Website is created, now what?
You need a place on the internet.
A platform that will allow people to see the beauty you have just created. Web hosting companies host your website and give you what you need. They provide the space for your files (the disguise for your creation) for visitors and potential customers to see it. When visitors type in your website address in their browsers, on their mobile or computer, that’s when they see your files. Unfortunately, there is no easy work around to avoid web hosting companies and do it yourself. One can host their own websites but trust me it’s way cheaper to pay a company.
A very common question asked, do I have to pay for web hosting?
The short answer is both yes and no.
No, because there are many web hosting companies that provide free, I mean completely free but limited services. Some might push some ads on your website, some might spam your email inbox (which by the way you can always block) and some don’t. Some genuinely provide free limited services with no ads or email spam. I have not tried one recently because I would rather pay $100 per year than have limitations on my hosting, but if you like I can review one or two.
Yes, because if you want a reliable service then reliability costs money. If you reckon your business (this is only business owners) is not worth $100 per year (for web hosting purposes) then I reckon you should look into establishing a business that is worth. If you believe your business doesn’t require a website then you need work on your core beliefs (only the technology part).
Paying a web hosting company means, paying for the reliability, for the experience in the industry, and for the support. If you pay you get peace of mind and up time guarantees which means your shop will remain open 24/7/365 with no holidays. Not just up time, paid services focus on speed as well. In this digital world, as some studies suggest (I will find the reference soon), if you page takes more than 3 seconds to load you are more likely to lose customer. Speed is vital as it affects your search engine ranking as well.
So I will conclude this section with reliability, speed and support costs money. If you want to start a blog or test your website creation skills then go for the free web hosting.
Ok, How and what type of web hosting do I choose for my website?
Type of web hosting? Yes, the web hosting world is a major industry and its speculated that it will reach to NZD 233+ billions by 2022. That is a lot of money, just in case if you were wondering.
A very simple formula is applied when choosing the type of web hosting.
As my genius (I am related to Einstein) formula indicates it is very easy to choose the right type of web hosting. Here is how to use this formula effectively.
Start with your budget for web hosting. How much can you spare per year? I would recommend something over $250 NZD for standard website. What is a standard website? I am glad you asked. I define a standard website as a website with few static pages, some dynamic content and small pieces of software (we call them plugins in WordPress world). A standard website doesn’t include a eCommerce content like shops and have up to 5000 visitors per month.
You must know what your website will require to run properly and achieve the goals you set (if you are planning to build a website without a goal then please don’t waste your time and resources). If you don’t know what the website will require, ask a friend or me (we are friends right?) such as, if I am selling something do I need a eCommerce platform? Will I be chatting with clients through my website? Make a list of all the things you think your website must have.
What are you (or the business) trying to achieve? or what is the problem that requires a resolution? Is it that you cannot attend all your customers on your business premises and would like to allow them shop online? Is it your vision of a better world that politicians need to know? You must know your business requirement otherwise the formula won’t be as simple as it looks.
Cut the BS. You heard someone say something? Or your son’s friend knows about “IT Stuff” and she suggested? Or just because I am saying you shouldn’t do it. As the formula shows, you must minus the BS otherwise you will waste resources. Know you budget and requirements and choose the right hosting.
For this formula to work, you must have flexible UB + WR + BR. If you see your business requires a website that must cater for 1000+ per week then you must raise your budget or if its your payday and you decide to start a personal blog (that only your mum will follow), do not buy a dedicated server in this particular case free hosting will work fine.
Choosing a web hosting type is very similar to finding a partner, you will have amazing journey when both parties are happy with the relationship. And trust me, parting from a web host is as hard as a break up.
Here is a brief description of types of web hosting that are affordable for a standard website.
1. Shared Hosting
This is the most commonly used service around the world. Not for the reasons you think, it is because I am not the only tight-arse person in this world. As the name indicates it is shared. When a lot of people asked companies to lower their prices because they can’t spend $500 per year on their businesses. The companies came up with this idea, lets put all these people on one server, limit the sources, and distribute the costs we will still get the price (even more) and they will be happy as well. This idea turned out quiet well and billions of websites are now being hosted on shared hosting plans.
Have you been to a website where you have waited and waited and the page never loaded? Or loaded halfway with half pictures and text missing? Or even worse, took many seconds to load? Those websites are probably being hosted on very cheap shared hosting plans.
All shared hosting plans are NOT bad at all. In fact, I use shared hosting for most of my clients. Some companies provide excellent service for as low as $18 NZD per month with superb customer service and speed (I am a speed freak). There are shared hosting plans that cost a bit more and the service is excellent. I will shortly review some of them to help you choose the right shared hosting plan.
2. Cloud Hosting
The new kid on the block.
Cloud hosting is the new talk of the town in web hosting world. The name sounds so techy and awesome – cloud hosting. In my humble opinion, this is next generation technology and will soon (not yet though) become very affordable. So to cater for your needs there are many many computers that work together to help you achieve your goal. This is scalable, meaning you get access to more resources as your business grows so you will not need to hunt for another provider. More power as computers join hands in hands to help you and cloud hosting is more reliable and to almost no downtime due to the network of servers instead of one. It is not something I would look at if I have small to medium business needing a website only. A quick google search shows the average price is at around $350 NZD per month.
3. Dedicated Servers
Dedicated servers are great for users who would like to manage the server end of things as well. As the name says it all, you rent a fully dedicated server that belongs to you (as long as you are paying for it) and get access to everything and your website is the only website that is hosted on that server. You would need a dedicated server if you have heaps of traffic coming to your website and want full control and management of the servers. Remember, you will need to be very technical to be able to manage servers (or at least to an extent).
When you visit a website, from entering the address to clicking a button to perform a task, there’s a lot going on in the background. Every time you click a button, that click sends a request to the server asking it to perform a specific task. The server responds and you see it happen on you screen. Now, that request travels from your computer to the server and then comes back to your computer. So, literally, the farther the server the more time it will take to reach it and come back. It makes sense to choose a server closer to your visitors location.
If you are in New Zealand but your target market is Europe then choose a server in Europe to serve your customers faster. Therefore, there are web hosting companies that offer (different prices) different server locations. However, the Content Delivery Network (CDN) technology is and has dramatically decreased the need of having a closer server locations. I will write more about CDNs soon.
Web hosting is must and I will not recommend a free service if you are a small to medium business owner (in some cases even for personal blogs). A good server will only cost $250 NZD per year but the value it brings to your business is immeasurable. A web hosting company with steady, fast, secure, reliable and great support team is worth thousands of dollars (and trust me once you understand the value you will be thousands gladly). To make the right choice use my formula and keep everything flexible and No BS. I am sure you will find the right hosting type. I will soon write reviews for some of the popular ones and in the mean time, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me below in the comments.