Web hosting providers supply secure data storage for essential components of website functioning, like code, images, and text. Web hosting often uses third-party cloud storage, but content repositories may also utilize space on a personal computer or a designated server. Because this storage is so essential for website performance, no matter the size of the online presence, it is critical that you carefully source quality web hosting. When you think about essential qualities, consider both your goals and the experience that you want for your users in their interactions with your website. Starting here will not only help you determine the type of web hosting that may be best for you but also support you in choosing a web hosting service that best fits your budget.
The list below highlights four main types of web hosting. With each type, considerations pertaining to sourcing quality web hosting are included.
- Shared: With this hosting format, other websites will operate from your same storage repository. Consider how shared space and multiple clients may impact security and service availability, as well as bandwidth.
- Dedicated: This option is exclusive to your website or collection of websites; thus, all resources are available, so there is a larger capacity for increased traffic.
Consider, however, that you may have to manage this format, and it is often more expensive.
- Virtual Private Servers: The privacy of this web hosting service often has better security and resources available due to the designated space for your website versus being part of the collective in the shared option. Consider the ease with which space and resource needs can expand with your company and the associated cost of this private option.
Consider better security and resources due to allocated space, as well as the potential ease of expansion in tandem with company or website growth.
- Managed: This website hosting approach may be the most costly, but it is also the most likely to care for website storage and for the maintenance needs, application updates, and regular security evaluation that are essential for website performance. Consider the ability of your organization, in both time and skill sets, to attend to these needs and the value of customer service availability and other speciality features that are part of this format’s cost.
How to Source Quality Web Hosting
As part of your selection process, you’ll want to have specific conversations about the following ideal qualities and options in web hosting providers. Exploring company and service reviews may also help further illuminate which hosting format and hosting provider is right for you; although we all know that reviews can be influenced by other factors, patterns may emerge within the feedback that will help you identify strengths and potential weaknesses in web hosting formats or service plans. Here are some questions to help you source quality web hosting:
- Security: Who is responsible for general security? What security measures are part of the plan? How regularly is security evaluated and updated? What are the security benefits of your provider or plan relative to other options? What is the protocol in the event of a security breach?
- Support: How can support be accessed and when it is available? What support services are included in the plan or hosting selection? What are add-on services?
- Maintenance: Who is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the storage space? What maintenance is included? What maintenance is necessary for optimal functioning that differs in availability from plan to plan?
- Features: What features are available, such as storage space availability and traffic level accessibility? Are all features available regardless of plan or are they customizable? How easy is it to navigate the features as well as the provider’s account and website?
Why Sourcing Quality Web Hosting Matters
Quality web hosting matters because the host ensures that your site is operational. For instance, look for web hosts that promote both their uptime and their customer service. For example, if speed and reliability are compromised by a shared hosting provider’s inability to support all of the websites on a single server, that impact reduces engagement in your website because your site will go down or slow down. When your site is not running, it is not visible to your new and existing customers. In a way, hosts are like insurance: you may not be fully aware of how much that provider or plan impacts you or offers you, until a problem arises. Therefore, choose a web hosting provider that has daily backups, which will enable them to quickly revive the website if it goes down, and that is known for immediate assistance when issues arise.
Sourcing superior web hosting is also essential for your reputation. Aside from the daily operations of your website, the host’s content security, for example, can impact perceptions of how you or your business treat personal or private information. If a website glitches repeatedly during a transaction, users may think that their information or money is not secure. Although this may be a host issue and not an issue with your business, the negative characteristics of the web host may be viewed as attributed to you. As with operational integrity, asking questions and reviewing feedback about the web host provider can help you determine their reliability and customer service success, as well as any other qualities that may be beneficial to your own reputation.
Finally, a high-performance website requires time, skill, and associated expenditure. Consider the balance of what you can afford now with the features that you most need, while making sure that you have the support and opportunity to continue to maximize the potential of your website, while also being able to further refine or enhance its functions.
Misconceptions about Web Hosting
A common misconception about web hosting is that anyone can manage it, and it is easy to switch hosting providers if you are unhappy with a particular service. Although some people or companies do have the skills and resources to attend to management, most individuals or businesses do not have the capacity to dedicate personnel to the constant negotiation of storage safety and performance, security updates, application nuances, or the latest best practices in accessibility. Additionally, while it is not impossible to switch a service, it may be time-consuming and costly, so taking the time to explore the options that best fit your needs allows for a better experience in the long run.
With so many skilled web hosting providers and approaches, it may seem like the only difference between providers is the pricing for similar plans. It may also be tempting to simply use a “free” option or buy into the compelling promises of limitless resources and support. However, research is again essential. For example, what a managed hosting includes at one company may differ from another provider. Although the cost may appear similar, the nuances in service are distinct. Additionally, free doesn’t mean suitable for your needs. Although there are available options that may work for your purposes, it is also important to consider whether you have the time to learn about all of the nuances of design, development, or security and storage particulars.
Sourcing quality web hosting might seem overwhelming. To supplement your own review of web hosting providers, APD can help you with this process and in determining what plan best serves your immediate and year-by-year goals. Choosing a web hosting provider is a commitment; from the outset, the provider should make you feel comfortable and respond to any and all questions that you have regarding your options. This experience will help you determine whether the provider is right for you.