If you’re thinking about a website or thinking about something new online, the chances are you’ve heard the phrase “website hosting”. Whenever you look at the subject you’ll probably find lots of information you may not truly understand. Then you’ll probably ask yourself “do I actually need website hosting?”.
The short answer is yes.
We’ve put together an overview of all website hosting fundamentals to help you gain a better understanding.
What is website hosting?
There’s plenty of interpretations when it comes to website hosting, hearing terms like “the cloud” or “serverless” all reinforce the idea that a site is not actually anywhere physical. People believe that everything floats around and just works. In actual fact, no matter the form of hosting you opt for your website will take up some form of physical space on a server somewhere.
Why do I need website hosting?
One assumption that a lot of people make is that they think registering a domain name is enough to get online. Your domain name is the human-understandable counterpart to your web hosts IP address. It’s what’s used to direct your customers to the right place to see your site online. Imagine writing a letter, you can’t post it if you don’t have an address and that’s exactly what your domain name does.
While your domain name is important, website hosting is the space you buy on a webserver to store all your website files. When your customers enter your domain name or find you in organic searches online they can view your website. Without somewhere for your domain name to point to, your site simply wouldn’t exist.
How much is website hosting
The big question everyone asks when it comes to website hosting is cost. Everyone likes a good deal and for most, paying for something that “isn’t there” is a big deal. Knowing the type of website, average monthly visitors and other features you would require will make the cost easier to understand.
A few key points to consider when putting a budget aside for website hosting are:
- The combined size of your website will dictate how much storage space you need online.
- The amount of traffic you receive will have an impact on the processing power you require to cater to your customer.
- The future growth of your website will give you an indication of any future-proofing you need to consider.
- Would you require on-going automatic regular backups of your website. Most providers include this as standard but it’s important to know if it’s not!
Your individual website requirement will dictate the minimum specifications you need to get your website live and keep it running for years to come.
Can I host my website for free?
Considering the costs of website hosting will always lead to the inevitable questions around free hosting. The truth is yes, some searches will reveal free hosting services available. Whether it’s bundled into an initial domain registration as a starter pack or an online service you’re paying for which advertises free hosting as a feature. There’s almost certainly an option for someone wanting free website hosting.
There’s always the chance you’re starting out with your first website and budgeting for website hosting is out of the equation. Free hosting would be more than enough and you’d definitely give it a shot. If you’ve got big ambitions, and want to grow a website into more than just a basic online presence. Free hosting does come with its flaws.
Some common limitations of free website hosting
Platforms offering packaged bundles or online software often provide a lot less customisation and are limited to their tools. Generally, this means you won’t get out of your website what you want other than a web presence. Usually, you’ll find that you are very limited to the tools on offer within the platform
Limitations within the tools mean you won’t necessarily be able to get the website you want. You’ll be stuck with layouts that you can’t do anything with. In effect leaving you with a website that will look very similar to everybody else’s. You could argue this isn’t really a bad thing, but no one wants to be the same as everyone else do they?
Is it really free
Amongst the limitations of free website hosting, it’s important to consider whether or not the “deal” your getting is actually free. While it may be true your website hosting may be free you should look at what you are actually receiving. Free web hosts often limit the service/s you receive unless you upgrade to a paid plan. Bandwidth, webspace and database storage limitations are all likely to be restricted through free website hosting. By comparing what other paid plans offer, you’ll more often than not find that everything’s included under one price.
What are my hosting options?
There’s a wide variety of options available when looking for website hosting. With so many plans and products available it’s important you figure out how much you want to spend. Without a doubt, your budget is a main factor; but ultimately what you pay will depend on the type of plan you require and the features you want including.
Have a look at the different options available for website hosting.
Shared hosting provides you with web space for your website on a server that is shared with a number of other websites. You are allocated one portion of the server and you share resources with every other website on the server. Depending on the number of websites sharing the resources your website is competing with other websites. Which in turn can have a negative effect on speed and performance, especially at peak times.
Virtual private server hosting (VPS hosting) is another form of shared hosting. The main difference is you appear to be running your own server which you have complete control over. Your virtual server is actually still one of several other virtual instances setup on one larger server. However, with much fewer instances on one server, you are not sharing resources with as many other websites. Which in turn can provide a significant performance increase
Dedicated hosting provides you with your very own server, depending on the type of plan you opt for will dictate how powerful your server will be. It’s important to know dedicated servers are often provided on a “root” management level. This means you are solely responsible for the management, configuration and maintenance of your server. There is sometimes the option for a managed dedicated server but it often comes at an additional fee per month.
Cloud hosting provides you with space on a server and you share resources with other websites hosted in the cloud. The main difference between cloud hosting is its infrastructure. Cloud hosting services are a collection of web servers all communicating with one another. If one goes down, another takes over and your website won’t be subject to downtime.
What we can do for you.
To summarise, the clear answer to the question “do I need website hosting?” is yes. If you are going to commit to creating a website in the near future then ensure you consider hosting as a part of the entire process.
Consider defining clear goals that you would like your website to achieve and consider the impact of achieving these goals on the website hosting you decide to go with. Invest a little bit of time and research the right solution for you, even if it’s just for peace of mind. Investing a little more into your website hosting package can give you the security you need.
If you’re a business planning on investing in new or upgraded website hosting, consider the options available and how you can benefit most. We’re also able to provide our own website hosting services and packages should you require another avenue to explore.
What is website hosting?
In it's simplest form website hosting allows individuals or businesses to publish their website on the internet.
Do I need website hosting?
Whether shared, virtual or dedicated every website requires some form of website hosting in order to be published onto the internet. Knowing the type of website and average traffic you expect to receive will help you understand the type your need.
Can I host my website for free?
While it's possible to get free or cheap website hosting you should consider the limitations it can come with. Packaged builders tend to offer tight restrictions while others bundle free hosting into packages.
What options do I have?
Depending on your individual requirements, you can opt for a number of different hosting options. Shared, virtual, dedicated and cloud hosting are the most common. It's important to understand which is best for you?