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All online businesses need space to store their files, images, and website codes (HTML). Web hosting services provide this space.
These services offer servers where site owners can store all their files, and they also deliver the data of websites when a browser makes a request.
When setting up a website, you will not just have to think about the design and content you will put up. You also need to consider the different web hosting services available and the pros and cons of each of them.
You could set up your own server to host your website, but that requires a lot of money and human resources. The cost will not end at purchasing the servers themselves.
You also need to pay for maintenance and cooling of the machines. When there are many users, your website may crash, and this means you will need to pay a technician to fix it.
Hosting your site will also come with the challenge of scaling up or down. With hosting services, you can easily buy more space or even reduce the space when you no longer need it.
You should carefully select a web hosting solution since the functionality of your site can bring in more viewers or damage your business.
What Does Website Hosting Do?
A website host provides a platform where your visitors can view the content of your site. They also offer other website-related services like internet uplink, software configuration, data security, and data integrity.
Benefits of Website Hosting
Website hosting is vital for a site to function optimally. It keeps your site up and running, offers you technical support, and guarantees data security.
With excellent hosting service, you can be assured that your website will be up more than 99% of the time.
Such services typically have multiple backups of their data in different locations, and this means your data can quickly be recovered in case of accidents.
Different Types of Web Hosting Services
1. Shared Hosting
In this type of hosting, several websites share storage space, one powerful server, and software applications.
The advantage of shared hosting is that it is very cheap. The server is just like your home computer- it has one hard drive, a central processing unit, and RAM, which are all shared by the customers.
This form of hosting is ideal for small businesses, sites that have low to medium traffic, and sites that need quick launch.
Shared hosting has its limitations. Since you are sharing the server resources with other websites, the performance of your site may be sub-optimal. Also, some users may have faulty codes that will affect other customers of the service.
Shared hosting is usually locked down to protect the integrity of the servers. This means you will have limited control, especially when it comes to custom-coded languages. You should note that many hosting companies put measures to correct these limitations.
2. Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
In VPS, one physical server is shared by many customers, but each website has a separate virtual server. Each site will be allocated a certain amount of space, RAM, and storage space.
So, what can you do with VPS? Since a virtual private server gives you root access to your site, you will be able to add, delete, or install programs and files.
VPS is ideal for heavy websites and applications. If your site generates a lot of traffic, you should also consider buying this hosting.
Here are some notable advantages of using VPS:
- It gives you more control to run your site.
- It allows flexibility and customization of your website according to your needs.
- The hosting company will be in charge of keeping your data safe and secure.
Virtual Private Servers also have their share of issues. The configuration and optimization of your server may be a daunting task, and this means you may need to hire specialized tech personnel to help you.
It also requires high maintenance since you will be managing your server. You have to make sure that the software is updated regularly.
However, some hosting providers offer a managed hosting where they set up your server and retain some developer’s access that enables them to update software and add new tools when requested.
3. Colocation Hosting
For this hosting type, you buy a server and rent some space in the data centre from where it will operate. The hosting company will provide power, cooling of the system, physical security, and the internet uplink that connects your server to other computers.
This means you will be responsible for managing the server software, data storage, backup procedures, and hardware. If the equipment fails, you will have to replace it on your own. If you don’t have the skills to perform these tasks, you should consider investing in other types of hosting.
Colocation is more like VPS in terms of control, flexibility, and customization of your website. But unlike VPS, colocation involves the ownership of a physical server and the maintenance of control integrity of your site.
4. Dedicated Hosting
Here, you will rent an entire server for your site. It is ideal for high-traffic or heavy sites. Dedicated hosting provides the highest level of flexibility, and they typically have incredible uptime.
Because of this, sites using dedicated hosting are fast, and uptime is incredible. You can host a lot of visitors without the website crashing or slowing down, and this can encourage visitors to stay on your site.
Most people would not stay on a slow site since there are many alternatives on the internet.
With dedicated hosting, you will have access to the best security features. When you need support, the web hosts will be willing to help you out through their customer and technical service department.
They even manage your server for you if you do not have the technical knowledge and skills. Although the cost of dedicated hosting is high, the returns will make it worth the investment.
5. Self-Service Hosting
Self-service hosting is ideal for larger companies and established entrepreneurs. This is because they require a lot of resources that a small business owner may not be able to afford.
For this hosting solution, you will have to do everything yourself. You will buy the servers, provide a room to house the servers, install and configure the software, provide a cooling mechanism for the system, and also pay for the power.
You also have to take care of backup plans, internet connectivity, server hardware, data integrity, and system administrator. Since you own the servers, you will also be in charge of keeping data safe and secure.
When selecting a hosting plan for your business website, you should consider the number of visitors you anticipate to have, the amount of money you plan to use, the complexity of your website, the level of control you intend to have over your site, and the level of customization you want to have on your website.
As we have noted, the type of host you use will determine the performance of your online business.