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All of my websites come with 1 year of FREE Managed WordPress Hosting.

But what exactly is hosting, and why do you need it?

What is hosting?

Hosting is 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. A website is actually just a collection of files in a folder on a computer.
  2. A parking space
    This is the hosting. Your website must be hosted on a “server”. This is actually a physical computer in a warehouse where this folder and all its files are saved.
  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

PRICE

Prices for hosting can range from as little as €1 per month, to €100s per month.

As you might guess, 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.

The major factors affecting how much you need to pay will be:

  • The size of your website
    The more pages and features your website has, the more space it will take on the server.
  • The amount of traffic it receives
    If your website is getting millions of hits per day it will use much more bandwidth than a small site with just a few thousand per month.

Going back to the parking analogy, do you need a single parking space or an entire car park?

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-storey car park, it will take longer to find the car, and it 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 your 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 essential 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 can 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. With 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 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.

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.

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

I offer the additional service of Managed WordPress Hosting.

This means that in addition to hosting your website on a fast, reliable, secure server at a reasonable price, I will also take care of keeping your WordPress installation and plugins up to date.

WordPress is constantly being developed and improved, as are all of the plugins. To ensure your website stays fully functioning and secure it’s important to keep on top of these.

My basic package for a small business website is just €5 per month, billed annually.

You can see full details here:

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The article What is Web Hosting and why do I need it? first appeared on woosimon.com

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