Ready to launch yourself onto the vast planes of the online world with your own website? It’s an exhilarating experience getting to notch out your own little corner of the internet. Whether you’re establishing a marketplace for frog-centric collectibles or kickstarting your blogging escapades, it’s important to ensure your website is optimised for your unique needs.
Unfortunately creating a website isn’t as straight forward as whacking ‘www.’ before your business name to materialise a glorious landing page. On the whole, you’ll need to obtain a domain name, and then select a web hosting platform and content management system (CMS). Each component serves a unique role in connecting your website to the internet.
To avoid causing a brain implosion, we’re going to focus solely on web hosting for this blog.
What Is a Website Hosting Platform?
Here’s how we wrapped our head around things: think of your website as a home. Your domain name will act as your street address, enabling traffic to identify your home. Your house itself will be the website, full of content and data. Now of course, this home of content needs somewhere to rest upon – a ‘block of land’ of sorts. This is where website hosting platforms enter the mix.
Website hosting platforms allow you to store the mass of data and files that make up your website, on their server. This is essentially what allows your website to stay constantly visible to the world.
In a more technical sense, web hosting companies own huge servers which operate as constant, uninterrupted computers. These computers are capable of storing large amounts of data, such as the content from thousands of different websites. When you select a hosting platform to store the contents of your website on, you’re essentially purchasing your own space on that company’s server.
Still with us?
Much like choosing the right block of land for your building needs, choosing the right web host is crucial to optimising your website performance.
How to Choose a Web Host
Right, so now that we’ve thrashed the life out of the housing analogy, how do you go about choosing a hosting company?
Each hosting company will each have their own range of plans – in case you weren’t already suffering enough decision anxiety. Each plan will prioritise different features, whether its cost effectiveness, connection speed or storage space.
Below are some key features to keep an eye out for as a website beginner:
- Bandwidth – this term describes the number of bytes needed to carry your website data to each visitor’s computer when they visit your site. When deciding how much bandwidth you require it’s worth noting that websites light on photo and video typically use under 3GB of bandwidth a month.
- Security – your host company is responsible for maintaining the security of your data. This includes prevention against hacks, malware, and spam. The more robust your security features, the more expensive your plan will be.
- CMS compatibility – if you know which CMS you want to work with, make sure you pick a web hosting platform that’s compatible. For example, if you intend to use WordPress, make sure your host has the set-up and technical support to work with WordPress’s key features.
- User friendly – your web host will provide a control panel to control your website from, most commonly this will be a cPanel. This is the most user-friendly interface to work with. If you’re new to the web-tech game, seek out a web host that uses cPanel over more complex tools.
Types of Web Hosting
There are a few different types of web hosting available. The key difference between each boils down to whether your data is stored on a shared server, or on your own personal, controllable serve.
Shared Web Hosting
As the name suggests, shared web hosting stores your website data on the same server as various other websites’. This is a cost-effective option for smaller websites, plus it’s user friendly and doesn’t require server configuration.
For larger websites however, a shared server is unlikely to have sufficient resources. Particularly if you need to support high traffic levels at a decent performance level. Traffic surges on websites sharing your server can slow down your own website, too.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) will still store your data on a shared server. However, you will receive a dedicated allotment of resources and space, as if on your own server. While this provides more reliable connect speeds and larger resource allocation, it requires a superior level of tech knowledge.
Cloud hosting works by allocating your website data to a group of servers. If one server becomes busy or overworked, your data will transfer to another. This has become popular for its ability to offer reliable bandwidth, infinite disk space for unlimited domains, and pay-as-you-go pricing. It’s a great option for websites relying on large amounts of content, but unclear pricing can become costly.
Here’s where the big guns come out to play. Dedicated hosting allows you to rent entire servers to host your data on. It’s extremely powerful, flexible – and of course, pricey. We recommend looking into the storage, bandwidth, security specifics of dedicated hosting plans to ensure the expensive add-ons are a necessity.
Skull aching from tech overload? Ugh, we feel you. Our Wordly tech-nuts, however, are frothing at the bit at the sheer mention of VPS. Why not drop them a line and allow them to create a truly phenomenal website for whatever your digital needs are?