If you’re ready to bring your business online or thinking about starting your first blog, you’ll need a server. A dedicated server stores everything you upload to your website, so it can be viewed by anyone who follows your links. Fortunately, there are plenty of companies out there that let website owners use their servers for a fee, which saves you from having to buy your own server. The only thing you’ll have to decide is which company is offering the best web hosting package for your money.
What Kind of Server Hosts are Available?
A shared server is the most cost-effective type of server because it’s shared between multiple customers. This means there are dozens, possibly hundreds, of websites using the same server. Although this is the cheapest type of hosting service, that benefit is outweighed by the disadvantage of having to share server space. This can affect load times and uptimes.
When you use VPS hosting, you’re still sharing a physical server, but each server is divided into several different virtual servers. You’ll be assigned your own virtual server, so you won’t be sharing that space with anyone else. A virtual private server provides you with more secure storage space, but you’ll still be relying on one physical server that’s hosting multiple websites.
When you lease a dedicated server, you’ll be the only customer with access to that server. The only data stored on that server will be that which you upload to it. A dedicated server provides you with the privacy and efficiency of having your own physical server, but it still must be maintained. A mechanical failure, or damage to the unit, can compromise your data.
You can also have your own server through a cloud hosting service. Cloud servers are entirely virtual and must be accessed via the internet, which means you can access your server from any location in the world. Many businesses prefer cloud hosting technology because it eliminates the need for a physical server. All of your data is stored digitally, so it can be accessed anytime and two-prong authentication protocols keep your data safer from unauthorized access.
How to Shop for a Server Host
As you shop around, you’ll find that speeds vary between different hosting services, so you’ll have to compare speeds along with costs. Research into online activity has found that internet users aren’t likely to stick around to wait for pages to load.
“79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online,” reports Liquid Web.
Your website won’t be accessible to the public 100% of the time and even a 99% uptime leaves over seven hours a month of downtime. Fortunately, better-hosting services will notify you when your site will be down, so you can at least plan your online marketing around those outages.
Security is another important feature to look at, especially if you intend to sell your products directly via your website. Most of the more reliable web hosting services will provide SSL certificates without a charge. If your hosting service does not provide SSL certificates, you’ll have to pay extra to obtain one for your site.
As with any product, the quality of the hosting service is only as good as their customer service team. You should check to see what days and hours they will be available. It can also be helpful to look up customer reviews for the company to see how satisfied their other customers have been with the service.
Ultimately, the best way to choose the hosting service that’s best for your website is to conduct a line by line comparison. Every company should publish their numbers, so you can make an informed decision. Even after you sign on with a web hosting service, be sure to use independent sites that measure your site’s load times, uptimes, and security to ensure you are getting the value they promised.