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Website Hosting 101 – Choose your provider Wisely

The right hosting really does matter for any business owner who wants to be online and easily discoverable

When first setting up a website, most people simply carry out a web search and choose one of the top options. However, setting up a website for your business should involve a little more consideration. You need the right domain to suit your business and crucially you need quality, reliable web hosting.

Without hosting, you have no online presence. Web hosting is the service which allows your website to be posted on the internet. If it isn’t on the internet, it’s entirely useless. Web hosting service providers offer the technology and services to keep your site online and viewable on the Internet while ensuring your website loads quickly and is secure.

Website hosting providers store your website on their servers and ensure it is accessible 24/7, if they’re a quality provider. The right hosting really does matter for any business owner who wants to be online and easily discoverable.

Why does Web Hosting Matter?

Without a reliable hosting provider, your website simply won’t perform as it should. Good hosting matters because:

1. You need your website to be available 24/7

Website hosting costs money and for this fee you should expect 24/7 access to your website for all visitors. The payment you make essentially should ensure your website is online and it is important you check to see your hosting provider has the resources to keep your site online. You need a provider who guarantees uptime and acts quickly should their servers go down.

2. You need your website to load quickly

Page loading times are absolutely crucial to the success of a website. With a slow, lagging hosting provider you can be sure your visitors will click off quickly. Google’s Site Speed benchmarks show exactly what the search engines expect of a quality website and with poor loading times, you’ll put off both your visitors and the search engines.

mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks

3. Support is available when you need it

The majority of good hosting providers have 24/7 customer services. They appreciate the need for any issues with your service to be dealt with quickly and easily. There should also be a wide choice of support methods so you can get in contact with who you need, when you need them.

4. You benefit from secure data recovery

A well-established host will ensure your files and website as a whole is safely stored and won’t just disappear. There have been sad incidences where smaller hosting companies have closed, taking all their clients’ websites with them, so it is worth looking for a company who ensure the protection and safe storage of your website and its data in all circumstances.

5. Your SEO can be improved

If your website goes down it will adversely affect your position in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and therefore affect your SEO in general. The wrong hosting can be damaging to your SEO as you aren’t delivering the basics searchers expect and this will be picked up by the search engines and affect your ranking.

Choosing a Hosting Provider

There are some big names in the hosting world and bigger does give you the comfort of an established provider, but it isn’t right for everyone. When choosing a hosting provider you should look at your specific requirements. Spend time looking into the reviews and the quality of their customer service.

If you run a site in a particular niche or format, such as an eCommerce site or an online booking portal you may want to find a provider who specializes in this area. For large eCommerce sites, for example, the right service provider would need to handle a large number of product pages, SKUs, and products which need to update quickly as sales are made to avoid anything being sold when out of stock.

When you visit a service providers’ website it is worth looking into the added value they provide. Do they update their content regularly? Do they provide informational guides and help in addition to their customer service? All these additional extras add to your service and are worth looking into before making a final decision.

Your hosting provider and your Content Management System

There are a range of different content management systems you may choose to build your website on, including:

WordPress

Far and above the market leader, with nearly 60% of the market share, millions of websites run on WordPress due to the ease of use it offers and even big brands have opted for this provider from TechCrunch to BBC America. Good WordPress hosting will grow with your business and it is easy to scale up and down too, adding to its popularity.

Joomla

Despite having less than 7% market share Joomla is still one of the top content management systems online. It was used to build the UK National Crime Agency website, as well as the website for leading hospitality chain Holiday Inn Express. It is a bit more technical to get to grips with than WordPress, but there are specialist Joomla hosting providers who may have additional expertise in this particular CMS.

NCA website

Drupal

Drupal too is a little more technical than some of the other content management systems to choose from but for the technically minded this ensures even more ability to tinker and tweak behind the scenes. The technical nature of Drupal is evidenced by the fact it was used to build the Linux website and again, specialist hosting providers may be able to offer advanced level support if you choose to build your site on Drupal.

There are other content management systems which are popular, including Magento, Weebly, Wix and Squarespace. There is a broad mix of technical systems, where web development professionals are necessary as well as those which are more “off the shelf” and can be pieced together by amateurs. In all instances the right hosting will ensure your site is accessible to all.

Choose your hosting wisely

Your website hosting provider may seem like a small piece of your online puzzle, but it is a crucial one. Spending time and money building a fantastic website is entirely pointless if it is always going down or never online at all. Consider your requirements before you consider your options and look at the range of providers available rather than just picking the first one you see.

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