Website hosting basics

hostI get a lot of questions about website hosting…why do you need it, what is it, who should do it…here are answers to the most common questions.

Why do you need website hosting?

The answer to that is simple – without hosting, no one can visit your website.

What is website hosting?

Hosting is basically rented server space. You are buying space and bandwidth on a server that’s connected directly to the Internet. The space is used to store your website files – code and images – and the bandwidth is the amount of data that’s transferred each time visitors come to your site.

The more visitors you have, the more bandwidth you will use. If you have streaming media like audio or video stored on your site, you’ll use up more storage space AND more bandwidth.

Who should host my site?

You have many options for hosting. Generally, what’s most important is uptime, so that your website never goes down, and support in the (hopefully) rare instance that you do run into problems.

The recommended option is hosting on a server in a secure data center. Data centers have multiple connections to the internet, multiple power sources, 24×7 monitoring and onsite staff, and the ability to correct any issue quickly. With a good hosting vendor, your website will experience almost no downtime.

You can host your website on your own server, but unless you have a data center in your office, you will have a tough time maintaining the same level of website uptime. It also introduces potential security issues to your network.

What you should avoid, at all costs, is hosting that’s done by a small IT shop in their back office or someone’s basement. No matter how good you think they are, they are unlikely to provide the same level of reliability.

Don’t dismiss your local tech without asking a few questions…they may be set up with hosting in a data center, in which case this can be the best of all worlds. They have a trusted relationship and will manage the vendor relationship for you. It simplifies your life because you only have one call to make – to the company you already know – and they will take care of any issues for you.

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