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What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows individuals and organizations to publish their websites on the internet. In simple terms, web hosting is the process of renting space on a server that is connected to the internet, where you can store your website’s files and make it accessible to users all over the world.
Web hosting providers offer different plans and features that cater to a wide range of websites, from small personal blogs to large e-commerce platforms. With web hosting, a website can be accessed by anyone on the internet, making it an essential component of building and launching a website.
Web hosting explained – How does it work?
The files that make up websites are kept on servers (the cloud?), which are fast computers that can store and process data. A visitor’s request to view your website is sent to your web server anytime they click a link or type the URL into their browser. The visitor can then view your website in their browser after receiving the requested web page file from the server.
A domain name is required for any website. Many hosting providers don’t offer domains, so getting one beforehand can be a great idea. However, other providers will allow you buy this along with your hosting. Before selecting a hosting provider, you can acquire a domain name from a domain registrar. Alternatively, you can do it directly from the hosting provider of your choice. It’s also crucial to think about your URL structure, including whether a subdomain or subfolder is something you desire.
Aside from storing your website’s data on the internet, hosting services also provide support, security, uptime and high performance. Uptime is the amount of time your site is operational and is a big factor for SEO. Make sure your hosting service has at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
With thousands of web hosts available, choosing the right one is essential for your website performance. In the next section, we’ll review some popular web hosting services and discuss how to choose the best one for your needs.
How To Host a Website: What to look for when selecting a web hosting provider
Choosing the right web hosting provider is essential to creating a successful website. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which provider is right for your needs. To simplify the process, we’ve compiled a list of seven key steps to follow when selecting a web hosting provider.
By following these steps, you can ensure you choose a provider that meets your website’s needs, fits within your budget and provides the necessary support to keep your website running smoothly.
- Identify the type of website you’re creating to determine the necessary features for your hosting service.
- Determine the type of hosting that best suits your website’s needs.
- Plan for your website’s growth and select a web hosting provider that can accommodate your needs in the future.
- Set your budget limit for your website hosting service to ensure you choose a provider that fits your financial requirements.
- Consider the level of web hosting support & features you require.
- Decide whether you want free or paid web hosting services based on your needs and budget.
- Select a web hosting that best meets your needs and requirements.
Pros and Cons of Different Website Hosting Types
As a retail store owner, choosing the right physical space is crucial to support your business’s infrastructure. Similarly, selecting the right hosting service is vital for running your website effectively and serving your customers. There are various hosting options for businesses of all sizes, and we’ll look at your options below.
Shared hosting is a web hosting service that hosts numerous websites on the same server. Each website is allocated a share of the server’s resources, including CPU, RAM, and disc space. While shared hosting can be a cost-effective and handy solution for small businesses and personal websites, it has both advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of shared hosting:
Cost-effective: Because the cost of the server is shared among numerous users, shared hosting is usually the lowest option for web hosting.
User-friendly interfaces and control panels: Shared hosting services are often simple to use. Many providers offer user-friendly interfaces and control panels that allow even non-technical users to administer their websites.
Maintenance and updates: The hosting provider maintains and upgrades the server and its infrastructure, so users do not have to worry about maintenance or technical concerns.
Scalability: Shared hosting might be an excellent alternative for small organisations or websites that are just starting and do not require a lot of traffic or resources. Users can upgrade to a more powerful hosting plan as the website expands.
Cons of shared hosting:
Shared hosting plans include limited resources like disc space, bandwidth, and CPU usage. If a website on the server gets a sudden spike in traffic or consumes excessive resources, it might cause other websites hosted on the same server to slow down.
Security hazards: Because many websites on the same server share the same resources and infrastructure, shared hosting environments are more subject to security issues such as hacking and virus assaults.
Lack of customisation: Because the hosting provider chooses the server’s configuration, shared hosting plans may have limitations in terms of software and features.
Dependence on other users: The behaviour of other users on the same server can impact shared hosting services. Suppose another user’s website receives a high number of traffic or consumes an excessive amount of resources. In that case, it might harm the performance of all other websites on the server.
In conclusion, shared hosting can be a low-cost and user-friendly alternative for small enterprises and personal websites, but it has restricted resources and security issues. Users must carefully assess their website’s requirements and select the optimal hosting plan.
WordPress hosting is a web hosting service developed exclusively for websites that use the WordPress content management system (CMS). Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using WordPress hosting:
Advantages of WordPress hosting:
Simple installation: WordPress hosting providers typically include a one-click installation process that makes setting up and maintaining a WordPress website simple
Faster WP Site: WordPress hosting providers often optimize their servers to run WordPress websites efficiently, resulting in shorter loading times and better performance.
WordPress-specific features: WordPress hosting services may provide such features as automated updates, backups, security, and site staging.
Support: Many WordPress hosting providers provide specialist WordPress support, such as theme and plugin compatibility, optimisation, and troubleshooting.
WordPress hosting disadvantages:
While WordPress hosting is wonderful for websites, it may only be ideal for certain websites or applications.
Higher cost: WordPress hosting plans can be more expensive than shared hosting plans, but they frequently include WordPress-specific features and perks.
Dependence on the hosting provider: When using a WordPress hosting service, users may be restricted to the capabilities and services offered and may have less control over the server and architecture than with other hosting solutions.
Security hazards: WordPress hosting, like any other hosting provider, has security risks. Hackers frequently target WordPress websites, so selecting a hosting company with powerful security tools and best practices for securing WordPress websites is critical.
WordPress hosting is an excellent choice for WordPress websites, but it may be inappropriate for other websites or apps. It is critical to thoroughly analyse the website’s requirements and select a hosting package that best matches those requirements while also ensuring that the hosting company provides strong security and support.
VPS hosting is a type of web hosting service in which users are given their own virtual private server with dedicated resources such as CPU, RAM, and disc space. Here are five advantages and two disadvantages of using VPS hosting:
VPS hosting has the following advantages:
VPS hosting gives users more flexibility and customisation choices than shared hosting plans, allowing them to install and configure software and programmes as they see fit.
Improved performance: VPS hosting delivers dedicated resources that can increase website performance even during periods of high traffic or resource demand.
Scalability: VPS hosting plans provide greater scalability than shared hosting plans, allowing users to effortlessly increase or decrease server capacity as their website develops or changes.
Improved security: VPS hosting offers a higher level of protection than shared hosting plans since users have their own resources and are not affected by the actions of other users on the same server.
Cost-effective: VPS hosting services are frequently less expensive than dedicated hosting plans while delivering many of the same features.
VPS hosting has the following disadvantages:
More Technical Knowledge: VPS hosting services necessitate greater technical knowledge than shared hosting plans because users are responsible for managing their servers and infrastructure.
More Costly: While VPS hosting plans are often less expensive than dedicated hosting plans, they are more expensive than shared hosting plans.
In conclusion, VPS hosting may offer website owners an excellent blend of control, performance, scalability, and security while being reasonably priced. It does, however, necessitate a higher level of technical knowledge and is typically more expensive than shared hosting options.
Dedicated Server Hosting
A dedicated server hosting service is a type of web hosting in which a user rents an entire physical server from a hosting company. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using dedicated server hosting:
Dedicated server hosting Benefits:
More Control: Dedicated server hosting provides users with complete control over their server resources and architecture, allowing them to modify and configure the server to match their individual needs.
Improved performance: Dedicated server hosting delivers dedicated resources that can increase website performance even during periods of high traffic or resource demand.
Better Security: Dedicated server hosting offers a higher level of security than shared hosting plans since users have their own resources and are not affected by the behaviour of other users on the same server.
Scalability: Dedicated server hosting plans provide greater scalability than shared hosting plans, allowing users to simply increase or downgrade server capacity as their website develops or changes.
Because the server resources are not shared with other customers, dedicated server hosting provides users with excellent stability and uptime.
Dedicated server hosting drawbacks:
Higher cost: Because users hire a full physical server, dedicated server hosting plans are often more expensive than shared hosting or VPS hosting plans.
Technical Knowhow: Dedicated server hosting necessitates a high level of technical competence to properly maintain the server, including server maintenance, security upgrades, and server optimisation.
To summarize, dedicated server hosting provides users with complete control over their server resources, as well as improved performance, security, scalability, and reliability. It does, however, necessitate more technical knowledge and is often more expensive than other hosting solutions. Dedicated hosting is best suited for high-traffic websites that demand a high level of customisation, performance, and security.
Managed hosting is a web hosting service in which the hosting provider manages and takes care of the technical aspects of maintaining a website on the user’s behalf, such as server setup, maintenance, and security. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using managed hosting:
Advantages of managed hosting:
Time-saving: Users save time by not having to worry about the technical parts of maintaining their websites, such as server setup, upgrades, and maintenance.
Expert help: Managed hosting providers typically give specialised technical support and troubleshooting and can swiftly handle issues that emerge.
Increased security: Managed hosting services give additional security measures such as firewalls, virus scanning, and automatic backups to guarantee that websites are secure.
Scalability: Managed hosting services can rapidly scale up or down server resources to meet a website’s changing needs without forcing the user to make technical modifications.
High performance: Managed hosting companies optimise server settings and configurations to ensure that websites perform well.
Disadvantages of managed hosting:
Higher cost: Because the provider handles the technical responsibilities of running the website, managed hosting is often more expensive than other hosting solutions.
Decreased Control: Managed hosting gives users less control over the server and infrastructure because the provider manages and maintains the server.
In conclusion, managed hosting is a good choice for those who want a hassle-free hosting experience and do not want to be concerned with the technical parts of maintaining their website. Expert assistance, increased security, scalability, and high performance are all provided by managed hosting services.
However, it is more expensive and restricts users’ control over their servers and infrastructure. Managed hosting is best suited for consumers who value convenience and dependability above complete control and customisation.
Cloud hosting is a type of internet hosting in which numerous servers collaborate to supply website resources such as CPU, RAM, and disc space. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using cloud hosting:
Cloud hosting advantages:
Scalability: Cloud hosting offers a high level of scalability because users can swiftly scale up or down server resources to match the changing needs of their website without the need for new hardware.
Reliability: Because the website resources are distributed across numerous servers, cloud hosting delivers a high level of reliability and uptime. If one server fails, another will take over.
High performance: Because users have access to various server resources that can manage high-traffic and resource-intensive websites, cloud hosting gives a high level of performance.
Flexibility: Cloud hosting gives users with a great amount of flexibility because they can easily access and control their website from anywhere and make changes to it fast and effortlessly.
Cost-effective: Because users only pay for the resources they use and can instantly scale up or down server resources as needed, cloud hosting can be a cost-effective solution.
Cloud hosting disadvantages:
Requires Technical Knowledge: Like many other hosting services described above, cloud hosting necessitates technical competence to operate and maintain the servers. To handle the hosting environment, users may need to employ a technical specialist.
Security concerns: Cloud hosting can present security concerns, as multiple servers are involved, and data may be distributed across different locations, making it more vulnerable to attacks.
In conclusion, cloud hosting offers excellent scalability, dependability, performance, and flexibility while also being cost-effective. However, it requires a certain level of technical knowledge to manage and maintain and can present security concerns. Cloud hosting is most suitable for users who require a high level of performance and scalability and have a certain level of technical expertise to manage the hosting environment.
Identify the type of website you’re creating.
To identify the right hosting service for your website, you must first determine the type of website you want to create. Here are some steps to follow:
Consider the following website types:
- Blog or Affiliate site
- eCommerce stores
- Online portfolios
- Personal websites including small business
- Membership website
- Business websites including large companies
- SaaS business site
Questions to ask when working out which hosting provider to engage:
- What is the purpose of this website?
- What will my business website need?
- How much traffic can I expect?
- Who will use this website?
- What kind of hosting do I need?
- What level of security does the hosting provider offer?
- What is the uptime guarantee and how is it monitored?
- How responsive is the hosting provider’s customer support?
- What is the pricing structure and are there any hidden costs?
- What is the provider’s backup policy and disaster recovery plan?
- What kind of control panel does the provider offer and is it user-friendly?
- Is there any limitation on the amount of traffic or disk space offered?
- How scalable is the hosting provider’s infrastructure?
- What is the reputation of the hosting provider in terms of reliability and performance?
By answering these questions, you can better understand your website’s unique features and requirements and choose a hosting provider that can meet those needs. For example, an online store will require e-commerce functionality, while a blog will need a platform optimized for content creation and publishing. Understanding the type of website you want to create is the first step to choosing the right hosting provider.
Consider the level of support & features you require.
When selecting a web hosting provider, you must consider the level of support and features you require. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Technical support: Choose a web host that offers 24/7 technical support. Make sure they have multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and phone.
- Security: Look for a web host with robust security features, such as firewalls, malware scanning, and SSL certificates. A secure website is essential for protecting your visitors’ data and your business’s reputation.
- Backups: Choose a web host that offers regular backups of your website’s data. Regular backups can help protect your site in case of a security breach, server failure, or other issues.
- Speed: Your website’s speed is crucial for user experience and search engine optimization (SEO). Choose a web host that offers fast servers and content delivery networks (CDNs) to help improve your website’s speed.
- Scalability: Consider a web host that offers scalability if your website experiences sudden growth. The host should be able to handle the increase in traffic and provide additional resources when needed.
- Control panel: Look for a web host that offers a user-friendly control panel. The control panel should be easy to navigate and easily manage your website, emails, and other features.
- Pricing: Consider the pricing structure of the web host and ensure it fits your budget. Look for hosting providers that offer flexible payment options and discounts for long-term commitments.
- E-commerce Compatibility: Will you be selling goods or services online? Some web hosts are better equipped to support online stores than others, with many offering free SSL certificates and security measures to make sure you and your shoppers are secure.
Considering these factors, you can choose a web host that meets your website’s needs and provides the necessary support and features.
Plan for your website’s growth.
Planning for your website’s growth is essential to choosing the right web hosting provider.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Evaluate your current needs: Consider your current website needs, such as traffic, data storage, and features. Estimate how much you expect these needs to grow over time.
- Consider future needs: Anticipate the future needs of your website, such as increased traffic, more extensive data storage requirements, and more advanced features.
- Choose a scalable host: Look for a web host that offers scalable hosting plans to accommodate your website’s future growth. A scalable host will allow you to add resources as your website grows, ensuring that your website runs smoothly.
- Check the upgrade process: Make sure that upgrading your hosting plan is easy and straightforward. A web host that allows you to upgrade your hosting plan seamlessly will help avoid any downtime or disruptions.
- Consider additional features: Consider other features your website may require as it grows. These may include additional security measures, caching, or website backups.
- Monitor website performance: Regularly monitor your website’s performance to ensure that it is running smoothly and quickly. Use tools like Google Analytics to track website traffic and load times.
By planning for your website’s growth, you can choose a web hosting provider that can meet your needs now and in the future. A web host that can scale with your website’s growth will save you time, money, and hassle.
Work out your Web Hosting Budget.
Setting the right budget that fits your requirements for your web hosting service is an important step in choosing the right hosting provider. Here are some tips to help you select a budget:
- Determine your website’s needs: Consider your website’s needs, such as storage, bandwidth, and features. Determine how much you can afford to spend on web hosting while meeting these requirements.
- Research pricing plans: Look for web hosting providers that offer pricing plans within your budget. Be sure to compare the features and services provided in each plan to ensure that they meet your website’s needs.
- Look for discounts: Many web hosting providers offer discounts for new customers, long-term contracts, or bundle deals. Be sure to take advantage of these offers if they align with your needs and budget.
- Consider payment options: Look for web hosting providers that offer flexible payment options, such as monthly or yearly payments. Monthly payments may be more affordable in the short term, but annual prices may be more cost-effective in the long term.
- Beware of hidden costs: Be aware of any hidden costs that may be associated with your web hosting service. These may include additional fees for domain registration, website migration, or technical support.
- Prioritize value over cost: While cost is an important factor, prioritize value over cost when choosing a web hosting provider. A provider that offers reliable service, good customer support, and useful features may be more valuable in the long run, even if it costs a bit more upfront.
Typically, paying more for your hosting service means you’ll receive higher bandwidth, greater security measures, and access to more features and perks like SEO service tools, analytics, backups, and site builders. Remember that many hosting providers may try to upsell you on additional features, so it’s important to set a budget before starting your search.
Free Hosting vs. Paid Hosting.
You’ll have the option to choose between free and paid hosting services.
While free hosting providers are available, there are several drawbacks to consider if you’re interested in free hosting. These limitations include limited pages, storage, bandwidth, and uptime, affecting your site’s ability to grow and perform well.
Additionally, free providers may use their own branding and advertisements on your site, which can negatively impact your SEO, branding and revenue. Lastly, free hosting tends to be less secure and lacks proper security measures.
While free hosting services can be tempting, they are typically more limiting and less secure than paid options. If you’re serious about growing your online presence and want to scale your website or store private information, investing in a paid hosting plan within your budget range is the way to go. This is especially important for small businesses, bloggers, or other website owners looking to increase their online presence.
Choosing The Best Web Hosting Company.
After narrowing down your web hosting options, the next step is to select the best provider for your needs. In the following section, we’ll evaluate the top 4 most popular web hosting services in New Zealand, some of which are free.
When deciding on a provider, it’s important to refer to the conclusions you reached in the previous steps, and to check reviews and testimonials from actual customers on third-party review websites. However, it’s important to keep in mind that information on the provider’s individual website may be biased.
The hosting providers listed below offer a range of options. We have personally used all of these services and believe they are suitable for most web hosting needs.
4 Quality Hosting Companies
Although we much prefer to host your website for you with our range of hosting options, here are 5 high-quality website hosting services widely recommended across the internet.
Siteground is the web hosting choice of Digital Estate and where we host our own websites. It’s an excellent hosting service that we highly recommend. Their service is fast, reliable, and packed with features that make it easy to manage your website. Here are some of the standout features that make Siteground our top choice:
- Speed: Siteground is known for their fast and reliable hosting service. Their servers are optimized for speed and their website caching technology ensures that your website loads quickly for visitors.
- Security: Siteground takes security seriously and provides multiple layers of protection to keep your website safe. They offer free SSL certificates, daily backups, and advanced security features to keep your website secure.
- Easy to use: Siteground has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to manage your website. They offer a custom control panel that is intuitive and easy to navigate, making it simple to update your website and manage your hosting account.
- Customer support: Siteground offers 24/7 customer support that is responsive and helpful. Their support team is knowledgeable and can assist with any issues that arise, making it easy to get the help you need when you need it.
- Multiple Plans: Siteground offers a range of hosting plans to suit any website, including Managed WP, Shared Hosting and Cloud Servers when high-power hosting is required.
If you’re looking for Managed WP hosting services with hands-free management from an experienced team of web hosting experts, we’ve created our own packaged Hosting Service in partnership with Siteground. See all the benefits over on our Managed WP Hosting services.
Bluehost is an excellent web hosting service that offers a wide range of services to help small businesses improve their online presence. Their hosting services include shared, VPS, dedicated, and WordPress hosting, making it easy for companies to choose the best option for their needs.
One of the standout features of Bluehost is their free domain name offer for the first year, making it easy and cost-effective for businesses to get started. Additionally, their 24/7 support is reliable and helpful, ensuring that customers can get the help they need at any time.
What sets Bluehost apart is their commitment to helping businesses grow their online presence beyond just hosting.
Overall, Bluehost is an excellent choice for small businesses looking for a reliable and feature-packed web hosting service with a range of additional services to help grow their online presence.
3. Liquid Web
LiquidWeb is a top-tier hosting provider with a variety of hosting services including VPS, cloud, enterprise, and WordPress-specific options. What sets LiquidWeb apart is their approach to customer service. They provide the option for a hands-on experience with an expert walking you through each step, or if you’d rather do it yourself, they are always available if you get stuck and need help.
LiquidWeb’s commitment to customer satisfaction is evident through the various “promises” on their website, which assure the buyer that they won’t be on their own if they’re navigating web hosting for the first time. Additionally, they offer an exceptional range of features, including hosting options for various types of websites, managed hosting solutions, and 24/7 support.
Overall, LiquidWeb’s attention to customer service and comprehensive features make it an excellent choice for businesses of any size looking for reliable and high-quality hosting services.
Nexcess is a top-rated web hosting service that offers a variety of hosting options, including shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting, as well as specialized options for WordPress and Magento sites.
They are known for their exceptional customer support, fast and reliable servers, and advanced security features, such as server-level caching and SSL certificates.
Their hosting plans come with various useful features, including website migration, daily backups, and performance optimization tools.
Nexcess is an ideal hosting solution for businesses of all sizes and website types, especially those with high-traffic and high-performance needs.
Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
If you’re curious to know how to host a website from servers in a different country, you may experience slow page load times and other performance issues due to the distance between the server and the website visitor. This is where a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can come in handy.
What is a CDN?
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of servers that caches and delivers web content to users based on their location. By caching your website’s content on servers closer to your visitors, a CDN can reduce the time it takes for your web pages to load, resulting in a better user experience and potentially higher search engine rankings.
Additionally, a CDN can help handle large traffic, even CDN reduce bandwidth costs, and improve website security.
6 Free Web Hosting Services
Here are 6 high-quality free web hosting services to consider.
InfinityFree offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free SSL certificates and a website builder. They do display ads on your website, and their free plan includes some limitations, but it’s a good option for a simple website.
You’re likely familiar with WordPress, the widely popular web hosting service. And for a good reason. With its ease of use, pre-made website themes, and open-source knowledge base, WordPress has built a reputation over the years for being a reliable option.
While you can opt for its JetPack plan, which includes additional features such as basic SEO, site statistics, and social media sharing tools, you can also easily incorporate third-party tools. The best part? WordPress offers extreme flexibility, giving you complete control over the design and functionality of your website.
With 000Webhost, you’ll get free website hosting, a free domain name, cPanel access, and more. They don’t run ads on your site, but you must participate in their community forums to keep your account active.
Byet Host offers free web hosting with 1GB of disk space, FTP accounts, and support for PHP and MySQL. They also have a website builder and support for Softaculous, which allows you to install popular web applications easily.
Despite being a free plan, Wix doesn’t compromise on quality and offers valuable tools and guidance to help you host and create your website. The platform boasts about its user-friendly interface and high-quality customer support and even provides users with numerous pre-made website templates to choose from.
What’s more, Wix offers free and secure hosting for your website, along with SEO tools to improve your website’s search engine rankings.
Weebly is a website builder that offers an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface to create websites without requiring technical knowledge or coding skills. With various customizable templates to choose from, users can create blogs, online stores, and business websites.
Weebly offers a free plan with basic features and a paid plan for more advanced features like site search, video backgrounds, and password protection. What’s nice about Weebly is that it offers a mobile app to manage and edit your website from anywhere. Plus, Weebly has robust eCommerce tools to make creating an online store a breeze.
What We Like: Weebly’s drag-and-drop interface makes website building intuitive and straightforward for even the least technically-inclined user.
Find Hosting for Your Small Business
We’ve outlined the key steps you can take to narrow down your options and identify the best hosting service for your website type and budget. Remember that hosting providers offer different features, support levels, and pricing plans, so it pays to do your research and compare.
At Digital Estate, we offer various managed hosting packages to suit every website owner’s needs, from shared hosting to VPS and dedicated hosting. Don’t let a bad hosting choice hinder your website’s visibility and engagement – choose wisely and start building your online presence today!