Just as a business needs an office, a website needs web hosting to run smoothly on the Internet. But what is web hosting? And how you choose the best web hosting service for your business?
Web hosting is a paid service that provides you with the resources you need to run your website. Depending on your hosting plan, you are given access to a certain amount of resources (such as storage space and network bandwidth) on one or more physical servers owned by your web hosting provider.
There is a wide range of web hosting services available in the market, each with its own collection of free and paid plans to choose from. Depending on the technical requirements of your website and your own personal knowledge, you can opt for any of these plans to access the resources needed to run your website.
In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know to choose the right web hosting provider for your website.
What is web hosting?
A website needs resources to stay online. These features include things like site content storage and network bandwidth that allows visitors to access them seamlessly. While storage ensures that you have enough space to store all the files on your site, bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred between the website and its users.
Resources are obtained from a server, which is really just a powerful computer that is connected to the Internet at all times. Typically, a web hosting provider will have a large number of servers spread across one or more remote data centers. Depending on the plan you want, the provider will allocate a certain amount of resources on these servers so that your website can use them.
Web Hosting: Free or Paid?
One question that many startup website owners seem to be asking themselves is whether they should invest in a paid web hosting provider or simply choose one for free. In fact, there are free web hosting services available, but they are limited in nature and often include some chains.
Above all, they are a method for a web hosting provider to advertise their most powerful paid hosting plans. For example, free web hosting often limits the amount of storage space you can use or the number of visitors that can access your website in a given month. Services may even display intrusive ads on your website.
These things can have a big impact on the operation of a professional site, so free hosting is only recommended when you are working on a personal project with no financial implications. However, if you use your website for professional or business purposes, a paid hosting plan is a must.
What are the different types of web hosting?
There are different types of web hosting services available in the market. They differ in aspects such as server speed, disk space, network bandwidth and various secondary functions. Depending on your specific circumstances, you can choose a plan with the resources that suit your needs and budget. Here are some common forms of web hosting.
- Shared accommodation: Shared hosting is a type of web hosting where hundreds of websites share a single server. Because servers are shared, their resources are split across multiple websites and reduce server speed and higher response times. This is good for small websites, but established businesses and professionals will probably require something more powerful.
- VPS hosting: A virtual private server (VPS) is a virtual section with established resources created within a physical server. Unlike shared hosting, each server is split into a few virtual servers and shared between five or ten different websites. This reduces the server load and provides each website with many resources to run. Therefore, virtual servers cost more than shared servers – learn more about our VPS hosting feature, which describes everything your business needs to know.
- Dedicated accommodation: Dedicated hosting is the most expensive form of web hosting, in which a single site occupies an entire server. This ensures that the maximum amount of resources is available at all times for the exclusive use of the website. Dedicated accommodation is only needed for very large places with a large audience. Our comparison between dedicated servers and bare metals explains more about this type of hosting and looks at which of the two options is better.
- Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting is a new form of web hosting where a single site is hosted on multiple virtual servers, so it continues to work even when a server is down. This ensures that your website is guaranteed maximum uptime. See our guide to the best cloud hosting providers for more information.
What are the best web hosting providers?
There are several dozen, if not hundreds, of web hosting providers competing to have space in the website industry. Given the large number of options available, choosing the right hosting provider can be quite difficult. We’ve outlined our best options in our guide to the best web hosting services available, but here’s a rundown of the top web hosts on the market right now to make your search easier.
Headquartered in Europe with over 30 million users, Hostinger offers powerful but affordable web hosting options in different price ranges. It has data centers in the US, UK, Singapore, Lithuania and the Netherlands. Hostinger also offers one of the most reasonable cloud hosting plans on the market. Learn more about the company in our full review of Hostinger.
Bluehost is headquartered in the United States and is nearly two decades old. It currently supports over two million websites online. Bluehost offers a range of shared, virtual, and dedicated hosting services with one-click installation options for content management systems such as WordPress. It is also known for excellent customer support and its site migration tool is very easy to use. You can learn more about this service in our full review of Bluehost.
HostGator offers great shared hosting plans at attractive prices. There is a 99.9% guarantee of uptime and customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All plans have unmeasured bandwidth. There is a 45-day money back guarantee and a free domain and SSL certificate included in each plan. Our HostGator review covers the service and its features in more detail.
What type of web hosting is right for you?
In general terms, the three things to consider in any major web hosting provider, apart from storage and bandwidth, are server speed, uptime guarantees, and customer support.
Good web hosting will always offer great speeds and reliable uptime, along with a dedicated 24 hour customer service. In general, you should seek at least 99.9% uptime and 24/7 customer service from all hosting providers.
When choosing the right provider and web hosting plan, you need to consider both short-term operation and long-term scalability. Some hosting providers are easier to upgrade and transfer than others. Some even offer dedicated upgrade options and website migration tools.
However, no web hosting company will be able to offer you much in all these respects, especially if you have budget constraints. This is where you will need to prioritize based on the needs of your business. Even if you keep in touch with a reputable provider, you should have no problem.