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If you’re looking to create your first website, blog, or online store, one of the first steps you will need to take is to find a web hosting provider for hosting your site.
Yes, setting up a website, involves more than just designing web pages. A fundamental part of this process is web hosting.
Now, as we know web hosting can often be a confusing topic for beginners, we decided to write a complete guide to explain the basics of web hosting, why it’s important, and also give you some tips on how to choose the right web hosting plan.
If you’re now just starting, then this is just the article for you.
First, what is Web Hosting? And a Web Hosting Provider?
When you build a website, you need all its files including HTML, images, videos, etc. stored and accessed from a web server.
That’s where a web hosting provider can help. These types of companies have large networks of web servers located in data centers around the world. When someone enters your website domain name into their browser, their servers retrieve the necessary files for your site and deliver them to the user’s device.
All in all, this allows your website to be accessible all over the world, 24/7. And this is hugely important, right? That’s why one of the most important first steps to having a website, blog or online store is knowing how to choose the right web hosting service provider.
Why is Web Hosting important?
Web hosting is critical for the visibility of your website on the internet. Without a web host, your website can’t reach your users, which means it doesn’t actually exist. non-existent.
These are some of the reasons web hosting is so important:
- Website Availability: Web hosting services ensure your website is available to users anywhere, anytime. So potential customers can check your website 24/7, because if they can’t, well, that means no sales.
- Performance: A good web host guarantees optimal performance of your website. We all know how important is that your website loads fast. If it takes too long to load, your users and customers are likely to exist faster. This can result not only in losing potential sales but also in a lower ranking in search engine results.
- Security and Backup: Web hosting services also offer security features, protecting your website from threats such as malware and DDoS attacks. They also provide backup services in case you lose any data.
We will talk more about the key factors to take into consideration when choosing a web hosting provider in the next chapters.
Choose your type of web hosting
Now, there are various types of web hosting services to choose from, each having its own pros and cons. We will explain a bit about each of them, but if you want to read more about these (which we can’t recommend enough) please check the link below.
Shared Hosting: This is where your website is stored on a server with other websites. It’s also the most most cost-effective option as the resources of the server (like bandwidth, space, etc.) are shared among all the websites on that server. This is also why is perfect for beginners who have budget limits.
VPS Hosting: Now, VPS or Virtual Private Server hosting is a step up from shared hosting. While you still share a server with other websites, you have your own dedicated portion of that server’s resources. This provides more resources and better performance, this is perfect if your website has high traffic.
Dedicated Hosting: As the name implies, with dedicated hosting, you have an entire server for your website. This option offers the most resources and control but is also the most expensive one.
Cloud Hosting: Cloud hosting is also a great option where instead of having your website on a single server, it’s spread across a network of servers, functioning as one (a cloud). This allows for great scalability and handling large traffic without downtime.
WordPress Hosting: As WordPress is a popular content management system used by millions of websites worldwide, many hosting providers offer a type of hosting called “WordPress hosting“. Typically, this comes with pre-installed plugins and tools that can take care of the technical aspects of your WordPress site, like software updates, security patches, and backend systems maintenance. It’s a great option for beginners with no server administration experience or minimum technical skills.
Key factors you need to keep in mind when choosing a Web Hosting Provider
When comparing hosting providers and selecting the right plan, we think you should take into consideration these next factors.
Server reliability and uptime: These refer to the percentage of time that your website will be up and running. A good web hosting service provider should offer an uptime guarantee of at least 99.9%. This means that your website is accessible to your visitors at all times.
Page loading speed: If your web page takes longer than four seconds to load, it has significant implications for your conversion rates and search engine optimization. So, make sure you test specific technical performance indicators of your host’s average speed, such as Time to the first byte, also called TTFB and component loading time.
Bandwidth limits: Bandwidth is the total data transfer across your website. Make sure you know your needs so you can avoid fees for extra traffic.
Storage space: If you go for a shared hosting plan, keep in mind that this solution provides limited space for your files. So, make sure you have enough storage space for growth and multimedia content.
Security: Security is a crucial aspect of web hosting. The right web hosting provider should have robust security measures in place to protect your website from threats like hacking, malware, and viruses. So, choose a web hosting plan with SSL certificates, firewalls, and regular backups, among others.
Technical support: Customer support is yet another essential factor to consider when choosing a web hosting service provider. We believe that a good web hosting company should offer 24/7 customer support multiple contact methods, via email, phone, or live chat, and have a quick response time in case you need help. More than that, the support team should have expert knowledge and be friendly.
Cost: Of course, cost is also important to consider when choosing a web host. While shared hosting is the most affordable option, it may not be for you if your website has high traffic. VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting are more expensive but offer better performance and scalability. So, keep that in mind and look for affordable plans that meet your needs too.
Easy to use: If you’re new to this world, it’s better to choose a web host that offers user-friendly control panels. This means you can be able to manage your account and hosting even if you have minimal technical skills.
So, make sure you understand these factors as it will help you make the best choice when selecting a web hosting provider and plan.
Choose your domain name
A domain name is an online address that your users type into their browser to access your website. It can look like www.sitename.com or www.sitename.net.
Now, when signing up for hosting, you can choose to transfer an existing domain name you already own or purchase a new domain through your new hosting provider.
Here are some essential tips to help you find the right domain name:
Keep it short and simple: Choose a domain name that is concise and easy to type, as this reduces the risk of typos and it will also be easy to remember.
Avoid numbers and hyphens: These will only confuse your users and customers. For example, the number “5” can be mistaken for the word “five”. And it goes the same for hyphens, as they can also be forgotten or misplaced.
Make it memorable: There are so many domain names out there, and that’s why having one that’s catchy and memorable is crucial.
Include keywords: Using keywords that are important to your business can improve search engine ranking, making your site easier to find.
Go for a .com: While there are many new domain extensions available (.net, .org, .design, etc.), .com still remains the most relevant and credible.
All in all, the right domain helps your brand stand out and makes it easy to find. Once you purchase this domain, you control it independently from your hosting service if you ever want to switch.
Key Setup Steps
Now, once you’ve chosen your hosting provider and plan, here are the steps to follow for the basic setup process:
- Point your domain to use the host’s name servers for connecting requests to your hosting account and servers.
- Upload website files like HTML, images, CSS, etc. to your hosting account using FTP or directly through a control panel.
- Configure email accounts and forwarders using your custom domain name.
- Set up a database if using a CMS like WordPress that needs it. Most hosts provide simple database creation and connectivity.
- Store backups of your site both locally and on your hosting account in case you ever need to restore.
Now, if all this seems too complicated for you, then we recommend choosing a managed hosting plan (like ours) and you will get access to a website with optimal speed and security, pre-installed tools, like WooCommerce or WordPress, and 24/7 technical support with an average response time of 15 minutes.
Ongoing tasks you need to keep an eye on
So, now that your website is hosted and has been launched, you’ll want to monitor the following:
- Monitor site performance and server resource usage to predict when an upgrade may be needed.
- Keep all software like CMS, plugins, and themes updated for security and features.
- Renew your domain name and hosting plan annually to avoid any disruptions.
- Regularly backup both site files and databases in case recovery is ever required.
- Secure your site, accounts, and server access with strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and firewall rules.
Again, if you choose a managed hosting solution, you won’t need to worry about any of these, as the hosting provider team will take care of all these tasks.
You’re ready to choose your web host
As you see, web hosting is essential for a successful online presence. With the right web hosting service, your website is accessible, secure and performs optimally. Whether you’re a small business owner, a blogger, or simply someone wanting to share their ideas online, understanding web hosting is the first step towards creating a successful website.
Remember, make sure you know your specific needs (like budget, expected traffic, and resource requirements), understand the different types of hosting, and do in-depth research before choosing a web hosting provider.
With the right plan and provider, you’ll have the best foundation for building your online presence.