What Is Web Hosting And How To Pick The Right One For Your Business

If you are planning to get a website for your business then you need web hosting. And if you want to generate leads, picking the right web hosting becomes a critical decision. Because there are many bad web hosting companies with crappy performance and customer service. And it is a known fact that slow loading websites lose visitors and customers. These customers are impatient and want the website to load fast! Poor hosting can lead to slow website even if the website itself is built well.

I am sure you might have done this yourself. You Google for an iPhone repair shop in your neighborhood. You look up the shops. You click on the first link and it takes ages to load the page. What do you do? You go back to the search results and pick the next link. And the first business listed will never hear from you or get your money!

It is important to have a functioning website and one that loads fast. More and more people browse on the phone even when at home. Phones browsers can be slower than the PC browsers. So it makes sense to have a fast loading website. A fast loading website is possible if you have a good web hosting and a well-built website for performance.

Of course the speed of your customer’s internet matters, but that is beyond our control. That is why it is so important to pick the right host and website for your business. I will help you pick the right ones in this article.

I have been in web development for more than 9 years and I can tell you many web developers and programmers don’t know much about web hosting unless they themselves have bought hosting for their sites. So you don’t have to feel out of place for not knowing web hosting!

Let’s get started!

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is hosting your website. A website is nothing but a bunch of text files, and optionally  uses a database. These files are kept on a server specifically set-up to host websites and nothing else!

Let us talk about websites before I discuss about hosting types and plans. Websites are text files made up of HTML, PHP, C# or other programming language. Depending on your website type, your website may also use a database. The website hosting is usually offered with one of the two operating systems. Windows and Linux flavors. Depending on your website technology you will use Linux or Windows hosting. 99.9% of the time you will be using Linux based hosting.

Linux based hosting is right for HTML, PHP, Ruby, Python websites and My SQL Server. Some popular CMS for Linux hosting is WordPress, Joomla, Drupal.

Windows is needed when you want to host websites built with C#, VB.NET and MS SQL Server. You can also host HTML websites but I recommend Linux hosting for HTML websites. Stay away from Windows hosting unless you know what you are doing or have expert help.

Web Hosting Packages

If different types of technology was not enough you also have to make a decision on what type of hosting plan you want to use. Fear not, I’ll help you pick the right plan.

Types of hosting plans

There are quite a few and can be confusing. I have broken down the types and also written up on how to pick the right one for your needs.

Shared hosting

This is by far the cheapest and most popular hosting plan and I recommend this for most newbies. As the name goes, you will be sharing the server with other website owners. They will be hosting their websites along with you on the same website. This can be bad because you have to share the resources of the server with the rest of them.

If there are too many websites on the server, the server might get overloaded in serving the websites to the respective visitors. And if a website is badly built it can eat up all the RAM, processing power and make the websites slow including yours! I’ve already mentioned the disadvantages of a slow website.

Single domain shared hosting: In this you can have only one domain associated with it. You can’t have www.example1.com, www.example2.com, etc.

Multiple domain hosting: In this you can have more than a few domains and websites installed. www.example1.com, www.example2.com, www.example3.com, www.example4.com etc. I currently have a multiple domain shared hosting. Couple of my websites are convertism.com, www.fresherformula.com.

Even though some hosting companies may offer overloaded servers for their shared hosting plans, some professional and quality web hosting companies make sure not to add too many websites on their servers and they regularly scan websites that are slowing down their servers and websites. When they find such offending sites, they take action by blocking their site or contacting the owner to fix their site.

My hosting company does this regularly, in fact they contacted me more than once about a web application I was running. So you can still safely pick shared hosting if your budget is tight or just starting out. Just make sure it’s a good and reputable web hosting company. And you can always upgrade to another hosting plan at a later date.

VPS

VPS is a virtual server created within the operating system. The VPS will come with a  fixed hard drive space and RAM. Only your websites installed in the VPS have access to these resources. There are no other websites like in shared hosting eating up the RAM and processing power. VPS hosting is a powerful option. This option is pricey though and you will have to maintain the server yourself because you have complete access to this VPS. In shared hosting you don’t have access to the operating system. You only have access to your website folders, that is it.

Dedicated Server

This is a beast option. Powerful physical server at your disposal and more expensive than VPS. You only need this if you are running an extremely popular website/e-commerce with 100K+ monthly visitors. If you don’t have these many visitors then you don’t need this option.

Cloud hosting

This is a scale-able option. Again choosing this option makes sense if you plan to grow really fast or you expect a lot of visitors at once. This again is not needed if you are just starting out or know you won’t have many visitors.

The Right Hosting Plan For You

Shared hosting: Pick this if you are new, don’t have much technical knowledge and tight on budget. And also you want to have website up and running ASAP. You can always move to VPS or other options later. No big deal! I am currently on a multiple domain shared hosting and I am pretty happy with it.

VPS: Pick this if you are comfortable working the operating system, or can afford to hire an expert to do the work and possibly pay him monthly for regular support and changes. Or if you have thousands of unique visitors per day.

Dedicated: If you have more than 100K+ monthly visitors. You need this if you run an e-commerce website.

Cloud: If you are technical or want to learn stuff. If not, I recommend shared hosting.

Pricing

Pricing can vary depending on the quality of the hosting company and the hosting plan. And it also depends if you want to pay monthly, yearly or even for 3 years. Expect to pay around Rs 800.00/month for shared hosting and around Rs 3000.00/month for VPS for a monthly plan. These are rough figures, it’s impossible to be exact given how many web hosting companies are out there.

I pay a little higher than the cheaper ones for my multiple domain shared hosting.  I pay higher because my hosting has been rated as fastest among the hosting companies compared. Speed is important because visitors bounce (leave) off your website to avoid waiting. When was the last time you waited around for a website to load? With slow internet in India and slow smart phones, it is critical to have a fast web host to capture customers instead of sending them away to your competitors!

How To Host/Install Your Website

You can host your website in three ways:

  1. FTP – You can use a FTP software to transfer your website files to your web hosting account
  2. Upload – If you don’t have many files you can even upload the files to your web hosting account
  3. One click install – You can even install a website provided by the web hosting company. They are offer many different website software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento etc. All you have to do it is click and install from the cPanel (Control Panel). My hosting provides this option and it is very handy.

Install website with FTP

Install website by uploading the files on file manager

Install a website with one click

Picking the right website:

I recommend going with WordPress since it is a very popular website software also known as CMS (Content Management System). At the time of this writing it powers over 29% of the websites online. And it has thousands of plugins. Some popular plugins that you will need are SEO, analytics etc.

If you are planning to have a simple website with not many needs a HTML website can be enough for your current needs. But it’s best to go with WordPress as your needs change, business grows you will already be ready to handle the growth!

Can I Change Hosting Easily?

Yes! For the most part. If you have 1000s of blog posts, pages, tons of images and other files scattered and unorganized across folders in your web hosting account, it can be a challenge but still doable. But, if your website is not too large and organized then it is a breeze! Over the years I have changed web hosting companies 3 times and I never had problems. I planned it well and did it smoothly.

There is a very high chance you can change your web hosting company without breaking anything!

Help Me Help You

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any questions? Comment below to help me help you!

Leave a Comment