Many young entrepreneurs often ask me: “What is web hosting and how does it work? Also, why do I need it?”
Well, there are two ways to answer these questions. One is very simple and the other one dives more fully into the topic of website hosting. Today, I have decided to dive into the second option.
Nowadays, it’s impossible to run a business without having a presence on the internet. During the pandemic, this need for a company to be online became even bigger, as our access to physical stores became more and more limited.
One way to achieve the needed online presence for your business is by using a web hosting service. With it, you will be able to start a website and have it available for customers 24/7, without any need for actions from your end. In fact, most of the web pages you see online are so-called managed websites (meaning they’re used by one company but managed by another).
I’m sure that by now, you’ve started to become intrigued by the idea of using a web hosting service, but I’m also certain that there are still questions left unanswered.
Let’s try to answer them all with this short article.
What is Website Hosting?
Website hosting generally refers to an online server that lets you publish a website on the internet. You can think of it as paying for a space where you can store all of the files needed for your website, thus enabling it to work non-stop.
In order for this to happen, the server connects to either a physical or virtual computer that will run without interruptions and ensures that your website is always functioning properly. The web host is essentially what keeps the server up and running, while simultaneously protecting it from cyber threats.
Most website hosting services are subscription-based. Normally, you get to choose between different plans, depending on the needs of your business and some web hosting companies even tend to offer free hosting as their lowest grade subscription plan.
However, if you want to save some money, instead of opting for the cheapest possible plan, you can look to get an annual subscription that usually lowers the cost by at least 20%.
How does it work?
Your website lives on the server and there all your information is stored as files. Depending on what a visitor chooses, the server will send a different file for viewing to his or her screen. I know this sounds a bit complicated, so let me give you an example.
Say the visitor wants to look at your website’s “About Us” page. The server will then send that page to his computer. Once he clicks on another section of the website, however, the server will change the files and show the newly chosen page on the visitor’s browser.
Usually, the type of hosting service you need depends on the size of your company, as well as how many people go to its website on a daily basis. It also depends on what your business uses the website for. If it’s just there to represent the company and give an overview of your services, it needs a less powerful server to sustain it than if you use the website as an online shopping platform. Nonetheless, there are three main types:
Usually, this is the cheapest type of hosting available on the market. Here, one server is used to run several websites and store all their data.
While this type of service is really cheap, it also has a lot of risks. If, for example, one of the sites hosted on the server starts getting more traffic than usual, this will lead to a downgrade in the performance of all other websites as the server will become overloaded. Furthermore, if you work with sensitive information, it’s not the best idea to store all of it on a server that’s cheap and has the data of several other companies as well.
This is the most expensive type of hosting service you can find. With it, your website is the only one on the server and as such, you get dedicated access to it. It’s also equipped with more power, can handle loads of traffic, and gives you more control over your website.
The only downside to it is the fact that you need a dedicated person to manage the server, someone with experience in the IT world, who is able to manage a server in every way. That includes installing anti-virus software, ensuring that the machine is always up and running, fixing issues when they happen and regularly updating the operating system it runs on. However, you have to consider that these types of employees are well-sought after and their services usually require a big paycheck. That’s why it’s good to think about whether you really need to be keeping the hosting in-house, instead of getting a managed website and just not worrying about server management at all.
Managed Web Hosting
Managed web hosting refers to a situation where a hosting services provider leases you a dedicated server to use but manages it themselves. In this scenario, the provider updates the software of your server, provides security, conducts hardware maintenance, and monitors all activities happening on it, including taking care of all backup services.
Both the managed web hosting and dedicated one have a dedicated server involved. The main difference is that with the dedicated one, you have to manage the server yourself. For most companies, this means hiring a dedicated person for the job, as taking care of a server is not something that your secretary can learn in her free time. Essentially this means that a company has to pay twice: one time for using the dedicated server and a second time for the salary of the server technician. In that way, managed web hosting helps lower the web hosting costs for your business as you only have to pay once for both having the server and its management.
Some may argue that by using shared hosting you also get the benefit of having someone else manage the server. While that is correct, you still have to share that online space with other companies, whilst in the managed web hosting scenario you are getting a dedicated server that stores only the data of your company.
All in all, by getting a managed website, you get both the benefits of having an IT company take care of your website 24/7, while at the same time using a dedicated server that ensures the privacy of your corporate information.
Hosting a Website from Home
A lot of start-up owners often ask whether they can begin hosting their website from home in order to save some money. While it is technically possible to do so, I do believe that it’s not worth it.
Many are drawn to the idea of hosting from home because they see it as a cheaper alternative. However, sometimes you can pay big for things that appear to be a “deal” at the time. Cheap hosting services sound great until you discover that your website is slow, constantly crashes and you begin spending hours trying to find ways to fix the issues. In the end, you end up “paying” for cheap hosting with your time, a resource that you can never earn back.
Hosting a website is time-consuming and it also requires knowledge on how to run servers. Seeing as most people don’t have any idea on how to manage a server, they need to spend hours upon hours learning just the basics of server management. Even after that, it’s still unlikely they will be able to manage an entire server on their own without any experience.
For young entrepreneurs that want to start a business, this is a task that will only waste their valuable time that they can otherwise use to work on the success of their new business venture.
Furthermore, hosting a website from home can lead to massive security and privacy issues, especially if you intend to use your website as a place where customers can leave personal information such as e-mail addresses, names, and phone numbers. Hacking a web page is not very difficult to do when the person on the other side has no previous experience of dealing with cyber threats. In the end, it’s not worth it to risk the good name of your new company just to save a relatively small sum of money.
Best Web Hosting for Beginners
When you’re a beginner who can’t really explain what web hosting is and how it works, it’s best to find someone to guide you through the process. That’s why I recommend opting for a managed web hosting service, where you can get the security of a dedicated server while having someone else manage your website for you.
Today’s hosting services are incredible. For the price of just a couple of dollars per month, you can get your website up and running, while the hosting company takes care of everything else. By opting for an “All-inclusive Hosting and Maintenance” subscription like the one that Camberlion offers, you are completely free to tend to your business as everything in regards to the website will be done by someone else.
Camberlion ensures that your website is always running fast and seamlessly while keeping everything in the background up to date, including updates to the site’s WordPress theme and all the plug-ins. With the “All-inclusive” hosting package, you get reassurance that your company’s data is safely stored, your website is constantly monitored and hacking attempts are caught before they can cause serious damage or steal corporate information.
This is a great type of hosting service for business owners who have no knowledge of IT or simply don’t want to deal with the technical side of having a company in the 21st century. By using it, you save time and energy that you can put in areas of your business where your input is needed and can have a crucial effect on its long-term success.
Furthermore, the hosting company ensures that your website is always available to your customers, works quickly, is efficient, and leaves them with a good impression.
As a business owner, you also save money from this type of service, as you don’t have to hire a specific person to take care of your online presence.
I want to end this article by saying that I understand the pull that cheap services have, especially when your company is just starting out and every dollar is important. However, every business owner should be able to assess which purchases are worth it and which aren’t.
Getting a managed website with all-inclusive hosting gives you all the security benefits of a dedicated server, while at the same time letting you off the hook when it comes to dealing with all the technicalities regarding server management. It’s basically a win-win situation for your business.
Furthermore, paying for good hosting services allows your company to have an online presence that leaves a good impression. What do you think about a business with a website that loads slowly, looks unprofessional and the information on it isn’t up-to-date? You leave the website and you have a bad impression of the business and the way it operates.
Having a smoothly running website that has a good-looking theme and is easily accessible makes a good impression, especially now when we mostly interact with brands online. In reality, you can afford to have a bad website, but only if you’re an already established brand that has a cult following, like Apple or Nike. But even they won’t ever get away with offering a negative customer experience.
Remember: when you’re choosing a type of hosting service, first impressions last and you want to make a good one.