A website is a lot more than just an avenue to promote your business. In a PwC Retail Survey this year, 56% shop on Amazon and 39% used social media to influence their purchases.
However, the technical aspects of building and maintaining a website intimidates small business owners. Web hosting for one, is a neglected part of website sustenance, but one of the keys to succeed online. Here we look at the necessary information that you need to know to survive webhosting.
Web Hosting 101
The hardest part of web hosting is identifying a good partner to enable it. Before you click on a web hosting provider that is common, there are things that you must consider.
Before building your website, think about your objectives. Don’t think that a website’s goals are different from your business goals. Because websites have become an integral part of a business, its objectives should automatically sync with your business goals. Once the goals are agreed on, these will help you decide on what type of web hosting and hosting partner you need.
The next step should be thinking about the technical specifications you need based on your plans. You will typically think about how to set it up, email configuration, load times, web space, security, customization, databases, and redundancy. These are just some of the basics that you will need to learn because these will help you narrow down your web hosting provider.
Last is your budget. There will be providers out there who offer cheap but cannot deliver, however, this does not mean getting a cheaper solution is not the right package for you. It will all depend on what you need, what you want to compromise with the provider, and the reputation of the providers on your list.
Below are just some of the terms you will hear from time to time. To choose a provider, you will need to familiarise yourself with the terms below.
1. Web Hosting
In simplest terms, it is a functionality that enables your website to be “up” on the internet, where others will see it.
2. Types of Web Hosting
Currently, there are 4 types of web hosting services: Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated Server, and Cloud Hosting.
In a Shared Hosting environment, you share a server with other subscribers. This is the cheapest web hosting package but also has the least control over what happens to your website.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) on the other hand is a virtual server within a shared space. This virtual server mimics what a Dedicated Server does. Unlike in a shared server, you have full control of what runs on your server such as operating systems.
Dedicated Servers are devoted to a single subscriber. Unlike with a VPS and Shared Hosting, you own a physical server but it is not located in your premises but the hosting provider’s. You have control of what is in the server but maintenance responsibility is on the hosting provider.
Lastly, Cloud Hosting works in such a way that you use many servers usually referred to as clusters. Tasks are divided into these servers and whatever you use is what you only pay for.
Bandwidth as described by Lifewire is the “volume of information per unit of a time that a transmission medium can handle”. You will hear this referred in Mbps or Mb/s. Use this information to find out whether your site can handle an amount of traffic on your site.
4. Disk Storage Space
The Disk Storage Space is probably the easiest term you will encounter. It simply means the amount of space you can use on a server and will determine the amount of storage you have available for data such as videos, images and so forth.
5. Secure Sockets Layer
Secure Sockets Layer or SSL certificates are a security protocol that you will most likely need especially if you are selling something on your websites that entails entry of customer information such as credit card details. Nowadays, most web hosting packages include SSL certificate to help you get started off, and is a crucial factor when ranking your website on Google.