Choosing a host provider for your website should be relatively easy, especially with all the options available to you online, but it also makes it, well, daunting. Which of all the options is best for you? What Happens When Your Site Goes Down? How do you know when it will be online again? What backup options do you have for your data? Does your web host offer technical support for any questions you may have? Here are a few important things you need to know about web hosting before choosing a provider.
What is website hosting?
For starters, if you are not familiar with website hosting, let’s figure out what it is. Website hosting basically refers to your server space where the images and data of your website are stored. These servers do not need to be in a fixed location near you. They can be anywhere, some are even completely cloud-based according to www.jolt.co.uk and are available to you online when you enter your domain. You usually renew your website domain annually with your web hosting provider.
Importance and Difference Between Domain Name, IP Address and DNS
The domain name is the name that you have chosen for your website. It could be anything. The only catch is that it can’t be something that someone else has already bought. The domain name is different from the website domain. They are purchased separately and must be registered with a domain registrar.
Your IP address is the address of your server. After you have successfully uploaded your website files and images to the hosting server, your domain will be redirected to an IP address and your website can be accessed on the internet.
So how does your domain know how to go to your IP? DNS records. This is a list of rules that tell your domain what to do. These records direct website traffic, subdomains, and even things like mail to the right place.
What are SSL Certificates?
An SSL certificate is usually installed on the hosting server. It provides a more secure connection between those who use your site and your site. Sites where SSL certificate can be easily identified by looking at the search bar. Google, as of July 2018, started showing https: // in green if a site has its required SSL certificates. In the absence of a recognized SSL certificate, Google has taken to displaying websites as non-https and has labeled them as “not secure”. The implication is that if sites do not follow the rules, those without a valid SSL certificate could completely lose their search rankings.
Hosting requirements to consider when choosing a hosting plan
Now that we’ve covered more technical concepts, here are a few things to consider when choosing a plan.
Data store – This is the amount of space available for your site’s data. This includes all files, images, videos, etc. Most web hosting plans offer the user unlimited data storage (also called disk space). This is usually not a problem with a regular website. However, when it comes to larger websites, you will need to take a more serious look at the disk space issue as unlimited doesn’t always mean what it says. Pay special attention to the fine print.
Bandwidth – This is the amount of data that a host site can send from your site to your visitors, usually on a monthly basis. As with data storage, service providers often offer unlimited bandwidth. Bandwidth can be limited or exceeded if you are using more than the small print, so it is important that you know exactly what your plan means so that you and your site visitors can have a seamless user experience.
Uptime – This refers to the amount of time your site is guaranteed to be online. As with everything else, there can always be unexpected errors. Most web hosts guarantee 99.9% uptime, which means they should be available 99.9% of the time.
Backups – It is important that you regularly perform automatic backups of your website with the host. They are important because they contain important information about the site. Don’t do it manually.
Now that you understand what it is and some of the terms, the next big step is choosing the right host for you. Be sure to read the fine print and ask the right questions.