Web Hosting 101
If you’re planning to create a website of your own, one of the very first thing you’ll need to do is find a proper web hosting provider. It is, perhaps, the most important aspect of creating a website, and if you don’t give it the proper attention, you’re likely to suffer a lot of headaches later down the road.
If you’re new to the industry, we’ll be covering the details in just a minute. Below you’ll find a comprehensive look at all of the points you’ll need to be looking for when considering a web hosting provider for your site. We promise we’ll iron out most of the details that might bother you, as well as introduce a few fresh concepts you likely haven’t considered before. So with all of that in mind, don’t be afraid to dive on down below the break and start your education.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is, more or less, an agreement between you and a web hosting service provider that you will pay a monthly lease to own and operate a portion of their massive web servers. These are computers that will house all of your data, and will allow others to get a good look at the content you so painstakingly create. Think of it as a storage unit with windows that other Internet users will drive by and take a peep through. You need it, and you absolutely cannot shirk it. With that in mind, not everything is quite so cut and dry within the realm of web hosting. There are a lot of things you should be looking out for, and if you’re not careful, you may just find yourself with a bum egg. How do you notice these things? By reading the rest of this article, of course!
The State of Modern Hosting
The current web hosting climate looks a bit like this – there are about as many web hosting providers out there as there are devout church members in Wales. So, you’re going to want to sift through all the riff-raff to get to the golden nuggets. To do this, you’ll need to know just a bit about the technology that’s at work, as well as a fair amount about some of the claims that these companies make. Don’t worry, we’ll be covering all of this in detail. Here’s a short list of the terms you need to know while shopping for web hosting.
First off the bat, you’re going to want unlimited features for just about everything. The web host should not limit the amount of disk space, bandwidth, email accounts, or domains you’re given access to. The same goes for databases, as mentioned earlier. You should also check to ensure that your web host doesn’t have an “unreasonable use” policy that secretly limits the amount of data you’re given access to. Either way, just ask a representative about these points, and they should be able to give you solid answers.
This is, more or less, the amount of traffic that can pass down the pipes leading to your section of the host’s servers. In other words, it’s the number of people that can visit your site, download your content, or just view your pages. This is usually measured in megabytes. The idea behind this is really quite simple: a web hosting company only has so much space to work with, and if you take up too much of it, they’ll be angry. This is why they will typically put a limit on how much server load you can induce. However, a lot of companies offer “unlimited” plans that avoid this. Shoot for one of these companies whenever you can.
A server is exactly like your computer at home: it’s a machine with a hard drive, a power source, an operating system, and a knack for suddenly screwing up. A web host will often talk about their uptime – a percentage of total time that their servers are online and operational. The industry-standard uptime is around 99.99%. This means that virtually all of the time, the host’s servers are working properly. You definitely want this percent or something damn close.
Many companies out there will claim this level of sophistication, but there are a few markers that will tell you the truth:
- does the company have a backup generator for power outages?
- do they have a dedicated staff on site to deal with hardware issues?
Well, sometimes things might go wrong with your website. It may be a server problem, a software bug, or it may be something else you’ve done experimenting with your website, but you will inevitably encounter problems that need a speedy solution. As such, be sure your hosting provider has a highly trained support staff on the planet. These people should be able to fix your problems the minute you give them a call. Be sure the tech support is there 24×7, 365 days a year. This isn’t too much to ask nowadays.
The support for all of the latest software one day will help you expand the functionality and use of your website beyond your original concept. Check for PHP, MySQL, Drupal, Joomla, WordPress. Be sure your web host has the latest versions of each, and also that they have trained specialists on hand to deal with problems within any of them. All of this will add up to a scalable experience that you can take with you when the website expands, allowing you to grow your website without restrictions.
Top Web Hosting Providers
We have picked the following web hosts because they are reliable, trusted by millions of users, garner lots of positive ratings on review sites like webhostinggeeks.com or webhostingreviews.com. All of these companies have been carefuly examined to be sure you get the best of the best!