Web hosting is vital to each and every website in the world, but it is unfortunately often neglected or misunderstood. You could spend a great deal of time and money working with a web designer to create a beautiful, functional website, but if the site takes 30 seconds to load, or worse, it doesn’t load at all, then your efforts have been mostly wasted.
This page will help to give you a better understanding of the different web hosting options available to you, the importance of using them, and how hosting relates to design and website development. If you would like to find out more, then continue reading; otherwise, if you are ready to start comparing design companies and hosting options, just complete the form above to start the process now.
What is Website Hosting?
Aside from paying someone to design and build your website, you also need to purchase the domain name. The domain name is the technical term for a web address like www.approvedindex.co.uk - this address is also known as the URL and is an utterly vital feature of your website.
It is possible to host your own website, but doing so requires specialist equipment and it’s almost always cheaper and more convenient to use an external company’s resources. Website hosting costs can start from less than £5 a month for small sites.
A website’s data must be physically stored on a computer - a server - which is connected to the internet so that it can be accessed by other computers that are also connected to the internet. This is the service known as hosting, and the service provider is the web host. As web hosting determines both site speed and visitor capacity, it is essential that you make the right choice based on your site’s specifications.
Different Types of Web Hosting
There are various services that allow users to create and host websites for free, although often these options come with limited storage space, visitor capacity, functionality and features, making them mostly unsuitable for businesses looking to create an effective, professional site.
For those concerned with hosting for their own, self-contained website, which will be built by a website designer or agency, the kind of hosting you require depends on a number of factors, although the number of visitors your site receives is the most important.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting is an entry level option where your website is stored on a server which also hosts other websites. This is generally the cheapest option available but it does come with one particular danger: as you are sharing a server with a number of other sites, your website’s speed is directly affected by the traffic on others being hosted alongside you.
Dedicated Website Hosting
Dedicated hosting means that your site has a server all to itself. The advantage of a dedicated server is that it provides you with more storage capacity as well as a higher capacity for site traffic. The downside is that you are paying for the whole server, whether you use it or not.
Virtual Private Servers
Virtual Private Servers offer a compromise between shared and dedicated hosting. One physical server runs a number of virtual ones, which behave exactly as a real computer whilst sharing the resources of just one server. With this option, you pay for a set amount of the real server’s resources so that you can guarantee a certain level of performance. Since your server is virtual, it can then easily be moved to a more powerful or dedicated option in the future, if required.
For very large and busy website there are a number of hosting options involving multiple servers. These services can be customised to your site’s needs so that, if your website becomes too popular for a standard hosting option, you can work with your web designers and hosting provider to find the best solution.
The Best Hosting For Your Website
Now that you have an understanding of what website hosting is and how it works, you need to know how website design affects hosting, and vice versa.
Every time a person visits your website, your server sends data to the visitor. You will probably pay your host for a certain quality of connection, and there may be a limit on the amount of data your site can transfer for a given period. Because of these restrictions it makes sense to minimise the size of your web pages as much as possible to reduce the amount of data being sent, and to reduce page loading times.
Good website designers will consider these factors as a matter of course and will take steps to maintain certain levels of quality; steps like condensing images and using css web design are considered a part of best practice for those looking to create exciting dynamic websites that do not cripple servers.
Your website may include special features to uphold certain design element - for example, a message board of forum site. Since interactive, dynamic websites like this work by performing processing on the server hosting website, you will require a host which supports dynamic content. Your website designer will be able to advise and make recommendations at this stage and can, if necessary, go on to arrange the appropriate hosting.
Web Domains and Hosting
Website prices related to hosting usually include: domain - .co.uk, hosting and email addresses for the first year, with annual renewals required to maintain the service. Renewals for UK domains are around £15, whilst hosting is around £40 and email accounts are £15. You also have the option to purchase .com, .net or .org domains, which are an extra £10 and will also need annual renewal.
Added extra images can cost £7 each, extra web pages are £40 each, a flash animated image gallery is £80, contact form enquiries are £55, a ‘link swap’ page with up to 20 links is £55, an extra email account is £15 per year, an integrated availability calendar is £15 and a testimonial page that features 6 customers is £55.
Get Website Hosting Quotes
Web hosting is as vital to your online operations as web design and development; to ensure that you are getting the best service, you should consider it as a part of your process. Many of Approved Index’s web design partners will include web hosting as part of their service, but it is always worth asking for details if you require clarification or extra information.
If you would like to know more about website design or hosting, then fill in the form above to get quotes from top UK companies. We only work with vetted agencies and there is no obligation to purchase after using our free quote comparison service.
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