Find & Compare the Best Web Hosting Services
Web hosting is the act of putting a website online so that other people on the internet can see it. This is separate from actually building the website, which involves writing code, making images and setting up its structure.
More specifically, web hosting refers to services that offer to host your sites for you in exchange for a fee. They do this by setting aside space on their servers for your site and handling the traffic it receives.
Every website online is hosted in one way or another, and if you want your website to be accessible, you’ll need to get it hosted. Using one of these hosting services is almost always the easiest way to do so.
Check out our review of the best web hosting services
It is indeed possible to host a website by yourself. You can actually do it on any computer you want, as long as it’s connected to the internet.
However, there’s several very good reasons why you should delegate this to a professional web hosting service instead.
For one thing, your technology setup likely isn’t made to host websites. If your computer ever turns off or crashes, your website won’t be accessible.
Similarly, you won’t have fast enough internet speeds to serve all the people trying to access your site at once. This will lead to delays, outages and frustration.
Beyond that, there’s also numerous security risks that come with hosting your own site.
Besides the fact that it’s a lot easier to accidentally break things when they’re on your own machine, it means that if hackers manage to compromise your website, they’ll also have direct access to the rest of your computer.
This would make it easy for sensitive information, such as user data and passwords, to be stolen.
To put it simply, web hosters are experts at what they do and have the resources to do it effectively.
Even the smallest web hosting service will have massive servers, many times bigger and quicker than your personal computer, and they’ll have the bandwidth to serve tens of thousands of people at once.
Beyond that, when you use a web hosting service, you’re offloading the responsibility to keep the site available and secure to them.
They can use advanced security techniques to make sure your site’s data never gets lost or stolen, and that it only goes down very rarely, if ever.
Though it isn’t usually something you notice while just browsing the web, there’s actually several different ways to get your site online. Web hosting services often specialise in one kind or another, and it’s important to know if what they offer is right for you.
This is the most basic kind of web hosting, and as a result, it’s also the cheapest. It’s called ‘shared’ web hosting because you share one of the service’s servers with other clients, meaning that your website will be fighting for resources with other people’s pages.
This option is similar to shared hosting, because your site is still living on the same server as other webpages. The big difference, however, is that each site gets a clearly-outlined chunk of the server to live in, meaning that they won’t step on each others’ toes or steal their resources.
Cloud hosting services leverage the power of the cloud – which is really just distributed computing – to offer higher reliability for your website.
Rather than getting just one server, your site instead lives on a host of small servers which can step in to support each other if traffic gets particularly busy, or if one of them goes down.
Cloudways offers one of the best cloud hosting services, check out their latest hosting deals.
As the name suggests, some services will let you rent out a dedicated server, which is yours to do with as you like.
This is in many ways the most powerful of all the options, because you have nearly complete control in how the website is set up, configured and served to users.
Liquid Web offer great dedicated hosting services, check out their latest hosting deals.
Now that you know what the main kinds of web hosting are, you should consider which is best for your business. Each has its own pros and cons for each kind of business, so let’s break them down.
The big advantage of shared hosting is that it’s cheap – you can often get a site online for pennies at a time. The downside to this, however, is that it’s fighting for resources with other pages and won’t scale well to large amounts of traffic.
That means shared hosting is best for small or temporary sites that you don’t expect to get lots of attention. Some examples include sites for local businesses, or personal blogs.
VPS hosting is usually slightly more expensive than shared options, but it makes up for this by being much more capable at handling larger levels of network traffic. This makes it a good choice if you’re trying to upscale your company, or simply found yourself going viral and need a quick upgrade.
The biggest downside, however, is that you’ll usually require a bit more technical skill to get everything set up correctly. At this level and onwards, it’s usually worth looking into hiring a server administrator to take care of upkeep for you.
Cloud hosting has the greatest reliability of any option, due to its inherent redundancy. If you’re running a site that offers crucial information or services, you should likely go with a cloud-hosted option, as it vastly reduces the chances that it’ll ever be unavailable.
Finally, dedicated hosting is great for sites that don’t fit the mold and need heavy customisation. Since you have complete control over