(What is Website Hosting)?
While hosting is different from the domain name itself, website hosting provides the servers that support your website and make it available online.
When you pay for website hosting, you're paying for the server space used to store all of your website data, including the web pages and design files themselves. If you have a blog, informational videos, webinars, and other content available on your website, these are all stored and secured by your website host.
(Does a Website Need a Server)?
The short answer is yes: every website needs a server. But where you find that server is completely up to you.
Some large businesses may choose to be their own server. This means they host their website in-house on a computer functioning as the company's server, rather than outsourcing this task to an established hosting company. While there can be some benefits to self-hosting a website, such as for security reasons, setting up your own server is highly complex, and the vast majority of businesses prefer to outsource this work to a website host.
Many of the hosting sites you might consider will offer a number of benefits and services to entice you to choose their hosting over an alternative. Packaged buying for domain names, technical support, and improved SEO rank for your website may all be advertised benefits—though the real value of those perks may vary from one host to the next.
(What is a Hosting Site)?
If you've heard other business owners or IT professionals talk about a hosting site, they're likely referring to the website host that provides the server used to power their website.
While this isn't the most common term used for this service, it does get used from time to time. In many cases, they may be referring to the brand name of the host, which likely has its own site (such as GoDaddy, for example)—even though the company's website itself is not the host for yours.
Common Server and Hosting Issues
As with any service you might enlist to support your business, (web hosting problems) may become a drag on your business operations and your revenue opportunities.
While some issues can be resolved by simple (web hosting troubleshooting), others may be an inherent disadvantage of the particular web host you've chosen for your business. These common hosting issues may include:
- Unresponsive or (slow hosting). This is by far the most common issue with website hosts, and it's the most common reason businesses switch their hosting from one server to another. Even fractions of a second in page load times can cost your business website traffic and impact your business revenue. Similarly, website downtime is unacceptable at any time—and if it becomes a habit, it may be in your best business interest to move on.
- Unsecure hosting services. The level of security offered by a hosting service depends on the type of hosting model it is using. Hosting offered through a dedicated web server or virtual private server, for example, offer far greater security than reseller or shared hosting options. Depending on your industry's regulations and your company's own emphasis on data security, some hosting service options may be more appealing than others.
- Rigid hosting plans. Some hosting services may enforce strict limitations, such as bandwidth caps and backup services, that either force you to overpay for a bunch of services you don't really need, or they compromise your user experience.
- Poor customer support. Need help adjusting your service package? Concerned about a slowdown in your website's load times? When you need answers, you need them fast. Long waits for customer service and/or limited customer service availability can become a deal-breaker if that poor customer service is affecting your own customer experience.
Whether you need a host for your new business website or you need to switch hosts to escape a poor experience, it's in your interest to do your research and find the right hosting model and company to support your business success. If you need help navigating your options, connect with a cloud services consultant that can help you choose the right website host and other IT partners to maximize your company's digital presence.