Often times, business owners will hear the words ‘domain’ and ‘hosting’ and wonder what in the world the difference is. Here’s small comparison I once heard somewhere to clarify the confusion:
A domain, i.e. youwebsite.com, is similar to the address of you house, i.e. 123 Your-Address Lane, Miami Florida. The domain is what gives people the ‘direction’ to find your location. Hosting on the other hand is the property of land on which your house is located. Say you are building yourself a new house (website). You want to choose a property that is in a good location, that’s not prone to flooding, on flat land, in a secure neighborhood, etc. So too with hosting, you want to choose a plan that can properly suit the needs of your business, in terms of security, speed, scalability, support, etc.
Most websites in this world are hosted on Shared Hosting services. Shared Hosting, as it sounds, is when other websites are on the same server splitting resources of that server. These are generally the cheapest plans, but also less reliable.
This kind of hosting plan is usually extremely reliable as the server on which your website lives is not shared with other websites. Meaning there are no other websites bringing in threats to the server, and your website uses all of the resources available to the server.
This is a newer version of hosting and has a very promising future ahead. This type of hosting is when your website is hosted on a virtual server made of many physical servers in different locations. This type of hosting can almost guarantee no downtime on your website. If one server goes down, another one will pick up the slack. Cloud Hosting is also more reliable for scaling website traffic.
A good hosting plan is vital to the success of your digital presence. With a poorly chosen service, it can cost your website lower Google rankings, a slow website, security issues, and a poor web performance all around.
A website that is slow automatically seems unprofessional and much less likely to convert. Viewers are subconsciously begging for a reason to bounce from your site, and a slow site is one of the biggest reasons for viewers hitting that back button before purchasing. The generally accepted statistic is that there is a 1% loss for every 100ms delay in page load time.
When it comes to search engine optimization, which means increasing your visibility in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., having a faster loading time = a better ranking. Google and other search engines put a high value on faster loading websites, and tend to give them higher spots in the results page.
Whether its your own website or a website you are trying to find, if you’ve ever come across this screen, you know how frustrating it can be:
One thing is for sure, it is most definitely not a good reflection on whoever is the owner of the site, and can lead to a big drop in trusting audience. Make sure that your company promises at least 99.9% uptime. That is the industry standard. With an uptime of 99.9% this still means that your website will see about 8-9 hours of downtime per year, but unfortunately there is not perfect hosting anywhere. Our job at least is to try and mitigate that number. Especially as your website gets more traffic, you will start to see real statistics in which downtime can affect business.
For me personally, security is one of the biggest deal breakers with hosting. There are certain hosting companies, who’s names we won’t name here, which are socially known to have absolutely terrible security. The horror stories that I hear from colleagues and clients about their past security experiences are absolutely horrifying.
Something else you want to ensure is that your hosting offers an SSL service. An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is essentially a lock on your website which make sensitive information secure. SSL’s ensure that hackers will not get any information that you input into the website such as contact information or worse, credit card details. Not having an SSL certificate on your website is considered bad SEO practice as well.
It is important to be able to rely on the hosting company when things go wrong, and believe me, they do. Whether your site is down, or your site has been hacked, you need to be able to depend on a hosting company to lend a hand, and maybe even fix things themselves.
Something I personally always look for in a hosting company is if they provide backups included in the plan, and how often. I always have my own backup generator, but its always good to have a last resort when all else fails. I have personally seen sad cases of external backup systems failing, and the hosting company not providing their own, which of course resulted in half the site being wiped…Leading to this reaction:
The last point we will cover in this article, albeit there are many more, is scalability. If you play your hand right, and stay consistent with your marketing efforts, your traffic will hopefully grow. This means that you need a web host that can accommodate a spike in traffic. This is important to think about especially if you chose to go with a shared hosting service. The host should be able to allocate more resource towards your website so your website doesn’t collapse with more viewers.
As mentioned earlier, you should figure out what needs your website has. Are you on a tight budget? Are you selling products on your website? How much traffic do you have passing by on average per month? Do you need a higher level of support? Are you using WordPress and therefore might prefer a Managed WordPress Host who specialize in WordPress support such as Flywheel?
There are many questions to consider when it comes to picking the right host, and how much you should be paying them. The price majorly depends on what kind of hosting service you are getting. Shared Hosting services, which are the cheapest options, range from $3 – ~$20 per month. Dedicated Hosting averages at around $100 per month and Cloud Hosting can cost between $5-80 per month although if you are buying a more enterprise level package, than can run up $300 per month.
For those of you who are starting out or have a smaller budget, we recommend our personal Shared Hosting favorite, Siteground. For what they are, and for the unbelievably cheap prices that they charge, they have amazing support, great speed, and are a very reliable hosting company. I send clients there way all the time knowing confidently that they are a great budget option.
And finally for those of you who have a little bit more breathing room in their budget, specifically those of you with WordPress Sites, as I build here at 1Bar Design, I recommend Flywheel. This company is magic when it comes to hosting WordPress websites. They have a dedicated support staff that are all experience in WordPress support, so not only do they have excellent hosting, but they take it a step further and support your WordPress questions as well.
Dear business owners, do you research, figure out what your site needs. If you’re seeing a slow site, it could be time to upgrade your hosting. If you are seeing lots of downtime, look into your hosting. Your hosting can make or break your business, literally.
If you have good hosting already, and everything lines up with your website needs, then It could be an indicator that its time to redesign your website, and make it more modern. Your website might need speed optimization, better code structure, image compression, etc. Make sure though that hosting is not the issue first.
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