Hosting’ is one of the words that everybody’s heard of but doesn’t really know what it means. It is often confused with the domain name. But if hosting is a place where the platform ‘lives’, a domain name — is its address. Basically, website hosting allows you to ‘place’ your site or application on the World Wide Web. Purchasing or signing up for such a service means renting server space to keep all website files and data. This is needed for your platform to function properly.
The most important task of a hosting provider is to ensure that your site is easily available and responsive. There are different types of such providers: with a shared server, with a dedicated server, and even CDN image hosting.
As you can see, choosing the right hosting company or provider is an important thing. There is an option of going with free hosting. However, as a rule, it is accompanied by the placement of third-party ads on your site and a significantly slower speed of its operation. Paid hosting comes with a much higher level of reliability, additional useful services, and support. There is no cheap but powerful hosting. Moreover, the most expensive option does not guarantee top-quality service either.
Therefore, it is important to understand which exact services you need and how much you are willing to pay for them. The rule of thumb here is determining your needs and building upon that.
What Should you Check Before Choosing a Hosting Provider?
After you’ve determined your needs and the main functions hosting has to cover — it’s time to find the right provider. Usually, a hosting provider is considered good if there is no difference between using the provider’s and your own resources. In other words, hosting itself should maintain your website’s smooth operation. When choosing a hosting provider, you have to pay attention to a few main characteristics.
- Amount of the space provided. The main characteristic of any hosting is the amount of disk or server space provided. The more expensive the plan is, the more content you can place on your site. In addition, top hosters provide a set of extra services for their customers: support for web scripts and PHP, built-in server control panels, anti-virus solutions, DDoS protection, and more. This is the first thing you should begin with when looking for a hosting provider.
- Technical support. An important aspect of a reliable hosting company is prompt and accessible technical support. The specialists must quickly resolve the arising problems and provide ongoing customer care. Keep in mind that a hosting company may be based in a different country; hence the customer service team may not know your local language. However, it is a standard practice for them to speak English even if it’s not their native language, so you should be fine going with English.
- Quantity restrictions. Hosting as a service may have some constraints. Besides the server space, you should also check 1) the size of monthly traffic, 2) the number of sites that can be hosted under one account, 3) the number of email boxes and the amount of disk space intended for mail, 4) the number of databases and the space size for databases, 5) the number of concurrent processes per user, and 6) the maximum execution time allocated to each user process.
- Quality limitations. There are also quality restrictions. The amount of free CPU resources and RAM affects the server’s performance. The load time depends on the channel bandwidth and the distance between the server and the target audience of your site. However, in this case, you can use a CDN network that makes use of numerous dispersed servers, so it doesn’t matter where your website visitors live.
Some hosting companies provide a free trial of their services for a certain period. After that, you can decide whether the chosen provider is suitable and whether it makes sense to pay for longer periods.
How Can CDN Help you Decide?
Most websites out there contain vast amounts of data. To process such amounts, online companies usually utilize CDN technology. This term stands for Content Delivery Network. It consists of a large number of servers located globally, which allows a website to transfer information to users instantly.
CDN makes it possible for the site to load quickly regardless of the country that the user comes from. It also helps to avoid quantity and quality restrictions, increase bandwidth, and process large amounts of data.
CDN enhances hosting functions. Since CDN is a vital tool for any website, make sure to choose the right hosting service. To achieve a successful symbiosis, a hosting provider has to be potent enough. It means it should be able to work with and support a content network, as well as allow for its integration.
Finding a good provider can be tricky. After all, there are too many things to consider. But if you know the basic requirements and features, it shouldn’t be too hard. The smartest way is to analyze your needs first, decide on your budget, and then choose the most suitable tool within that budget while also keeping in mind the main characteristics. Even if your site doesn’t contain a lot of data yet, there is almost a 100% chance that you’ll need to use a CDN sooner or later. So, better prepare for it now and choose a good hosting provider.