When looking to build a website for yourself or for your business, you have many options. You can start learning programming and web design, or you can use a website builder or CMS to create a website. Whichever method you choose, there are important steps you have to go through. You will need a web hosting service, where you will upload your website. A domain name is also required, so your audience and potential customers can find your website easily.
Choosing a web hosting company is crucial for having a successful website. But let’s take a look to what web hosting and domain names are.
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What is Web Hosting?
Each website that you access through the internet has a physical address. This means, that the files, images, videos, databases are stored somewhere on a web server. These servers are located in data-centers (huge building). The web hosting company who owns or maintain the server will provide the personnel and the technology required to keep the server running properly all the time. In a data-center there are hundreds of servers that require constant maintenance and monitoring.
Online payments, domain information, as well highly sensitive personal information are also stored on web servers. Therefor web servers are kept in high security buildings, with power backup, protection to fire and natural disasters.
What is Domain Name?
A domain name is made of three parts: the name, the dot and the extension. When buying a domain name, you actually reserve a unique name that will be your property until you pay for it or sell it. The name of your domain will be the address of your website. When users access your domain through a web browser, they will be directed to your web server where the files of your website are located.
How to Start a Website?
It is good to know about all the technology behind web hosting, but at the end of the day you only want to upload a website. To get your website up and running, you will need a hosting plan. Different web hosting companies offer various hosting plans such as shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud, and so on.
When you are starting a website, the first step is to evaluate your needs. While each website is different but similar in some way, they might have different demands. Purchasing the cheapest web hosting service might not be the best option for all websites and webmasters.
For those who are looking to create a small website with WordPress or other tool, a cheap hosting plan will be enough. A cheap shared host will provide you with all the necessary features that are required to manage a small site.
Larger websites will likely require more server resources, bandwidth and custom features that are not available on shared plans. For these sites a VPS or dedicated server will be needed.
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How to Choose the Right Hosting Plan?
Whit so many options to choose from, it is very hard to pick the right hosting company. When choosing a web hosting service company, it is important to consider these factors:
- Cost & Features: always compare hosting plans with same features at different companies. You might get a better hosting option at lower price.
- Uptime & Performance: you can’t have information on uptime and server performance, because this requires previous testing and monitoring. However there are hosting review sites, just like ours, that already performed these tests and have records on uptime and website performance of different hosting providers.
- Ease of Use: if you are new to hosting, probably you don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to manually install WordPress or how to configure an email account using endless steps. Choose a hosting that is easy to use and have tutorials and guides on how to get started with their hosting account.
- Customer Support: you can test the customer support by contacting a hosting company before you purchase any service from them. Don’t waste your time with hosting firms that don’t have a phone number or support email listed on their website.
- Hosting Reviews: always read opinion, reviews and feedback about the hosting company you are going to sing up with. Do not rely only on one source; use multiple websites to create an opinion about a company.
What about Free Hosting?
Although free web hosting is great for learning and figuring out how servers, file upload and websites work, I recommend not using it for production websites. There are unreliable, have huge security problems and limitations and your account can be deleted at any time without any prior notice.