Web hosting is a concept that comes second nature to some and is completely alien to others. Like most things of a technical nature, web hosting takes time to understand when you are new to it. To give you a basic summary of what a web host is, it is a service that you need if you are going to set a website up. Whether you are setting up a website for a hobby or you own a business that requires a high quality ecommerce website, you must have a web host. The web host is the service that enables your website to actually be online.
So that is a very brief overview of what a host does and why you need it. Next comes the tricky part of deciding on which web host solution is right for you. To help you come to that decision, it will probably help to understand a bit about the different types of hosting plans that you can opt for:
Free web hosting – There are a number of companies that offer free hosting services. You might have heard of Wix or WordPress offering free packages as well as paid plans. They can provide you with the very basics to help you to quickly set up your website. It is important to know that free hosting comes with a list of cons, so think carefully before you decide that free hosting is the option you want to go with. Such cons include limited storage space and bandwidth, some hosts will choose to display ads on your website, you can’t use your own domain name and you don’t get any customer service.
If that isn’t enough to put you off, then free hosting can be a good solution if you need an online presence but cannot afford to pay a monthly hosting fee. The free hosting plans tend to come with a sitebuilder type tool that helps you to build the framework of your site and no technical/coding skills are required. You can simply choose a template layout and customise with your own logo, colours and content. You will never have to pay for the service unless you get to the point where you have run out of storage or you need more than the basic features that the sitebuilder tool allows.
Shared hosting – The next tier up is shared hosting, where you are paying a monthly fee but because you are sharing your server with a load of other websites, the costs are fairly low. You can get a shared hosting plan somewhere around £10-£15 per month. You have much more flexibility and control than you have with free hosting; you can use with WordPress plugins for example and you have loads more storage space and bandwidth. Also, you have the option to contact their customer service team if you are in need of some help. You may discover that it is well worth the fee when you hit a brick wall and need technical help.
Dedicated hosting – If you are setting up a business website and need your website performance and security to be high, then you may want to read into dedicated hosting. The server is there for just you to use, so you won’t have any other website impacting your website’s performance or passing over viruses. Of course, all of these good benefits come with a price and you will have to fork out a lot more to get a dedicated hosting plan. If your digital marketing budget stretches to cover dedicated hosting costs then it really is worthwhile.