Admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting your life on track. This principle applies to all kinds of scenarios, but none more so than web hosting. Loads of people own websites and startinternet based businesses, without every really understanding what their web hosting does. You might consider yourself to be something of a geek, a savvy geek even. But lots of people like you don’t even know what hosting really does. If that’s you, it’s time to change that.
First you’ve got to understand what hosting does. You probably already at least sort of get this one, but we’ll cover it anyway. Hosts make your website work. They house the data and the technology that makes your site light up on screens all around the world. Your host has servers where your site lives. But not all hosts are the same. For one, there are hosts that cater to websites of many different sizes and varieties.
Let’s take the average website for example. It’s small, it’s not that complicated. It just needs a little space to do what it does. For this site, Shared Hosting might be the best option. It’s a single server that divvies out space to different, unrelated websites. Think of it as a roommate situation. If that’s too small for your site, you might choose VPS, Cloud Hosting, or (if you’re freaking huge) a server system dedicated to your site. Think you’re done choosing hosts? Nope, this is just size. Hosts do more than just that.
There’s also the issue of uptime. Technology fails, and sites go down. This is true whether you’re using Windows vs. Unix, whether you’re a tiny page or a giant corporate entity, whether you sell stuff or just show images. Hosts keep track of how much the sites they host stay up, and this is called “Uptime”. Uptime should be well over 99% for any host you want to do business with. Believe me, you don’t want to lose money or business because your host can’t keep it live. When considering a host, look around for user reviews talking about how much or little their site goes down with the host you’re investigating.
From here, it’s helpful to learn about support. This includes customer service – the actual people who are going to solve your problems down the road – as well as supported applications and technologies. If you are reliant on a particular CMS, make sure that it is supported with the host you’re interested in. If you use unusual apps that you don’t normally see on other sites, don’t take it for granted that any given host is going to handle them.
There are plenty of other considerations to make about hosting providers, but these are three of the most pressing. Take the time to carefully consider your needs as a web or mobile entity, as well as how you’ll likely grow in the future. If you get this right, you should never have to think about your hosting. It’ll. Just. Work!