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Part 4: Where Should Your Website Reside?

Everything has a home, a place in which it exists, and your website is no different.

A website’s home is not its content (words and images), nor is it a website’s address, which is called its domain name (or URL).

A website’s home, called its WEB HOST, is the location where the web content resides.

Just as choosing a home for your family is an important decision, so is choosing the right web host (home) for your website. In this fourth installment of our Six-Part Series on Websites, we’ll discuss things you should consider when selecting a web host for your business website.

Key Factors to Consider

The home analogy is quite helpful, so allow me to continue with it.  When shopping for a new home, three categories typically come into consideration:

  • Type
  • Reliability
  • Features
  • Cost

We’ll break our discussion down into these same three categories.

Types of Web Hosting

There are mainly four types of hosting available:

  1. Shared Web Hosting
  2. VPS Web Hosting
  3. Cloud Web Hosting
  4. Dedicated Web Hosting

Shared Web Hosting is the lowest cost and widely available solution. It is one physical server that houses multiple accounts and websites. The upside is affordability while the possible downside is reliability. Since there is nothing separating your site from others on the server, your website’s performance can be negatively affected by the web activity of other places on the server. That said, if you’re new to websites and you aren’t planning on setting up an advanced e-commerce site, shared hosting is a good option.

VPS Web Hosting is the next step in web hosting. Virtual Private Servers are like Shared Hosts in that multiple websites share one physical server; but in this case, each account is given its partition. This means another site on the server can’t infringe upon your site’s space as it can in the Shared Host environment. The advantage is distinct, and it comes at a higher price.

Cloud Web Hosting: Everything seems to be going to the cloud these days, and web hosting is no different. Cloud Hosting can be either Shared or VPS in nature. The difference is that instead of the host is one physical server somewhere, the host is a network of servers. There are advantages in security (your web assets are spread out over multiple servers, duplicity); and reliability (if one server in the network is down, or overtaxed, the load can be switched to another server in the system). Thus, cloud-based web hosts can handle higher traffic with better security.

Dedicated Web Hosting is for large scale, high demand websites that require a server to be 100% dedicated to it. It is the most expensive option, and it also tends to be the most difficult to navigate.

Web Host Reliability Considerations (Uptime)

Imagine touring a house. It’s gorgeous, all new paint and flooring, and in your colors! Room after room you become increasingly convinced that this is the home for you…until you enter the basement and find severe cracks and damage to the home’s foundation. Such a discovery would immediately strike that home from consideration, and deservingly so.

The same is true when choosing a web host. Reliability is key to the success of your website. If a customer can’t find you because your site is down, they will quickly move on to your competitor.

Web host reliability is measured in Uptime Ratings, which provide information on a web host’s stability, on its 24x7 operation. Uptime has been continuously improving and today’s norm is 99.9% or higher. Therefore, if you see anything below 99% consider it a red flag and look elsewhere.

So do your homework, and stick with the big name, high-quality web hosts, rather than opting for a super low-cost solution from Media Schmedia.

Four Web Hosting Features to Consider

Web Hosting providers offer more than just a place to park content. They provide solutions for:

  1. 24/7 Customer Service – Customer Service is an important consideration when choosing your web host provider. FAQs may be of some help, but if your website goes down, you want to know that you have 24-hour access to live chat or telephone support. So, research that ahead of time. You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Email Hosting – While most web hosts provide some email hosting so that you have professional email (yourname@yoursite.com), the specifics can vary. Some email hosting packages are limited in some way (how many unique email address you can have or how many emails you can send/receive per month). Other vendors may charge extra for email hosting. Consider your needs and choose accordingly.
  3. Site Builder Applications – Are you new to websites and looking to build one on your own? Then likely you’ll benefit from a web host that has an integrated site builder. These are typically easier-to-use solutions with graphical interfaces that allow you to build sites without coding knowledge.
  4. Hosting Upgrade Options – Before signing on, consider your ability to upgrade your service as your needs grow. While switching hosting companies is indeed possible if you outgrow your provider.  Migrating is a time-consuming endeavor which can be avoided if you take the time to consider your growth needs from the start.

Cost Considerations Of Your Web Host

There’s no getting around from it, we all have budgets to consider. As mentioned before, the cost of web host solutions can vary significantly by functionality and type (shared hosting is cheap, dedicated hosting is expensive). Take the time to evaluate your specific needs to balance cost restrictions with functional requirements.

Web hosting services also vary by payment options (month to month versus yearly contracts).  Some try to lock you into lengthy contracts. Consider whether this is right for your company and if you do opt for a long-term deal, take a look at the company’s guarantee policy. Can you get out of it if you’re not happy?

Finally, many web host providers offer steep discounts to new customers compared to the renewal price unless you plan to hop from host to host to benefit from new customer discounts (a time-intensive task), place greater weight on the ongoing renewal costs.

Resources to Aid in The Selection Process

Hopefully, you feel a bit more educated about what a web host is and things you should consider when deciding where your website should reside. Industry magazines like PC Magazine and c/net do an excellent job of reviewing services and are a good source for ratings and detailed information about specific providers.

Bottom line do your homework, and stick with a big name, high-quality web host, rather than opting for a super low-cost solution from Media Schmedia.

Topics Covered in Other Blog Posts in Our Six Part Series on Websites

In part 1 of this series we demonstrated the importance of doing a deep-dive consideration of exactly WHY your business needs a website, before simply throwing a site together.

Part 2 focused on the who of website construction, gearing your website for the needs of your audience.

Part 3 continued with “the what.” What must your website include, or not include, based on current technologies and preferences to be considered a vibrant, living website.

Part 4 looked at where your website should reside in a discussion of the various options available for web hosting.

Part 5 gave tips on determining When You Should Consider Developing or Updating a business website.

Part 6 concludes the series on websites answering the question, How Can You Get Your Website Started

Are you Ready for Your Mulligan? 

If you find it makes sense for your business to partner with a content marketing professional, our team at Mulligan Management Group will welcome the chance to sit down with you and discuss your needs. Visit our website www.mulliganmanagementgroup.com, email us at info@mulliganmanagement.com, or call De-de at 330-472-7673.

Mulligan Management Group  www.mulliganmanagementgroup.com  is a digital marketing agency located in Hudson, Ohio. Our team of professionals helps our clients build their internet presence and expand their authority online.

Our services range from website design and development to professional content creation, to social media strategies and implementation. We also offer to consult in all functional areas.

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