Websites 3: Hosting Basics

Website hosting

Let’s start off with a basic analogy on just exactly what website hosting is. If your domain is your postal address, directing people where to go, then hosting is like the land that your website will be built. The more people you have visiting your website, the more space you will need to fit them in.

Let The IT Guy Handle That…

Servers, VPNs, Cloud. If those three words fill you with fear and you know that you are not the most technically capable person in the world then it might be sensible to let someone else handle your hosting. Much like with a domain you still need to ensure however that YOU are the one paying the bill and have account log in to a personal email…that way it’s only your own fault if the bill goes unpaid, and your website goes down. It also means you can never be held to ransom. Yes, that does happen.

Do I Need My Own Sever?

As much as your ego would like to suggest that the whole world will soon be flocking to your website, it’s very unlikely you will need your own dedicated server in the early days. Most hosting providers will charge you by how much bandwidth you need, so I advise people to start low and should their product/business suddenly go viral they can always upgrade.

Now here’s a great question a client once asked “If I’m paying for a dedicated server, how can I tell?” First off, if you can’t trust your hosting provider to give you what you’re paying for you should probably not be using them in the first place. If you do a reverse IP lookup then you can see if any other websites are hosting on the same IP.

Can I Trust Shared Servers?

The cheapest kind of hosting is on ‘shared servers’ where hundreds of different websites may be hosted on a single server. The issue with this is that the performance of your site will depend on what’s happening with all the others. This sounds much worse than it really is, I think 80% of people reading wouldn’t experience issues with this hosting BUT I did once know a small website builder who had maybe 50 or so websites he made on his own server and when that server was attacked, all the websites went down (you can imagine what that day was like for him) So I would suggest that if you don’t think you’ll be the busiest website in the world you might be better off with someone like Godaddy or Ionos. They aren’t perfect but they are good at what they do for the price.

When it comes to hosting, I have had mostly good experiences with the bigger providers, certainly I would not entrust a website to the cheapest hosting you can find. You get what you pay for afterall.

This is only a very broad and brief look into hosting, if you are at this stage of your website and want to know more then do some research.