caticonslite_bm_altWebsite Hosting Guide

With the increasing rise of social media, you may think that having a Facebook page, sharing information on Twitter or posting to Pinterest is sufficient to promote your business.

Is social really enough?
Depending on your type of venture or aspirations for the future, without a digital home, you’re diluting efforts and totally missing the opportunity to engage and connect with not only customers but potential customers via a specific, dedicated site.
Customers want to learn more about your products / services alongside one another, in the same pace which is exactly what a website does.

So what do you need to set up a website?
Just the same as you wouldn’t hire a plumber to repoint your brick work, digital info houses (websites) also require specialist skills; initially, but not limited to developers.

Frontend developers focus on what people see when they visit your website; design and usability.
Backend developers focus on the interaction between the server and databases, often working on a number of things to make sure the technology binds, such as:

•          Scripting to permit your users to interact with the site

•          Web server configuration

•          Developing e-commerce features i.e. payment system

But before you go the full hog and get a site designed, where should it live?
Your developers will need to know this, in order to make sure that it is optimsed for its surroundings.
This is not made easy by a plethora of hosting options available, many of which can be hacked or crash, resulting in consumers losing trust in your company.
We wrote a blog on consumer trust; you can find it here.

What is website hosting?

A website host is a place where people store their websites.

It is basically a house where you store all your stuff; but instead of storing clothing, food and furniture, you store information on digital files.

Geek mode: The term “web host” refers to the company that rent out their computer/servers to store your website and provide Internet to enable other computers to access your files and information.
If you’re looking into hosting, you will have come across the terminology Data Centres.  Web hosting refers to the specific server which hosts your site or the hosting company which rent the hosting space to you.  A data centre, is where servers are housed. 

Your ‘info hub’ needs to live somewhere, what are the requirements in order to make sure it is a comfortable living space?

 Like any person or family, your website has a USP and therefore different needs from your competitors.  While different types of hosting servers can act as a storage hub for your website, they differ in storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement, server speed, and reliability.  The main three things to consider are: 

•          Availability

•          Security & Privacy

•          Performance & Load

1)  Availability
What happens if the host is unavailable?  What is the cost to business if it goes down for a second or longer? What about if disaster strikes? How long will a problem take to solve? What is the worst case scenario and who can handle it best?

2)  Privacy & Security
How sensitive is the information you have on your website?  What is the business cost if it gets compromised?

3)  Performance
What is an acceptable response time? How many visits are you expecting -realistically? Where do your visitors live around the world?

Kinds of hosting solutions
Once you have these questions answered, you are aware of what kind of property your information need to be housed in.  Much like the property market, there are many different solutions for different website needs.  Here are the main differences between hosting solutions. 

Shared hosting is the student house of hosting solutions, where your website is placed on the same server as many others; from hundreds to thousands.  Due to the low price, they are prone to crashing if one website in the same ‘building’ suddenly gets millions of visits from that viral house party.

Virtual Private Server (VPS):
This is the equivalent of a block of flats.  Virtual private server hosting divides a single server into virtual servers, where each website seems to be hosted on their own dedicated server, but are actually sharing with others.  This is useful for websites which need greater control but don’t want to invest in a dedicated server.  However, VPS has limited ability to handle high visit rates and your website performance can become affected by noisy neighbour’s parties.

Flats Website Hosting, Blue cartoon

This is the home owner/renting a full house with garden equivalent, where a dedicated server offers maximum control.  Your site/s is/are the only website/s stored on the server.  Even without inflation, personal space and guaranteed satisfaction always comes at a price.

House with garden Website Hosting, Blue Cartoon Graphic Alliance Blog

Cloud Hosting:
This is the equivalent of living in a hotel, where people cater to you and you can rent the whole floor for that party, effectively offering the unlimited ability to handle visits.
The team of servers (cloud) work together to host a group of websites, allowing multiple computers to work together to handle lots of visitors for any particular website.  However, cloud hosting setups do not offer root access, which you may need to change server settings or install software, and come at a higher cost.

Hotel Fully automated Luxury Website Hosting, Blue Cartoon

Hosting company hinderances

Major hosting companies are hard to miss.  They appear in YouTube and Google Ad network space online and offline in tube ads, TV ads, full page ads in business and leisure magazines and all occupy the top search spaces in Google.  Huge spend is caused by the conflict of offering services for free or next to nothing.  These hosting solution providers entice high numbers of small customers with slim margins to progressively upsell fresh features, like increased storage and extra benefits.  By keeping prices down and restricting services, you could be restricting business, leading to problems.

Common problems of the wrong host may include

I uploaded the site but I can still see the holding page.
My changes aren’t being displayed.
Where has my website gone?
Why are my images not uploading?
What happened to the layout?

If your business is evolving, you may also need to change your hosting solution.  Know who you are as a business, where you are going and what you need to digitally represent that.  Once you understand your digital business requirements and have chosen a hosting option, it could then time for digital branding and domain registration.  Stay tuned for our digital branding and domain guide.

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