So you’ve finally decided to get your own website for your online business. Congratulations! The first you need is an online presence where you can display all your company information, products, services and many more.
But how do you go about having an online shop? Simple, you need to have your own ‘online real estate’ where your shop can run on. It’s like leasing a commercial location or owning a piece of land so you can establish your brick-and-mortar store. Of course, without this real estate, you have nowhere to run your online shop or a place to store and display your goods.
Essentially, your website will be your online shop while web hosting is that online real estate where you can store all files like product images, videos, texts, programs, etc. needed to run your website. It’s important to work with a reliable web hosting company to provide you with your own storage space on their web servers.
What is Web Hosting and Why Do I Need It?
Again, if you want people to view your website at any time on the Internet, you will need to publish all your content via a web hosting service.
A web hosting service allows you to store your web files through high-powered network of computers called web servers. When a visitor enters your web address (e.g. www.vodien.com), it will signal the Internet to connect to the web servers that stores your website files and transfers the website information back to the visitor’s computer. From there, the visitor can now browse and view pages from your website.
There are two methods on how you can get a web hosting service:
1. Host it by yourself
If you want your website yourself, you will need to have fixed connection to the Internet and the right equipment such as the web servers. Of course, your Internet Server Provider (ISP) should have the capability for such usage. You would also need to have the time and skills to manage and configure the web servers, install firewalls, virus protection and others.
2. Find a web hosting service provider
For those who don’t have time to do all the legwork for their website’s hosting, the most common approach is to find a third-party web hosting provider. This allows you to leave the complicated hosting functions to a reputable web host while you focus on developing your website at an affordable monthly or yearly subscription.
Before choosing a web hosting provider, make sure that they provide the following features:
- Robust server and network connection – to ensure that your website will load fast at any time of the day with an option to upgrade should your website traffic grows.
- 24/7 Customer Support – you need to be able to contact a customer service representative to assist with any web hosting-related issues.
- Disk Space – it’s your storage space to store all web files
- Bandwidth – this is the amount of data a website can transmit over a certain period of time. It also measures your website’s speed.
- Control Panel – allows you to manage your website such as file backup, creating email addresses, etc.
- Database Management System – for you to able to add your own database when needed.
- 24/7 FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Access – used to transfer files between computers on a network such as the Internet.
- Others – Most web hosts offer additional features like domain name hosting, SSL certificate, spam protection, file backup, etc.
What Type of Web Hosting Service Should You Use?
Is it for an e-commerce shop? Do one for your personal blogs? Is it a static HTML page or database-driven? The answer will depend on the type of website that you have. Here’s a quick summary of the basic types of hosting that you should take note of.
The easiest way to build a website and publish it online is through a website builder. it provides ready-made themes and web designs to customize the look and feel of your website without any technical experience.
Most of these website builders include a free subdomain and limited hosting service, allowing you to have a simple website up and running in no time. This is a great way to for website newbies who might not have the time to learn the ropes on managing their hosting resources and developing their own website.
Shared Web Hosting
This is one of the widely-used web hosting because it is affordable and easy-to-use. Shared hosting is a type of hosting where one web server is shared among several customers. Since it shares server resources with its neighbors, it might affect your website (slow it down) if one of them overuse their fair share of resources.
For those who are launching a website that requires lesser server resources, e.g. blog sites, it might be good if you’ll start with shared web hosting then upgrade later on when your traffic increases.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
Think of VPS hosting as a hybrid between shared and dedicated hosting. In VPS hosting, a physical server in a data center is partitioned into several spaces with its own virtual server. A client on a virtual server can only see within their virtual environment and use it as if it has its own dedicated server.
The virtual space mimics that of a dedicated server but in reality, it is part of one physical server. This is beneficial for customers who want more control, security and privacy on their hosting environment at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server.
Unlike shared hosting, dedicated hosting allows you to have your own server dedicated to your personal use. One major advantage is that it gives you the flexibility to choose the type of server for your website and guaranteed optimal performance since you’re not sharing resources with other customers.
This is ideal for websites with high traffic or those that requires their servers to be setup in a specific way. Since you’re not sharing resources with other users, this is more expensive than shared hosting.
One of the main highlights of cloud hosting is the fact that it doesn’t reside on single server but instead utilizes a network of servers that might be situated in different locations. In a shared server, your website may be affected whenever there are technical issues in that server. But with cloud hosting, you have other cloud servers readily available to ensure that your website is still up and running.
The difference between cloud and VPS hosting is that VPS is offered from a single partitioned server while cloud hosting server is provided from a “cloud” of servers that are connected with one another and act as one server. A cloud hosting can help you scale your resources better based on usage and has the ability to add cloned copies of your server as a backup.