If you are hoping to have an online presence, whether that’s as an individual or a business, then you need to know what website hosting is. Feeling a bit lost? Don’t worry, we are here to break this down for you in simple terms! So keep reading to learn about what website hosting is, why you need it and how you can use it to your advantage.
What is Website Hosting?
There are two key phrases you will read throughout this blog: “website hosting” and “server”, which will frequently overlap. Let’s break them down for you here, to show how they are different and how they work together:
Website Hosting – A secure place for website owners to store their online content. A website exists as a collection of different media files, such as apps, images, written text, databases, videos and more. With so many elements making up your website, you will need to explore a way to manage them. The media that forms your website is stored on a website hosting provider’s server.
Server – Powerful computers that store and process the data that you enter into it. They are crucial in letting visitors access your website. When visitors click a link or type in a URL in a search bar to try and access your website, the visitor is making a request to connect to your website server and when the request is approved, the web server sends back the specific web page and all its information, as requested by the visitor. A server is permanently powered and connected to the internet, so that web page visitors can come back to the same website and its files through the same webpage link as before.
How does it work?
Now we know what they mean, we can understand how they work together. In simple terms, website hosting refers to the service of storing websites and their data in order for them to be accessible on the internet and the server is the physical place in which this takes place.
Without a server, people visiting your website may not be able to consistently access your content. This is an absolute no go when it comes to websites. The inability to access content may cause frustration to the user and put them off of returning, increasing the risk of you losing engagement.
Therefore, website hosting cannot exist without a server, as they work together to make your website content available for visitors.
Hosting Plans: What they are and how to choose one
As a website owner, you will get access to your web host’s server through a dashboard when you sign up for a website hosting plan. This simplifies the process of managing your files on your website, whether you are uploading them or making edits to the ones you’ve already put on there. There are different kinds of website hosting plans for you to consider. Many web hosting providers offer flexible plans so you can make the most of your chosen server plan, which can make it a bit more difficult to decide which one to choose.
Here are the main types of website hosting plans for you to consider:
This is the most popular type of website hosting. Shared hosting means that your server hosts other websites apart from yours, meaning that you will be sharing resources with other website owners. These resources include storage space and bandwidth, so this hosting plan may be better to consider if your website is for a smaller business, which won’t drive as much traffic to the server. Shared hosting is usually cheaper and easy to set up, which are two of the main reasons for its popularity.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) host your files in a slightly different way compared to other servers. They work by acting as an individual server to you, while hosting other websites in the background. Through this, they give you a set amount of resources to work with, making this plan a good middle point between shared hosting and getting your own dedicated server machine. This can be a great step to take after shared hosting, if you would like to seek more independence for your website.
Also known as a dedicated server, this hosting plan offers you the chance to rent an entire server just for your website. This means that you won’t be sharing your server with other websites, and gives you more personal control over the resources available to you on it.
This means that the hosting site for your website will manage your server (including storage space and security), so that you won’t have to. By taking that responsibility away, it is freeing you up to look at other aspects of your website to develop and change.
The newest option on this list, cloud hosting allows multiple, individual servers to work together as one, enabling them to act as a single, large server. Typically, you pay as you go with this hosting plan, as you put your money towards the amount of cloud space you need at a time. This is an excellent option for people whose websites are growing, as it allows you to add what you need, while you’re still learning what that is. You can increase or decrease the scale of your website over time.
You may decide to go against existing servers and create your own with PC software. This means that you will have full knowledge and control over your resources, from how much you have to how much you want to use. However, this is likely to be far more expensive and challenging to manage everything through your server, potentially taking time away from developing your website to be what you want its visitors to see.
Why should you consider website hosting?
You now know what website hosting is, how it works and the different types of plans that are out there. However, you may still be wondering why you actually need it. If you are starting a new business, you may be looking to cut financial corners and think that website hosting isn’t necessary.
The fact is, it’s crucial for a website owner to have some kind of a website hosting plan in place, so that you can manage your website’s content effectively for the benefit of your target audience, who are the people visiting it.
Free hosting is an option that you can explore but before you get into it, you should know that it’s limiting. When you are paying for a website plan, you have so many more options on your server to explore, to help make it grow and thrive. You will need to research website plans further, or speak with professionals who can advise you on what may work best for you, with your goals in mind. Within that research, you are likely to discover the benefits of paid web hosting plans and may understand how crucial it is to pay towards a reliable one.
How can Milk & Tweed help?
Now that you know more about what web hosting is, and have a firmer understanding of the different website hosting plans out there, you can feel more confident in pursuing it. Take the time to consider what’s right for your business, as well as what’s right for you as the website owner.
Here at Milk and Tweed, we know that solid, reliable web hosting is crucial in helping a website succeed which is why we offer website hosting packages that ensure that your website can do just that! We would love to hear from you and talk about your goals for your website. Contact us here to see how we can help you make the most of your online platform.