Web hosting is explained in different ways by different people and it’s meaning is therefore not always 100% clear to everyone. Let’s mention the definition on Wikipedia: “web hosting is a service that offers individuals or companies space for storing information, images, or other content that is accessible via a website”. Great, but what exactly does it mean? And, is the definition complete? I don’t think so.
If you have a website, it is somewhere on a server with access to the internet. This server, computer, hosts your website and makes it possible that it can be accessed via the internet. By everyone. Well, preferably not by everyone.
We want to be able to exclude unwanted visitors or ensure that they cannot cause any damage. Think of hacking a website. The safety and security of the server where you host your website is very important. Your website must be accessible 24 hours a day for your visitors and potential customers. So there is more to it than just space on a server.
What should you look out for when selecting a hosting service?
Before I answer this question I have a few more questions for you. Find out what you need when we talk about web hosting, so that you can make a solid choice for collaboration with the hosting provider. Answer the following questions for yourself:
How important is your website?
What do you want to achieve with your website?
Who do you think is responsible for safety?
What service or support do you expect?
How about personal contact via telephone?
How about a problem after office hours?
These are all questions that partly determine the choice of your web hosting provider. I often compare hosting with a mobile telephone (business) subscription. We expect a lot from this when it comes to clarity, accessibility, availability and support in case of questions or problems. I myself sometimes get shocked by what is already paid in advance without us thinking about it. After all, we only need to make and receive calls and SMS. On the other hand, it surprises me how easily things are taken for granted by users if a connection simply disappears somewhere. It’s outside of coverage area, I hear them say. If you choose correctly and are willing to pay a fair price, you should always be connected wherever you are.
How can it be different with web hosting? We do know what this involves, not just from the idea that you have to reserve some space for your website somewhere. Okay, for $1 a month you arranged it, right? And then what? I cannot imagine that, if you look at the above questions, you can get quality web hosting at $1 per month.
Compare web hosting services.
Before we can make a comparison at all, the starting points must be clear. What do we mean by web hosting, what do you need, what expectations do you have from the service?
Which web hosting is best for you?
There are so many providers that it’s often difficult to select exactly the right plan for your requirements. Essential is that you get informed by the right review websites or people. Let me help you clarify this. I take you briefly to how the hosting world engulfs you with information packages.
A web hosting package, why?
A web hosting package often focuses on a number of components that are included in the service. I will briefly mention them, as you often see them on hosting provider sites.
Hard disk capacity (the space on the server)
Data traffic (use of data (GBs) by your website)
Email accounts (number of email addresses)
SSL (whether or not a secure internet connection)
Backup (frequency, completeness, reliability and restore difficulty.)
But what is all this and how much do you need from what? Some explanation.
Hard disk — disk space
This is the disk space or the hard disk space on a computer server that is reserved for your website. This space is often displayed in MBs (Megabytes) or GBs (Gigabytes). This is the space where you store your pages, images and other multimedia from your website. The installation of your CMS website and data bases are also included. Think of web applications such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento and others.
As with a mobile phone subscription, data traffic is a data bundle that is used by visitors to your website. Every time a visitor comes to your website, data is downloaded to show your website to your visitor. We call this traffic and this is often offered in a bundle.
Almost every website nowadays uses a database or even multiple databases. A hosting package is often limited to the number of databases. The data, the content of your website is stored there to make it quickly accessible when you call it. This just has to be arranged properly.
Other web hosting terms
The other terms, as often mentioned in a hosting package, such as email accounts, SSL, Ftp access and backups are part of hosting and are all being offered. As a layman you often have no idea what they mean.
But what should you choose? Well, It’s simply what you want and that is:
Your website must be online 24/7
You do not want to worry about space, data traffic, databases and backups
You’ll want a safe and secure environment and in the unlikely event of something happening, you’ll want excellent and fast support provided to you by experts
You just want to be able to call with questions, problems or other support requests
You also want to be able to call with an urgent question after office hours
You simply want to be assisted imediately if you have questions
Web hosting is, as the definition indicates, space on a computer server where you store information, images and other content of your website. But, this space is basically only a small part of what web hosting actually is. Web hosting is the TOTAL service that is provided to optimally display a website or webshop on the internet 24/7. And that without having to think about package limitations, backups, security, support with questions and troubleshooting.
Web hosting isn’t only space
If it would be just web space, then who provides all the other components such as a smooth billing system with many payment options, online security, system updates, system maintenance, technical support etc. complemented by all the other components as mentioned above? So web hosting is much more than just space.