Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Web Hosting for Beginners
If the first step in the creation of the site or your blog is ensuring the appropriate domain name, then the second is definitely the choice of ‘web hosting package’ that suits best to your needs, depending on the type and the content of the site you are interested to public.
In today’s post, we study together the available solutions and how they can serve you in order to acquire the appropriate package that will cover both financial and operational. In the end, you get a grounded opinion about what web hosting is, how it works and mainly we will recommend you the appropriate web hosting package for your personal blog.
So fill a cup of coffee … and we start!
Introduction to Web Hosting
Chapter 1: What is Web Hosting
In one sentence we can say that Web Hosting is the place where individuals and companies host their websites. Normally when we talk about web hosting we mean that a company allocates space on a computer (server) to store the files of our website as well as providing internet connectivity so that other computers can access the files on your website.
I think it’s understandable until here.
In fact, your website is a collection of various electronic files (HTML files, pictures, videos … etc) that are linked together.
To ‘run’ this site on the internet and these files to be shared, you need a super-computer (what we call server) with high speed connection to the Internet.
Web Hosting and Datacenter: Is it the same
Normally, when we talk about web hosting, this term refers to the server that hosts your website or the hosting company that rents this server’s space to you. When we talk about the data center (Datacenter), we mean the facility that is used in order to accommodate the servers (servers). A Data Center could be a room, a house, or a very large building equipped with backup power, data communication connections, control of climatic conditions (eg.air conditioning, temperature) and safety devices (eg. Fire extinguishers).
If you do a small research in the field of hosting, you will find various solutions, which are usually separated in the following main categories of hospitality:
- Web Hosting
- Reseller Hosting
- VPS / Cloud Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
The main differentiation between these packages concerns the way in which global resources of a server are distributed to the final user who is looking for these suitable packages according to his requirements.
When we refer to the resources we mean of CPU, RAM, the Disk Space and Traffic that accompanying a server.
Firstly, I’ll make a quick reference to the common facilities that every web hosting package provides and be aware if you are ready to choose your hosting package. If the following sentences seem too boring for you, go below (in explanation of the packets).
〰 Operating system
As in our computer, we use Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X, so the servers, (i.e. computers that contains our website), use special versions of these operating systems. It doesn’t matter to you because you won’t manage your site through the operating, but via the control panel (explanation below).
My advice? Never, never choose a Windows server. Never. Slower, heavier, less safe.
Nor Microsoft itself uses Windows on their servers, you will put it yourself?
Choose web hosting package with Linux (no matter what Linux). In my comparison below I will only include Linux packages.
As in our computer disk, we have a particular capacity which we can use to store pictures, Video, music, so, the hosting packages give this specific space in which we can use to upload corresponding files on our site. For example, a site with many images (i.e. all serious blogs) wants enough capacity in hosting package, so you can keep everything. If we do not have enough space, we will not be able to upload new material and we have to delete something or to upgrade our package.
In the comparison below, you will see only packets with enough space for a simple or medium site).
〰 Number of Domains and Subdomains
The domains is the name of your site. For example, this site has domain teomaragakis.com. The domains can split them into subdomains and on each one you can put a different site. For example, i could fix the ‘games.teomaragakis.com’ and there I could put an unrelated blog about video games. All If you have enough space, and you want to put 2 sites in a hosting package and you want to have different domain, you need to be sure that your package supports at least 2 domains. If you still want 2 sites in different subdomains on the same domain, it needs to support more subdomains. The subdomains are not the most appropriate solution for multiple sites, so calculate one domain per site. web hosting packages can “snap” on at least one domain.
〰 Database Number
The databases are used to store data, but not with the traditional way you know, such as disks. To make it easier, while the hard drive is a bucket in which we throw loose files or folders, databases are tables that are holding information. A database that we were using in the past was the agenda that we were writing names, phone numbers and addresses of friends and acquaintances. All website construction platforms are using a database in which are guarding all texts and the content of the site. All hosts gives at least one database with their web hosting. The good guys pay more. To make it even clearer, more or less, for each site we want a base.
The bandwidth you may have heard from the Internet connections, but in the case of web hosting, is something different.
This is a limit to the number of data that can be “downloaded” by your users in a month, and the access is interrupted to your site, until next month. When we open a page in our browser, essentially the “bring down”. Something like mobile Internet packages for mobile phones that give limits the use of Internet. An example (completely wrong numbers, but I use it to explain): Suppose that you have a site with only one page. Suppose that this page has a size of 1 Megabyte along with the images. And your bandwidth is 1 Gigabyte (1000 Megabytes). It can be opened by 1000 persons only once, 500 persons 2 times and so forth until it stops open to them and starts announcing that the monthly bandwidth has been completed. The limit is not per user but, for everyone. Which means that the eleventh visitor will take …black file instead site! Do not worry, now only a few hosts put bandwidth limits, to the most is unlimited.
In the comparison below I will mention the bandwidth also.
〰 Control Panel
The Control Panel is the management system of your hosting.
There are two largest: cPanel and Plesk. For the name of God and the Virgin Mary, do not select Plesk. It is very difficult on it’s use and confusing. The cPanel is simple and fast. In my comparison, i will only include hosting with cPanel.
Shared Server Hosting (hosting on shared servers)
In shared hosting, your website is placed on the same server with many other sites, ranging from tens to hundreds or thousands. Typically, all of the server’s resources are shared in common, such as the disc, the movement, the processing power and RAM. As the cost of acquisition of such a hosting package is extremely low, most websites with moderate traffic levels are hosted on this server type the shared hosting is also the first choice for beginners, as it requires minimal technical knowledge
You do not have root access, limited ability to manage high traffic levels and performance of your site, may be affected by other websites that hosted on the same server.
In summary, the shared web hosting packages are ideal for:
- Small size Websites
- New Sites/portfolio websites
- Very simple e-commerce websites
- Startup projects or Blogs
The Reseller Hosting is an ideal solution for users who wish to create their own online company and resell hosting services to their own customers. Like Web Hosting, Reseller packages are the shared hosting solution. The main difference compared with the Web Hosting packages is that the management of the various packages that will create the Reseller, is not operated by a single Control Panel, but through individual Panel management. If you are interested in reselling packages and looking for one that suits you, you need to include in the selection process the requirements that present the individual packets you are going to create, on the total traffic and the total disk space that will be needed.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
In hosting of this type essentially a dedicated server is divided into smaller “pieces”, each piece is a VPS server with its own resources (memory, of CPU, etc). A VPS server is not affected by what the “neighbors” so easily compared to ‘shared’. The VPS hosting is suitable for those who want more flexibility (e.g. can have root access), further requirements compared to a shared hosting (e.g. more stable and better speeds) and is a more economical solution than the dedicated server. Many web hosting companies offer different variations of VPS hosting, slightly changing the philosophy, but always remaining in a similar sense.
The performance of your site may still be affected in some way by the other “neighbors” websites hosted on the same server.
The cloud hosting offers unlimited ability to handle the high traffic of your website as it works like this: A group of servers (called cloud) are connected and cooperate with each other as a single server, hosting a number of websites which share their resources that are essentially multiple of one. The big advantage is that if one server goes out, then the others continue to operate and serve all customers, without downtime.
Many cloud servers do not offer root access (required to change the server settings and install any software) while having a higher acquisition cost.
Dedicated Server Hosting
In a dedicated server you can host the most demanding websites including everything mentioned in VPS Hosting, large corporate or personal sites with thousands of unique visits daily, sites that provide audio or video streaming, services that serving as media servers, sites that allow sharing or downloading large and numerous files, game servers, etc.
So, if you want to have absolute control over your hosting, a dedicated server is what you seek. To make your final choice you should respectively see what requirements your page presents. If you are not sure what exactly these requirements are, you can always talk to your programmer to guide you appropriately.
The great strength and performance corresponds a greater cost. The dedicated servers are much more expensive and recommended only to those who need maximum control and better performance of the server
One of the first Seo Tips which give the professionals is to host your website in data centers in the country that you want to rank your page. But according to Google, it is not particularly important and in many cases should not be connected at all. Since you use a domain name with the expansion of specific country as in Germany, then geo-targeting in Google’s results will come through it. You also have the opportunity through the Google Webmasters Tools> Search Traffic> International targeting can specify specific target country. But what I definitely suggest, can ensure the quick access to your website and this often succeeds by choosing to host close to the users that interest you.
Deciding which web hosting company you choose can be a difficult task. Below I quote the 10 most important factors that you should consider before going to buy a hosting package.
This is the aspect that most of us will initially look while choosing a hosting provider, however, it should not be the most decisive factor. When we see differences between the prices is useful to remember the old adage that says “that pay you get.” So choosing the cheapest is not always the best idea especially if it is the website of your business. Things like expert support, performance, and reliability are very likely not to be found in the hosting company which charges € 0.99 per month. For this reason, previously take a closer look at the features that are offered by each company and then compare prices.
- Area of Focus / Specialties
It is true that all the hosting companies cannot cover the needs of each and every website owner. Some offer excellent shared hosting plans but not the corresponding solutions for growing companies while others at the same time provide excellent business solutions are not suitable for someone with a small personal blog. Before you buy to make sure you know in what each company is specialized and choose the one that understands your particular needs as a customer. You can make a little research online for reviews and recommendations and learn the strengths and weaknesses of each company.
- Technical Specifications / Limitations
Keep in mind what exactly you want to do with your website. For example, if you intend to host a blog, an e-shop or a site with rich content and video then you should not choose the first cheap host package you will find in front of you. A cheap hospitality program will probably not have the RAM in, processing power and the analog disk space to accommodate those needs, and possibly you will spend more time trying to solve holiday issues or the slow loading problems than to focus on your own website. Read carefully what is inside the cheap web hosting package and what features are included in the cost. There is a charge for additional domains, support, backups, etc. .. Call them and ask questions. Tell them about your needs and ask for clarifications.
- Technical Support
Perhaps the most important factor to decide. When your site, for some unknown reason “drop”, you can call the company and have a personal, live communication with individual technical support department. And more than this may tell you where the problem is and correct it, or at least tell you what to do to restore the damage. Before choosing a particular company to see in which ways you can contact them when needed. The main ways of customer service are email, free communication via phone and live chat. Also very important is the company to have live support 24 hours a day. Doing a little research, you will find that some companies providing hosting bring to their customer service as a top priority while others let the technical service in the background.
- Features / Add-Ons
What makes a special hosting provider? What additional motivation offers in order to host your website on this? Whether for multiple data centers, energy saving policies or extras such as regular backups (backups) or free domains, is often the companies to offer something more than servers. If you see something that is important to you is a good reason to consider the use of this company.
- Data security and backups
If through the page of your business performed financial transactions such as payment of goods or services, you need support SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to ensure the secure transfer of information of bank cards between users and your website. Check if the hosting company has the ability to create daily backups of the server that in every case can avoid loss of data and content of your website. This is very important!
- Customer Reviews
Another important factor that needs to consider before you make your final decision. Make a search on Google for the particular company or visit its pages on social media and see comments and reviews from actual customers. It’s easy to reach technical support? What is the average response time to the customer requests? Which is the way to solve the problems that might arise?
If you wish to host one or more email accounts along with your website then previously you should consider the e-mail function. Most hosting companies allow you to create your own e-mail (something like firstname.lastname@example.org), but please check that, this capability is actually available from the company that you selected.
- Control Panel
Even if you are completely novice computer user there are some things like installing WordPress, creating email accounts, create FTP account, you should be able to do on your own without constantly calling the line of the company’s support. You should be able easily to update and modify your site without having to take an aspirin and lose several hours of your time. For this reason, select host providers using the cPanel or Plesk as a management interface of your web hosting.
Finally, an important factor that you should consider for your hosting provider (and the plan you choose) is whether or not they can serve your needs in the future. With other words, what we now consider to be appropriate hospitality, can satisfy your needs in two years, when you increase the volume of your sales and the number of visitors to your corporate website?
Every business that operates on the Internet it should aim to have its development. In case the hosting company cannot support this effort then this is an issue. It offers the solutions provider VPS or Dedicated Server; they are able to upgrade your account easily? The transfer from one server to another takes valuable time that can be avoided if you have previously taken care to choose the right hosting company. As it happens with all the above factors, make an investigation and hear some opinions before taking an informed decision.