The global market for web hosting services is projected to increase by 16% by 2022. There’s never been a better time to learn how to host a website. Don’t feel embarrassed if you’re not exactly computer savvy.
Understanding how web hosting works is all a matter of perspective. You can think of it as a type of real estate management. You pay a company to house all your important items, maintain, and provide secure access to them.
This basic concept of renting storage and hosting services is only scratching the surface on how to host a website. To understand what exactly you’re getting, this guide will detail what web hosting services offer in Ireland.
By the end of this guide, you will know how to shop for the best hosting deals for your business’ needs.
When you’re researching web hosting services, you may come across some companies that advertise a physical data centre. The data centre referring to the dedicated computers that hold all your information. Location of these data centres is often the most important detail of the service.
If you have a customer base that is strictly domestic, then you’ll want your web host and data centre located in the same region. This keeps connectivity fast and reliable. If your company is based in Ireland, you’ll want to hire an Irish web host with data centres in the country, or risk higher latency and connectivity issues due to distance.
When you sign up for a web host, you have a number of technological options on the table. Each type of web hosting service has its pros and cons. You can purchase shared, virtual, dedicated, or cloud-based hosting.
Based on your company’s needs, you’ll need to decide which one has the proper amount of control, storage, bandwidth, speed, and uptime. Let’s take a look at each type of package offered, starting with the most popular.
As the name implies, this is web hosting that is shared by multiple clients on the same servers. There’s no dedicated data centre, so the computers that are handling requests are multi-tasking for numerous clients. How many clients that are sharing the same servers will vary based on the provider.
Of course, that means you’ll be risking slower and more limited service, due to the physical constraints. For example, if your website happens to receive a spike in traffic at the same time as the other clients on your shared server, it will result in slower page loads, or the inability to access your site altogether.
Why would someone sign up for shared web hosting if it is inherently limited? Well, it is by far the cheapest hosting solution, making it the only web hosting service that many entrepreneurs can afford. It’s also the easiest hosting to use, requiring no advanced computer or web development knowledge.
Also referred to as VPS hosting, a virtual private server is very similar to shared hosting. You’re still sharing the same physical servers as other clients. The difference here is that your website lives in a virtual space that allows for greater access to your files.
You also have an extra layer of security, since your files are more compartmentalized. VPS hosting solutions are highly recommended for small businesses that want more control and access to web development tools. VPS packages also come with access to faster CPUs, more RAM, and storage than shared.
The latest and greatest talk about how to host a website revolves around cloud technology. Basically, cloud hosting is a decentralised method of hosting websites to account for fluctuations in traffic. Your website is technically stored on a number of servers that work in tandem to deliver reliable uptime.
Cloud hosting is comparable to shared hosting, but with better performance. It also lacks root access in most cases and lacks advanced features. VPS and cloud hosting are often used interchangeably, but be careful and read the details, as you may be paying for a fancy shared hosting service.
This is the premier web hosting service. You get 100% access to your own physical server. You will not experience any performance impacts due to other client traffic. Because of this, dedicated servers are the most expensive form of web hosting.
It can be as much as 8-10x some of the cheapest hosting solutions. This price will vary on how much resources you will need and where the server will be located. To get your money’s worth, you will need to do some research on hosting companies in your area.
Read reviews on server uptime, customer support, and accessibility of features.
Purchasing a domain name and web hosting can be done at the same time in the same place, but they are different things. Domain name registration can be done without purchasing web hosting. In fact, many businesses do so to quickly secure their branding name before even solidifying their business ideas.
You can easily purchase web hosting at a later date and plug in your domain’s address data with the help of the web host’s customer support. In fact, many experts prefer that you do things this way, as you’ll spend more and likely get mediocre hosting service from all-in-one providers.
All domain registration is governed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, aka ICANN. This prevents you from getting ripped off and guarantees that you gain ownership over your chosen domain. When you register for a domain name, you’ll be providing personal contact information, business details, and country information.
If you’re looking for domains that contain Irish-specific identifiers, such as “.ie”, then you’ll need to prove your citizenship during the registration process. All of your standard .com, .net, and .org domains have much more lax requirements. If you cannot produce the required information during registration, the domain goes back to public listings.
These two records figure out which web facilitating server’s info is shown when a client visits the domain. It also determines how email is tended to according to the web host. Incorrect data will result in DNS errors and broken pages.
Each address name has an openly available record that incorporates the proprietor’s home data. For example, the registree’s name, contact number, street number, and also the domain expiry date. It’s known as a WhoIs record and it displays the registrant and contacts for the associated domain.
As required by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the owners must keep data accessible on WHOIS catalogues. These records are accessible at all times to any individual who completes a WhoIs query.
As such, when somebody needs to know who claims a site, all they to do is run a fast WHOIS check, type the URL and they have access to info to contact the owners for business inquiries, such as the sale of their domain name.
Because your contact info is tied to your WHOIS data, it’s natural to fear the ability of any stranger to gain access to it. Don’t worry, you can subscribe to a domain privacy service that will forward inquiries to a proxy server. This will keep all data hidden from the public.
Spammers, hackers, and thieves could get ahold of your contact info and harass you if you leave your WHOIS data accessible. Some business owners will try to skirt this by having a dedicated business line and address separate from their own. It’s actually cheaper to just get a forwarding service instead.
Another problem with just separating business from personal contacts is that you will have to sort through loads of fishing schemes. Fake domain renewal notices are commonplace and thieves will try to get owners to transfer their domains over to them. It can be easy to fall into this trap if you lose track of your domain expiration date and have a lot on your plate.
Once you have your domain name secured and your website plans are coming together, you need to pick the best plan for your needs. Will you be starting your website with an already established brand? Do you have a large digital marketing budget?
Questions like these will help you decide what you need from a hosting plan.
A lot of web hosting providers will advertise their uptime. This number is usually 99.99%, which sounds the same as 100% to the average person. The truth is, the differences between 99.99%, 99.999%, and 99.9999% can be drastic.
Take Amazon, for example. If their site is down for just one minute, they lose an astounding $66,240 per minute. You can try to do the math on one-hundredth of one percent for one year, in minutes. There are 525,600 minutes in one year, so that’s 5,256 minutes, or 356 Billion dollars, in lost profits.
Now, if you scale this number down to the average small business, it could mean the difference of losing a few hundred dollars in sales or a few thousand. That could be even more devastating during holiday seasons.
As your business grows and your website becomes more media-rich, you’re going to need more disk space. Web hosts try to be flexible with this number, offering various tiers of storage, so you’re not wasting money on massive storage numbers. Do some research on what the average small business website should allocate for storage space.
Similar to storage space, bandwidth will become more of an issue with more multimedia content access. Bandwidth is how wide the pipe is for transferring data to the customer. Remember, bandwidth isn’t a measurement of speed, but if a lot of people are on your website accessing large files, they will experience slower downloads, choppy streams, and loading bars.
Many providers are generous on their bandwidth in hosting packages, with unlimited bandwidth a common sight. Determining your bandwidth needs will involve averaging your traffic and the density of multimedia content on your website.
Outside of the technical numbers that are advertised on web hosting packages, you should also consider the intangibles. These are the services that separate companies from the pack. Some web service hosts offer everything you need to start a website and run it, needing little to no outside professional help.
A good web host can get your domain registered, a professional email service, SSL certificates, and provide website building tools to get your website running. This can be a great value for any startups looking to hit the ground running on a limited budget.
For those who are looking for more advanced services, pay attention to support for all programming languages. They should allow both PHP and MySQL database languages in addition to HTML, ASP, CSS, Ruby, and so forth.
Ultimately, you should never compromise on customer service with web hosting. They should offer 24/7 support through email, phone, and live chat. If you have a problem, you shouldn’t have to wait until the next working day to get it fixed.
Hopefully, this guide has cleared up a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about how to host a website. When it comes to developing your business’ website, the last thing you want is to be fighting with the tools that you’re trying to use.
Whether you have a professional web developer or you’re just trying to get your website running yourself, we can help you. Our hosting services adapt to your needs. We understand the importance of keeping everything in-house, which is why you should choose us if you own a business in Ireland.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can bring your website online with our fast and reliable hosting service.