If you are thinking about launching your own website but you’ve never done anything like this before, don’t worry because you gave come to the right place. Some hosting companies like to make it sound really complicated so that you think it is easier to pay them to manage your website but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
We have provided a summary of the key things involved in selecting a web host, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to pay someone to fully manage your website and related service or whether you can do most of it yourself.
Let’s start with the basics – What is a Web Host?
A web host is a company that offers a range of services, predominantly the provision of a space for your website to sit. Depending on your own website and online business strategy, you may need more or less of their services. Without a Web Host, your website won’t have an IP address and people will not be able to visit your website as it just doesn’t exist. Find out more about IP Addresses and Domains in this handy Guide.
What types of Web Hosting is available?
There is a range of different types of web hosting and we will look at the three that are most common in small to medium sized businesses.
Some website companies such as WordPress offer free web hosting services. These would generally be used by people building a website that is not for business purposes or that is for a small business that is just starting up and wants to keep costs to a minimum. The reason more businesses don’t go with free hosting is that you are limited in a number of ways, depending on which host you have opted for. Limitations include not being able to use your own domain name, the host using your website to display adverts and limited amounts of storage space and bandwidth. Tend to be a lot slower in performance due to the large number of other websites that sit on the same server.
A lot of small businesses opt for this option as it keeps the costs relatively low whilst not having to compromise for the limitations of Free Hosting. You can generally get a good Shared Hosting package for about £3 per month if you just need the basics. The way that Shared Hosting works is that multiple websites live on the same server so the costs are shared between all of the website owners instead of paying by yourself.
Commonly used for medium to large businesses and smaller businesses that need to select the most secure hosting option. You literally have a server dedicated just to your website, meaning that it isn’t slowed down by traffic on other websites and isn’t at risk of viruses that other websites on your server pick up. The downside to having a Dedicated host is that is costs significantly more than Shared Hosting, ranging from around £50 to £200 per month. If security is of paramount importance to you, then Dedicated hosting is recommended. There has been an alarming increase in cyber attacks on small businesses, so this doesn’t just apply to the large corporate businesses.
There are other types of hosting options available but to keep things simple, we have just looked at the ones most relevant to people who are only just starting off. Hopefully we provided you with a good basic understanding of how web hosting works to enable you to decide what steps to take next.