server room used for web hosting

What is Web Hosting? The Ultimate Guide for Businesses

You’ve got your website up and running. It looks great; when people can see it. Long loading times, crashes, debilitating hacks, all these problems, and more, can be caused by shoddy web hosting. If any of these issues sound familiar, you’ll want to stick around and learn how proper web can help make the most of your website. Ready to get started now? Head  Media Collectives over to Northwest

 

What is web hosting and why do you need it?

 

Web hosting is the service that makes your website visible online. Just as a physical business rents retail or office space, your website needs a place to live on the internet. Having a website without web hosting is like having a store without a building; no one can find you.

 

How web hosting works

 

Web hosting is a service that uploads your website from a computer onto a web server. The server uses part of its bandwidth to keep your site online. In other words, it’s allocating resources to host your website. How many of these resources go to your business varies depending on the hosting provider and the hosting plan you pay for.

 

What is the difference between domain and hosting?

 

Web hosting is your website’s location online. A domain is your chosen representation of an internet protocol address; it’s the name of your website. Think of it like a home; the domain is your actual address and the hosting is the lot it’s built on. When someone searches for your site using a web browser, your domain name gets translated into the IP address of your web host. This allows customers to find your business online. 

 

Should your hosting and domain be separate?

 

The short answer is yes. Keeping your domain separate from your hosting offers a number of benefits with few if any, drawbacks. This arrangement provides greater security, stability, and flexibility. Many companies will try to bundle these services together, but don’t do fooled; this is not for your benefit. Maintaining separate services is the best way to ensure your website runs smoothly and effectively.

 

Does web hosting provide free email hosting?

 

Some shared hosting services provide email with your domain name for free. Here is why we think this is a bad idea. Combining these services puts your website files on the same server as your email files. If for whatever reason your website is hacked and the host turns off your services, it disables your email. This can be disastrous for your small business. 

Instead, it’s worth looking into separate email services like Gsuite (paid Gmail) or Microsoft Exchange email. This will help separate your emails from the website. If one goes down, it won’t affect the other.

 

How secure is my web hosting?

 

Many small businesses overlook web hosting security. It’s easy to choose a cheaper hosting provider, but often, they don’t offer the protection you get from a more expensive web hosting company.

All too often, these cheaper hosting companies will cram as many sites as possible into one server. If the website next to yours is poorly built, it could expose your site to cyber attacks. So if your neighbor becomes infected with malicious code, it could spread to your website. In these situations, it is not uncommon for a web host to turn off your website and demand you clean it up; a service they just so happen to offer for an additional cost. 

If you have an e-commerce site or membership site that is making you money, factor in the cost of downtime before looking at prices on web hosting. Also, look for things like the host providing SSL and posting info on their firewall or server security. Not just sales-related copy on their website.

 

Types of web hosting services

 

There are six main types of web hosting services:

  • Shared hosting – Your site is hosted from a server that also hosts other sites, often a much more affordable option
  • Dedicated server hosting – Your website is the only site hosted on the server, best used by larger, high-traffic sites
  • Virtual private server (VPS) hosting – A sort of middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting, VPS hosting simulates many of the benefits of dedicated hosting
  • Cloud hosting – More complex and expensive than shared hosting, but offers many benefits with few other downsides
  • Managed hosting – Just like it sounds, managed hosting offers personal care and attention, for a price
  • Colocation – With dedicated hosting, you’re renting your server and the related infrastructure. With colocation, you own your server and pay to rent space in a data center.

 

How much does web hosting cost?

 

Web hosting can cost anywhere from $10 per month to as high as $100,000 per month, or more. Hosting is not a one size fits all situation; a small, new website will have very different needs from a 20-year-old behemoth. In general, the bigger and more successful your website gets, the more you’ll need to pay to keep things running smoothly. To learn more, check out our hosting page.

 

Don’t count on your host to backup your website

 

Many web hosts claim to have backups running automatically, but unless you signup for this as an extra there is a good chance you won’t have backups running for your website. Even if you do purchase this additional service, the restoration process can often be tedious and confusing. These backups aren’t always easy to use, and for a non-technical user, it can be a struggle to restore your own website. The reality is that most hosts will deny any responsibility for backups of your site. The web hosts make backups for their convenience, not the users.

Many cheaper hosting options will have hundreds of websites on a single server. The backups they take are only there to make sure their systems stay operational. This is why you need a stand-alone backup tool or service running to back your website up daily. More importantly, you need a tool that can easily restore your website when something goes down.

What to look for in a web hosting company

 

When trying to decide who to go with for your web hosting needs, it’s important to find a company that understands your unique needs. Your hosting needs to fit like a glove and you’ll need a partner to ensure your business gets the most out of its web presence.  

Northwest Media Collective has over 20 years of experience helping businesses navigate the complicated world of web hosting. We know the industry inside and out. That expertise helps ensure that your website receives the hosting that suits its needs. 

Because every business is different, NWMC offers a variety of hosting services, so there’s sure to be an option to fit your unique circumstances.

 

Essential – 99/month 

  • Monthly updates with Visual Check
  • Daily Off-Site Backups
  • Daily Security Scans
  • Daily Malware Cleanup
  • Maintenance Dashboard
  • Access to our reduced service rate

 

Premium – 249/month

  • Everything in the Essential Plan
  • 24/7 Team of Experts
  • UNLIMITED 30-Min Content Edits

 

Learn more about hosting with Northwest Media Collective and contact us today!

 

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