Getting Started with Web Hosting

The first step is to find a Web host, the company that will store your website’s files on its servers and deliver them to your readers’ and customers’ browsers. Web hosting services offer varying amounts of monthly data transfers, storage, email, and other features. Even how you pay (month-to-month payments vs. annual payments) can be radically different, too, so taking the time to plot out exactly what your company needs for online success is essential.

Web hosting services also offer different types of hosting, including shared, virtual private server (VPS), dedicated hosting, and WordPress hosting plans. Shared hosting is good for users who don’t want to spend a lot of money on hosting packages and don’t mind some of its traffic and data transfer limitations. VPS hosting is great for small businesses that want more power than shared hosting, but don’t want to deal with dedicated hosting’s prices. Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, is both powerful and pricey; it’s reserved for sites that experience incredibly high levels of traffic per day. Managed WordPress hosting is for those who want to build their sites on the back of the popular WordPress content management system (CMS), but don’t want to bother with a lot of the backend stuff (such as updating the apps and CMS, and enabling automatic backups).

If you’re not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don’t offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It’s worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching Web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.

Once you decide you price range, you need to consider how long you’ll need Web hosting. If it’s a short-term project—say, less than a month or two—you can typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. Some companies offer 30-day money-back guarantees, others offer 90-day money-back guarantees. Once again, it’s beneficial to do your homework.

Choose a Good Hosting Service

Choosing a good hosting service can be quite tricky unless you have experience or advanced knowledge of the subject. Here are some of your options simplified.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting should only be an option if you have numerous sites that you rarely use. At an average of $4 per month, you get what you pay for: strained resources and consequential unreliable service. 

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

VPS is the way to go. They give you more resources and usually offer additional tools and services like automatic updates, mobile site customization apps, backups and more. At an average rate of $25 and up per month, Virtual Private Servers are still very affordable.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is typically used by webmasters with experience in server technologies or by websites with enormously high traffic. So if you have a hugely popular site that needs dedicated servers, and do not understand the tech behind it, you may want to hire someone else who does.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting can be a good way to go. The servers are built for WordPress so it comes with tools and features that are designed to make your WordPress site run optimally. You can obviously also run WordPress on a VPS, but managed WordPress hosting solutions are only intended for WordPress sites.

There are, however, a few restrictions: certain WordPress features like plugins and themes may be disabled due to security concerns.

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Still confused about which option is best for your site? Perhaps talk to customer service teams for each option and discuss your specific needs.