What is Web Hosting and why do I need it?

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All of my websites come with the option of free hosting for 2 years – But what exactly is hosting?

In this article we are going to look at:

What exactly is web hosting?
What is the difference between different hosting providers?
How do I know what type of hosting is best for my website?
How much will WooSimon hosting cost after the first free year?

What is hosting?

Hosting is basically like a parking space for your website.

Following this analogy, you need 3 things to get going with your new website:

  1. A car – This would be the website itself, which is actually just a collection of files in a folder on a computer.
  2. A parking space – This is the hosting, actually a physical computer where this folder and all its files are stored.
  3. A registration plate – This is your domain name i.e. www.myamazingwoosimonwebsite.com (Learn more about domains here)

Google and the other search engines act like valets that go and get the car out of the parking space when someone asks for it by the registration.

What is the difference between hosting providers?

When deciding what hosting is best for your website, there are a few factors that you need to bare in mind:

  • Price
  • Speed
  • Security
  • Reliability

As you might guess, generally speaking the higher the price, the faster, more secure and more reliable is your hosting, though it’s not always the case that the most expensive option is the best for your specific needs.

Speed

People are impatient, even more so when they are on the web. 50 years ago people would wait for a month for a letter to arrive from across the Atlantic – now we’re indignant if a page doesn’t load in less than a second…

There are two main factors that affect the speed of your hosting –

  1. Is the server shared or dedicated?
    Using the parking analogy, this would be like the difference between a private garage and a multi-story car park. In the multi-story car park it’s going to take longer to find the car, and will probably take longer to get it out, particularly if there’s lots of traffic.
  2. Where is the physical server located?
    Data travels lightning fast, literally! But it still takes time. The further the distance between the user’s computer and the server where you website is saved, the longer the page will take to load. If most of your users are in Europe, a European server will load a website notably faster for them than one in Asia or America.

Security

Your website most likely contains sensitive information about you, your company and your clients, so it’s important to keep that data secure.

Each hosting company has its own security system in place to protect your website from hackers, the more you pay, the more advanced this security system is going to be.

Though you probably don’t need Fort Knox, it is important that your hosting comes with an SSL Security certificate. This means you will be able to get the padlock symbol ? in the navigation bar to the left of your website URL.

Websites that don’t have this security certificate are heavily penalised in the search results, and many browsers now won’t even open your website.

Reliability

Sometimes servers go down – they are computers, much larger and more powerful than the one you’re using now – but they can still overheat, crash, or need periodic updates and maintenance.

More expensive services will host your site on multiple servers. If one server goes down either for planned maintenance or unexpectedly your site will still be active. Cheaper hosting your site may occasionally experience short periods of downtime during which people can’t access your site.

How do I know what type of hosting is best for my website?

For most people’s purposes, at least in the beginning, a very basic shared hosting package will be sufficient.

Unless you expect to be getting millions of hits to your site per day from the get go, are handling extremely sensitive information*, or plan on streaming videos or other bandwidth hungry content** the budget option should be fine to start with.

*The good news is that running a webstore doesn’t involve storing credit card information on your website. The payments are handled by 3rd party companies who collect and process the payment details using the hosting equivalent of Fort Knox.

**If you want to post videos on your website, the best way is to use YouTube. Upload your video there, then just embed it on your page. All my websites also come with JetPack installed which will serve your images from their server, again helping you have a speedy website without dishing out for expensive hosting.

As time goes by and your business and your website grow, if you feel you need a more robust option you can always move to a more expensive dedicated server option at any time.

How much does hosting with WooSimon cost?

The 1 year free hosting I offer with all of my website packages is on a high performance server in Germany and comes with a free SSL certificate.

It provides high performance, and any downtime should be extremely minimal.

After the 1 year free period, there is an annual fee of €34 per year + IVA, though of course you are free to move your site to any other hosting provider if you wish.

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