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Web Hosting: It’s Not as Daunting as you Might Have Imagined

15 Oct 2020 Developer News
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If you are planning on putting together a website for your company or even a hobby site for the first time, then things might seem a little daunting at first. You will be swamped with loads of tech-talk that you might not fully understand.  Phrases such as cloud hosting, name servers, dedicated servers, and SSL encryption may sound like a totally different language to you. The good news is that things are not actually that complicated once you get started and have an understanding of the basic concepts of domain names, hosting and websites in general. In this article, we will introduce you to the concept of web hosting, and what is involved in getting your website up and online.

Your Domain Name

A domain name is basically an address that people will enter into their browsers to navigate to your website. Domain names are available in a wide choice of extensions. There are top-level extensions such as .com, .net and .org, and also country level-extensions such as .co.uk, .com.au and .de. If the target audience for your website is a local audience then it would be better to go for a country level extension, while if your website is for everyone, then go with a top-level domain. Google and other search engines have stated that there are no preferences of one domain extension over another, so pick whichever type you feel more comfortable with. Once you’ve registered your domain, you simply need to point it to the server that will host your website.  This is done by updating the nameservers, which is basically the address of the server. There are usually two different nameservers such as ns1. Domainname.com and ns2.domainname.com. Don’t worry about these though, as they will be provided to you by your web host.

Your Hosting Account

Once you have your domain name taken care of, you’ll need to have a web hosting account to which you’ll point the domain name. Choosing which company will host your website is a decision that you don’t want to take lightly.

There are thousands of web hosts located all over the world offering a range of different hosting services from shared hosting, which is the most popular, through to dedicated servers, which are what you’d need if you were running a huge E-commerce website, or one with high levels of traffic. If you want to compare different hosts then its recommended that you head over to the information at Fortune Lords website, which is packed full of information and reviews of web hosts from all over the world.

Hosting is basically like having a folder on a server, which will contain all of the files for your website. These files will include HTML files, JavaScript, CSS files, images and other forms of media. What makes having them hosted on a server different to them residing on your computer is the access to them. On a web server, everyone will have access to the files if they know your URL (the domain name of your website). In order for people to be able to access your website, servers will need to be online all the time. One thing that you might have noticed when looking at different web hosts is that they often mention their “uptime”. This is basically the amount of time that the servers are up and running and available online. You will want to use a host who has at least an uptime of 99%.

Most hosts will adhere to this percentage, but as with everything in life, things can suddenly take a turn for the worst. Servers may experience issues. Some problems may be fixed in a matter of minutes, without you even realizing that there had been a problem. Other times, the servers could be down for hours or days, and that’s when the problem gets serious.

What type of hosting do you Need?

This is a very common question, and the answer really depends on your website. The first thing you need to consider is the size of the files that make up your website. Most hosting packages offer a fixed amount of disc space and data transfer. You will want to make sure that the package you choose has enough space for all of your files. If you have a fairly small site, then a package on some shared hosting will probably be your best choice. This type of hosting is very easy to use, and will usually come with the cPanel management system, which is extremely easy to use. You can get your domain name added to the hosting account in no time, and also quickly set up a new email address if you need.

If you have not yet built your website, then there are usually a choice of web hosts that offer web builders as part of the hosting service. These will be more than sufficient for you to create a website of your own. However, they might not be the most sophisticated type of website, but for someone just starting out, they should be fine. An alternative would be to develop your website on the WordPress platform. This is a content management system (CMS) that is used by millions of users all around the world and is extremely popular. Most web hosts offer the ability to host and develop WordPress websites on their servers. In the event that you already have a website hosted with a different web host, then most of them usually offer you a free site migration from your old server to the new one you are signing up for. This is extremely handy and takes away a lot of stress that people often have when it comes to backing up and moving a website.

It’s not as difficult as you might have thought

Hosting your website is a pretty straight forward process, and once you start understanding what is involved in the process, then it becomes a lot easier. The technical features will start to make a little more sense and you’ll have a clearer idea of what features mean and do what.  The great thing about web hosting is that the company you choose to work with will be more than able to help with any technical questions that you might have.

Most hosting companies offer 24/7 client support, so whatever web host you choose, regardless of where in the world they are located, you should always be able to get the help and support that you might need.

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