What is web hosting?

Web hosting is how you, or your business, share your website on the internet for people to view and visit. A web hosting service or provider (a.k.a. a web host) allows you to do this.


How does web hosting work?

Websites are hosted on web servers. Servers are powerful computer that store and process data, and web servers are those which store the files that make up websites and process requests to view these files.

When your visitors search for your URL or domain, they’re connected to your web server. Then, your website (or the specific web page on your site that was searched for) appears in their browser.

Some web hosting services require you to obtain a domain name before choosing your hosting plan. Determine if you’ll purchase your domain via a domain registrar prior to picking your hosting service, or if you’ll purchase one from the hosting service you choose to work with (assuming they offer that option).

In addition to housing your website on the internet, web hosting services typically offer various levels of support, security, and the benefits of high performance and uptime. Uptime is how often your website is operational – 99.9% uptime means your website can be accessed 99.9% of the time.

The key is finding the right service for your website and business. Before we review some popular services available today, let’s talk about how you should go about choosing one.


How to Choose a Web Hosting Provider

  1. Choose the type of hosting you want for your website
  • Shared hosting: highly affordable because your website is hosted on the same server as multiple other websites. Only ideal is your site has consistently low levels of traffic since you’re sharing that service space with other businesses
  • VPS hosting: more expensive, but ideal if you have a bit more traffic coming to your website regularly.
  • Dedicated server hosting: one of the more expensive hosting options–it’s meant for websites that see large amounts of traffic over extended periods.
  • Managed hosting: common option depending on the web services you consider. Managed hosting means the service provider will manage your server, so you don’t have to.
  • Cloud hosting: newer option in the world of web hosting. Allows many separate servers to work together to behave like one large server. Works well for growing companies.


  1. Identify which type of website you’re creating

Decide on the type of website you want to create. By doing so, you’ll be able to better follow the steps in this process as well as narrow down your hosting service choices.

For example, the type of website you create will be a lot different if you’re publishing a blog versus selling a product or service.

When determining the type of website you want to create, ask yourself:

  • Why am I creating this website?
  • What type of business do I have?
  • Who is this website for?

The most common types of websites people create are:

  • Blog websites
  • Online stores
  • Online portfolios
  • Individual websites
  • Business websites


  1. Determine which features you want in a web hosting service.

Once you identify your website type, determine which features you need from your web hosting service.

For instance, if you’re the owner of an online-only store, you’ll have to make sure your hosting service includes ecommerce capabilities. And if you’re a mid-sized business that’s growing quickly, you’ll need to ensure your hosting service can scale with you.


  1. Think about the web hosting support you need

Like our personal computers, servers need to be maintained and updated with the latest software to keep performance optimal and contents safe. Consider how much work you want to invest in this upkeep.


  1. Take your website’s growth into consideration

Do you plan to scale your business significantly or do you plan to stay the same size long-term? Do you foresee a drastic change in your website traffic as you scale, or do you expect your follower base and number of visitors to remain steady over time?

The answers to these questions – as well as your business type and industry – will help you choose an appropriate hosting service for your planned and estimated growth.


  1. Set a budget for your web hosting service

How much does web hosting cost? The answer isn’t a simple one – it depends on the provider you choose, the type of hosting you need, and which plan you invest in. Therefore, we recommend you take a deep dive into the information on each service’s price pages.


  1. Pick a web hosting provider

Now that you have all the information you need to narrow down your web hosting service options, it’s time to choose the right one for you.