Just like a brick and mortar store needs a shop or a building, so does your website. If you want people to be able to access the pages of your site, then you need to store them in an accessible physical location.
A hosting service provides space on servers for you to “open up shop.” Similar to a strip mall owner, the host provides space for your website.
You own the business, but the host is like your landlord who owns the property where you do business. Only paying a web host is a lot less expensive than paying a monthly lease on mall space to a building manager.
Just as a brick and mortar business can move locations once their “lease agreement” is expired, as a website owner, you also can change web hosts once your agreement is complete.
Most people prefer to go with a shared hosting service–which is the easiest one for beginners to get started with.
Why You Need to Choose a Good Hosting Service
Let’s now look at some reasons why online business owners should use a hosting service for their website, then review some shopping tactics that smart online business owners consider in their search for the right hosting service.
You might wonder why a website needs a hosting service, when you have a computer yourself. After all, why should you pay a monthly fee just for some space in some company’s hardware?
Here’s why hosting matters…
4 Benefits to Using a Hosting Service
1. A website needs to be accessible 24/7. If you were hosting your website on your own computer it would need to be constantly turned on and connected to the Internet.
2. Most home internet connections do not allow you to host a website. If you wanted to host your own website you would need a commercial connection which is much more expensive than the mere couple of bucks a month you would pay for hosting.
3. Hosting companies have technical staff to make sure that your website remains connected and to deal with any problems that may arise. Their servers are placed in secure environments with protection against fire, earthquake, and theft. This means that your site wouldn’t have to suffer virtually any down time at all.
4. Apart from being pretty cheap nowadays, hosting services allow an unlimited amount of websites on one hosting package. This means that you wouldn’t need to purchase separate hosting every time you set up a new website.
HOW TO PICK A HOSTING SERVICE
Contrary to what your first glance might see, not all hosting services are alike. While some people assume they should choose the cheapest hosting service, there are actually many other factors to consider when choosing a hosting service.
Costs do vary, and choosing solely on price is not a good strategy. Hosting services offer different packages for different prices. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you are looking at comparable hosting packages.
For example, one hosting package might offer full technical support but charges more; Another hosting service would charge less, but wouldn’t offer any tech support at all.
The Amount of Disk Space is another factor which deserves your attention. Today, the more popular hosting services like HostGator.com and BlueHost.com, offer unlimited disk space. However, this is not the case for all providers.
Many hosting packages have a limit on the amount of disk space that will be allocated to you. If you go over this amount you will need to upgrade to a larger (and more expensive) package.
Average Uptime is the amount of time that a website is accessible to online visitors. While no hosting package offers a perfect uptime, you would want to go for an uptime that’s as close to 100% as possible. Generally, most hosting services offer 99% average uptime and above.
Bandwidth is vital. The higher the bandwidth, the faster your website. High bandwidths are so pivotal since visitors and search engines like websites with fast loading speeds. If a site takes too long to load, it might drive visitors away. Also, search engines tend to reward faster websites.
Technical Support is actually quite important. However, the amount of technical support that you will need will depend on your own technical skills and requirements. If you are new to building websites you are going to want a hosting service that offers good support.
Look for services that offer support 24 / 7 and expect a prompt reply. One way to test the technical support is to ask a question about the hosting before you sign up. This will enable you test their response time, quality of support and the degree of attention they give to your question.