What is web hosting? (New Zealand)

Too many options too many types. This article will provide details to help you make decision.
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Website is created, now what? You need a place on the internet.

A place 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. Web hosting companies are cheaper and convenient.

Table of Content

Paid vs Free Web Hosting

Should one pay for web hosting? The short answer is both yes and no.

No, because there are many web hosting companies that provide 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.

Yes, if you want a reliable service then reliability costs money. Investing couple of hundred dollars a year can have some good ROI.

Paying a web hosting company means, paying for the reliability, the experience, and the support. If you pay you get peace of mind and don’t have to do the dirty work to keep your server alive. Which means your shop will remain open 24/7/365 with no holidays or downtime.

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.

How to Find the One?

Choosing a web hosting service is daunting when you are new. There are hundreds to choose from. The web hosting is a major industry and its speculated that it will reach NZD $233+ billions by 2022.

A very simple formula is applied when choosing your web host. Budget + Requirement – BS

Budget

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 day.

Requirements

Understand what functionalities are required to run the website. If you don’t know what the website will require, ask a friend or us (we are friends right?).

What are you (or the business) trying to achieve? or what is the problem that requires a resolution?

Is it that you cannot attend to 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?

BS

Cut the BS. You heard someone say something? Or your son’s friend knows about “IT Stuff” and she suggested? You don’t do customer service but still want a chat widget on the website? You must minus the BS otherwise you will waste resources.

Remember

For this formula to work, you must have flexible Budget and Requirements. If you see your business requires a website that must cater for 1000+ per day. Then you must raise your budget.

Your cannot raise the budget? Drop some of the functionalities and them the old fashioned way.

Choosing a web host is very similar to finding a partner. You will have amazing journey when both parties are happy with the relationship. Migrating from a web host is as hard as a break up.

Types of Web Hosting

There are many types of web hosting. They all serve a purpose and there is no good or bad. In this section you will be introduced to them and how they work.

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. Probably, when a bunch asked companies to lower their prices because they can’t spend $500 per year. The companies came up with this idea. Lets put all of them 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 is not true it is just what I like to think.

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. Some companies provide excellent service for as low as $3.50 NZD per month with superb customer service and reliability. There are shared hosting plans that cost a bit more and the service is excellent.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

This is very interesting service. There is one big server and that server is dived into smaller virtual servers. VPS are not actual physical machine but rather virtual. However, they act as a server with everything you will need, independent from others.

VPS are dedicated blocks of a big server. A server administrator can configure it exactly how she needs. Gives the freedom one needs but does require technical skills.

The resources are not shared therefore performance is much better than shared hosting. However, you should have enough skills to manage one.

There are platforms that take care of the technical aspects and allow you host your website on a VPS. They have turned the manual and technical tasks into simple buttons.

WordPress Managed Hosting

WordPress makes up over 36% of websites on the world wide web. There are hosting services designed only for WordPress.

The purpose to have WP managed hosting is further improve the speed, security and services. Almost every web host provides one-click WordPress installation. However, managed hosting aim to optimise the software and add everything one would need while building a WP website.

It is a premium service so a higher cost is involved. At the time of updating this article, one website can be hosted for over $50 NZD per month. The number of resources are limited meaning big website bigger cost.

Cloud Hosting

The new kid on the block and kicking some butts.

The name sounds so techy and awesome – cloud hosting. It is the next generation technology and will soon (not yet though) become very affordable.

Instead of one server your website is served from tens of them. This improves performance, reliability and are scale able. With VPS, for instance, if it breaks your website will not be accessible.

Cloud hosting is a bunch of computers working together. If one fails the other kicks in. You become a worldwide sensation overnight? A click will accommodate all your website visitors.

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.

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers are great for users who would like to manage everything other than the physical equipment.

As the name says it all, you rent a fully dedicated server that belongs to you (as long as you are paying for it). Full 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).

Server Locations

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. 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.

Conclusion

Web hosting is must and I will not recommend a free service. A good service will 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. To make the right choice use the formula and keep everything flexible and No BS.

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