So, if you reading this article, I hope you have read our first in our hosting blog series: Why Is Web Hosting Required? In this article, we would like to say well done in taking the correct step towards getting online. But, before you take that step into owning your hosting space, do you know what you are stepping into?
Like everything else out there, you have options. From free to premium web hosting packages. Both free and premium hosting are varied in what they offer. So let’s explore your choices and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Many free hosting companies will not let you own your own domain; therefore, your website is not yours. It can also be stated that you are not serious about your online presence. You are also limited by the amount of traffic your website can have per day or month depending on where the servers are hosted. The servers are generally outdated and probably not kept updated with all ‘nice-to-have‘ security checks that premium hosting offers.
Remembering that security of your website is in somebody else’s hands, the support team will give you reduced support service or no support at all, referring you to their knowledge base or FAQs. If you plan to add your own security, that will not be an option.
If you are planning to use a free hosting company to host your e-commerce website, this option is not recommended at all. Don’t waste your time making a website on these free hosting servers as you will not be allowed to transfer your website to a premium hosting service if you choose too. And that’s their golden handcuffs.
Let me explain why it’s important that you and more importantly, the future of your company or product, invest in a premium hosting service.
Facing facts, web hosting is very affordable. You can purchase hosting annually, giving yourself less of a headache each month. In addition, you get a free SSL certificate and cPanel with your own WHM. Your cPanel will set up a default email account for you, a generic MySQL database, organise your files and allow you to install the CMS of your choice ie WordPress, Drupal.
So let’s get to it and discuss the most common hosting types available to you.
Shared Hosting is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get a hosting space for your company. You sign up online on a month-to-month plan, sometimes with a free domain included, depending on the host company. Although the free domain option is generally limited to .co.za and not .com domain.
You need very little technical knowledge to get your website up and running. You are also provided with a free SSL certificate to ensure your hosting space is fully secure.
With shared hosting, you are renting server space with many websites. That web server’s resources are then shared by the number of websites that are hosted on the server. You may not know this, but if you do experience your website slowing down certain times of the day over a period of a week or month, then it could be websites with higher traffic using a lot of the resources available to it on the server. If not, and your webpages are generally loading slower, then it could also be a number of other things, like maybe a new plugin you installed or the size of the images on your website.
Cloud hosting is a distributed network of servers working together to load balance the high traffic your website receives. For example, Facebook and Google use Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to ensure their websites always load very fast. Depending on the country or which are the most used apps, these CDN cloud servers make these websites load in milliseconds providing the user with a seamless experience.
Stepping up into cloud hosting gives you more control over your website. You can load balance your website globally to ensure that it is always optimized no matter the time of day or year. If you do require more speed or server space, these cloud hosting networks are flexible enough to accommodate your website’s needs.
Virtual Private Networks (VPS) hosting is the most likely choice if you need much more control over your website that won’t break the bank. To explain VPS Hosting in a nutshell (like literally), divide a private server (the shell) into smaller individual servers (the nuts) that act in a similar way to a dedicated server (because they are all nuts). Your website will still share its resources with other websites on the server but not even close to as many websites when using shared hosting. Similar to the way shared hosting works but with fewer websites and more space.
DEDICATED SERVER HOSTING
As the name states, you will have your own dedicated server that will host your website. You will have ultimate control and customisation over it. Yes, nobody else to share your space and resources with. What a relief!
Let’s be clear. This is the most expensive option of all. Having this option, you will also need to have a team of professionals employed to ensure that this server is fully functional and optimized at all times.
You will have full access to your server and its resources thus improving your overall site performance. You can also partition your server if you choose to host clients and recoup some of the costs of having a dedicated server.
The next step up after acquiring a dedicated hosting server is probably having your own server farm, but we won’t go there. The point is, this is a must-have option if you are intending to have high traffic sales that will be using more resources than a shared server can provide.
If you just getting started with hosting and you are looking at your options, I hope that this article has helped you make the correct choice. Building an excellent and reputable website takes time, so lay down a solid foundation today and take your hosting into your own hands.
In our next blog, we will be covering how web hosting works.
If you invest in a reliable web hosting partner, you can’t go wrong with your business!