There are 1,918,094,800 websites online. One thing that all of those sites have in common…
They’re all hosted.
Web hosting is a term used to describe your website sitting on a physical server somewhere in the world. When internet users type your web address into their search bar, they are then directed to that server which allows them to access your site’s content.
Rather than having physical servers in your own home or office, most people rely on 3rd party hosting services to house their websites for them. Choosing which web hosting service you want to care for your site though can be a serious challenge.
Below, we’ll answer the question “What is a web hosting service” and give you a rundown on factors you should consider when selecting the best one.
What is a Web Hosting Service?
A web hosting service is a 3rd party company that has a ton of servers (robust computers) sitting in an office or warehouse. They then sell space on those servers to people like you so visitors can access your site online.
In theory, you could purchase your own server and house your site yourself without paying a hosting provider monthly fees. Given the nominal costs web hosts charge and the expenses involved in purchasing and maintaining a server though, the vast majority of people opt to forgo personal servers.
Choosing Web Hosting: Things to Consider
Now that you have an answer to the question, “What is a web hosting service”, it’s time to pick a hosting provider. There are many web hosts out there like BlueHost, Host Gator or Our Church (which you can learn more about.)
To filter through your options, consider the following:
The amount of traffic you get on to your website will have an effect on the amount of server power you’ll need to ensure a good user experience. Good web hosts typically offer flexible options so they can scale with your need.
For example, a quality web host will have shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
With shared hosting, you’ll share a single physical server with other websites which means you’ll share its resources. With VPS, you’ll share a server with fewer people and will have more dedicated bandwidth. With dedicated hosting, you’ll get your own server.
Try and look for a web host that makes switching between plans easy so you never have to worry about outgrowing your provider.
As with all things, price is a factor when picking hosts. Different web hosting services will offer vastly different price points to customers.
Where it gets ultra complicated is that pricing with web hosting is rarely straightforward.
Most hosts will lure you towards their services at very low monthly rates. The issue is that, once your contract period with them expires, prices will double, triple or quadruple.
Given how difficult it can be to migrate your website to another host, you may feel compelled to pay the new rate. Because of that, be sure to not only understand what your web host is charging upfront but also what they’ll charge when your service renews.
Depending on the quality of your host’s servers, how many websites they allow onto a single server, and the location of their servers, your website’s speed can be affected.
Slow websites mean poor rankings in search engines. It also means frustrated website visitors which can lead to the loss of customers.
To make sure you’re not surprised by slow servers after signing on with a web host, scour the internet to find web host speed comparisons and make sure you saddle up with one that’s known to be quick!
You can check your site’s speed for free with Google’s page speed tool.
Getting a website set up can be hard work. For that reason, you may want access to quality technical support to help you through the process.
The issue is some web hosts don’t have very good technical support. These hosts typically charge less which is great for tech-savvy people who don’t require much assistance.
If you’re not privy to everything that goes into building and maintaining a site safely online, you’ll want to splurge and find a host that’s known for customer care.
Rounding out our things to consider when finding a web host is up-time. Physical servers need maintenance every now and again and when that maintenance occurs, your site might go down.
Don’t worry. Most site outages occur during low traffic periods and happen rarely.
That is of course if you’re doing business with a good web host.
In general, hosts will boast site up-times of 99.8% or above. Other fly-by-night hosts might have much worse reliability.
Talk to your web host’s customer service before paying them and ask what you can expect as far as up-time is concerned. That way you won’t have to worry about frequent unplanned outages.
Wrapping Up What is a Web Hosting Service and How to Pick the Best One
If you’re looking to get your site up and running online, you’ll need a quality web host to do it. To that end, we recommend first understanding what is a web hosting service and then using our tips above to pick the best one.
Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to confidently find a well priced service that offers you the features you need to flourish online!
Want more of the best information on succeeding online? If so, check out more of our techie-content on iStats.com today!