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Web Hosting - What to look for


Web Hosting - What to look for

Before you get too far into starting your website, you should be thinking about who you want to use to host your website. “Hosting” essentially means a company renting you space on one of their servers so they can “host” your site there. The server is where all your site’s files will reside, then the host takes care of allowing access for users to view your site online. There are 3 main things to look for when choosing a hosting provider: Speed, Support, and Security.

Speed (Type of hosting)

  • Shared server: A shared server is just as it sounds. It’s a single server hosting multiple websites. You won’t know what other websites are sharing resources with you. Each website will typically have a limit on the total amount of resources available for use. This is fine for small businesses.(We’ll get into that in the next section)
  • Dedicated server: This is your server and yours alone. No other websites will be hosted on this server and all resources available are yours for the taking.
  • Virtual private server: This is a mix between Shared and Dedicated. The server itself is shared but is split into multiple virtual servers. You’ll be sharing overall resources but you will as much control as a dedicated server.
  • Storage and RAM: A SSD, or Solid-state drive, is much faster and more reliable, but they come at a higher price. Traditional hard-disk drives, on the other hand, are more common in the unlimited plans because they typically come with higher capacities.
  • Bandwidth and Data transfer: Bandwidth is for the amount of data downloaded or uploaded from a website. It affects how quickly a visitor can access your site. High bandwidth = higher number of people who can view your site simultaneously.

Support (resources required and tech support)

  • Uptime and reliability: When your site isn’t “up”, no one can see your site and that means lost revenue. 99% is typical to see but you’ll pay a higher price as you get closer to 100% (like 99.99%)
  • Managed service: This states that the hosting company has IT services to provide Basic customer support for items such as backups, optimization, cloud migrations, cloud storage, server security, server support, etc.
  • Turnaround time: Generally, if you’re seeing something with managed service they will include, or at least have stated somewhere, a turnaround time for your support ticket.

Security

  • SSL: In short, get an SSL certificate. With the amount of cyber attacks in this day and age, it’s a requirement. You’ll probably see some places that say “You only need SSL if you’re collecting personal information”. True, that is the only time its required, but why take the chance of being attacked at all? Some hosting companies even offer a FREE SSL.
  • Managed service will keep an eye on security issues, patch software, and other security tasks
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