huge digital stores and corporate websites that require terabytes of storage and bandwidth in addition to extra features that may include multiple IP addresses, etc.
4. Cloud Hosting
Apart from shared, VPS or dedicated hosting types, the cloud-based solution uses multiple serves within a single cloud. The idea is very simple. If one server goes down unexpectedly, another one will go on operating and keeping your website on the flow. It might be good for different projects that require stable and smooth operation 24/7.
Let’s have a look at technologies used with different types of hostings, the average price, as well as what website types they may suit.
Hosting Type Overview Table
|Technology||Single server for multiple users||Single server for 1-3 users||Privately owned server||Sever servers working simultaneously|
|Good for||Small sites and blogs||Small business sites, online shops, etc.||For any website type requiring extended hosting facilities||For any website type requiring stable operation|
Factors to Consider When Choosing Top Hosting Providers
Now when we have learned about hosting types and how they work, it is high time we reviewed the key features to look for and consider when picking the server solution for your particular website needs. The good news is that competition in the niche grows stronger making service providers be more loyal with potential users and offer them a pack of extra features with affordable plans. All you need is to know what to look for not forgetting about the baseline functionality as well.
Pick the Right Hosting Type
Before you start comparing plan prices and features included, you need to decide on the hosting type. We have already described 4 major server solutions. Now it’s your turn to figure out how complex your website is, what traffic you expect, how many pages a site will have, etc.
Make sure the hosting you choose delivers enough storage and bandwidth. Moreover, have a look at hosting compatibility with major CMS. Some companies offer WP-optimized plans as well as seamless integration with other popular content management systems.
|Shared Hosting + Features||Yes (unlimited websites, storage, and bandwidth. Free SSL)||Yes (unlimited websites with up to 30GB of Web Space)||Yes (free SSL, free dedicated IP, free domain)|
|VPS + Features||Yes (2 IP addresses, 3TB bandwidth, 4 cores)||No VPS. Hosting for resellers as an alternative.||Yes (8 cores, 4GB of RAM, 3TB of bandwidth)|
|Dedicated Hosting + Features||Yes (5 IP addresses with 15TB of bandwidth)||Yes (10TB bandwidth for 2 cores)||Yes (unmetered bandwidth, for Windows and Linux)|
|Cloud Hosting + Features||Yes (unlimited storage, bandwidth, and websites)||Yes (8 cores and 125 GB SSD space)||Yes (free upgrades, SEO tools, SSL, and domain)|
This particular feature is responsible for website operation and loading speed. Moreover, it will define the way your site will run and traffic peaks and leaps. Some performance rates define the overall time of project downfalls as well as the speed of server response. In addition, you should consider the availability of physical servers located in different parts of the world. This fact ensures faster data delivery to users from various countries, which is also very important.
So, the key performance metrics are as follows:
- The average uptime rate – it is the time the server operates with no errors or performance failures. The higher the uptime rate is the better.
- Website load speed – the speed of data transfer and server response every time a user sends a request by typing in your domain in the browser. Loa page load speed results in low users’ satisfaction and engagement.
- Data centers – this feature considers physical data centers and servers located in different parts of the world. It helps to deliver website data faster to users located in the faraway distance.
|Average Uptime Rate||99.99%||99.9%||99.9%|
|Average Page Load||424 ms||714 ms||A+ speed (Bitcatcha)|
|Data Centers||No multiple data centers||The USA, Europe, and Asia||23 data centers worldwide|
The crucial features in terms of website stable work. With so many malicious codes and programs, you need to 100% sure there is no threat to the project. Some hosting providers offer integrations with CloudFlare and other platforms to prevent sites from DDoS attacks. In addition, users may count on additional features in the face of anti-spamming packages, system updates, daily or weekly backups, etc.
|Backups||Automatic backups and restore tools||Weekly and daily updates depending on the plan||Auto backups and updates|
|DDoS prevention||CloudFlare integration||Firewall filtering||Bitninja malware detection|
|Anti-Spam||Spam Expert, Spam Hammer, Apache SpamAssassin.||SpamAssassin integration||SpamAssassin, mailbox check|
As a rule, most hosting providers come with enhanced customer support. It includes extended knowledge base in addition to tutorials and how-to guides. Some platforms provide detailed instructions on how to integrate hosting with your CMS. In addition, you should look for extra contacting tools for instant support in case of technical issues. The Live Chat feature and phone support would be a huge plus.
|Help Center||Yes + WordPress assistance||Yes||Yes|
Price always matters. You need to clearly understand what you pay for. Does the plan include all necessary features for website smooth performance? What additional perks will you get for that price? The situation with the pricing policy may sometimes be tricky, as the plan renewal is often more expensive if compared to the initial purchase. At the same time, some companies offer special bonuses and discounts in addition to free options that may include a free domain, SSL, CMS integration, etc.
|Entry Price||From $2.95 for shared hosting||From $3.95 for shared hosting||From $2.75 for shared hosting|
|Maximum Price||$109.68 for dedicated hosting||$599 for dedicated hosting||$148.98 for dedicated hosting|
The Bottom Line
To pick up a proper hosting, users need to consider several vital aspects in terms of performance, security, and extra features delivered by the companies. We have reviewed all of the crucial aspects in details making it easier for you to choose the best-matching alternative considering your website type, structure, complexity, and expected traffic.
It is not just about selecting the most reputable hosting. You need to be 100% sure the platform meets essential requirements with enough server assets and facilities to deliver. A combination of affordable prices and enhanced functionality plus free features would certainly make a good deal.