To exist on the internet, the data that makes up every web page must be stored somewhere. A web hosting service is provided by a company—known as a web host or web host provider— that owns servers and offers you the chance to rent space on one of them to create, store, and maintain your website online.
While businesses and individuals can have their own in-house servers, it may be challenging to configure and maintain them if they don’t have the expertise. Therefore, you can count on the web host to manage the servers and offer different hosting packages to suit your needs.
The best web hosting service must meet the following standards:
Your website must be online at all times for your business to thrive. As such, the web host must provide reliable uptime—the percentage of time your website is accessible. The industry standard is 99.9%.
The service must match your online website needs, such as fast speeds or e-commerce support.
Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred in a certain time, calculated in bits per second (bps). A web host may offer unmetered bandwidth, which means they won’t monitor the amount of data you transfer. A metered bandwidth limits how much data you can transfer, and the web host may shut down your website if you exceed your data cap or charge you for the additional data transferred.
Web hosts must provide secure hosting by protecting their servers from cyberattacks, data loss, and distributed-denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). The best web hosts also provide physical security for their servers, such as access control and redundant data centers.
When looking for web hosting, you will find several common types of packages.
Shared hosting means multiple website owners are using single server resources, but none of them has access to anyone else’s data. This type of plan is best for lower-traffic sites, and it’s affordable.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting package involves a single server that is partitioned into virtual spaces. Each virtual space provides websites with dedicated resources and storage space that no one else shares. You may also be able to configure some of the settings to your needs.
With dedicated hosting, your website will be operating on its own server. The server can be installed in-house or stored by the web host. Dedicated hosting is better for larger businesses with high traffic that need their websites to have the best performance.
If you wish to build your website and blog on the WordPress platform, some web hosts offer WordPress hosting that comes with one-click WordPress installation, fast site loading speeds, top-notch security, automatic backups and updates, and a variety of templates, themes, and plugins.
When deciding on a web host, factor in the type of hosting package you need, initial subscription discounts, extra add-ons, subscription length pricing, the cost of website builders, and bundled services, such as domain name registration, which may be offered free as part of some paid packages.
While different packages can vary a lot in terms of features and pricing, in general, you can expect shared web hosting to cost about $2-$15 per month, whereas VPS plans can range from $5-$450 per month. WordPress hosting packages can be priced as low as $1-$30 per month. Dedicated hosting tends to be more expensive, and package prices range from about $80-$1000+ per month.
To evaluate which web hosts are good quality, pay attention to the following traits.
Your website should be accessible at all times, and you should ensure your potential web host provider guarantees at least 99.9% uptime.
Comprehensive customer support from your web host is crucial for getting solutions for any challenges you face.
Slow website loading time will cost you customers, so check for reliable speeds, storage space, and bandwidth to make website experiences seamless.
Confirm that your web host has servers near your location, because the distance data travels to reach your customers will affect your website’s speed and data transfer.
Web hosts must secure their servers and guard against hackers. They should also provide automated data backups to guard your data from permanent loss. Here are a few more vital cybersecurity features to consider getting from your web host.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) will provide additional protection and help prevent criminals from stealing your data, even if your website’s password is compromised.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) provides encryption between the server and the browser—displayed as a padlock on the web address bar—enabling visitors to feel safe on your site.
Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) are all email authentication protocols. These protect against scams and hacks by validating an email’s source, protecting emails in transit, and determining what to do with unauthenticated email messages.
Easy Update Manager is a plugin for updating WordPress automatically, making it easier to protect your site from bugs and security vulnerabilities.
Web hosting services are essential to keeping your website up and running, and good ones offer helpful site management tools. The best web host service will be reliable, guarantee uptime, deliver sufficient bandwidth, and provide security. Finally, look for adequate customer support and value for money to ensure you get the ideal website for your needs.