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Everything You Wanted to Know About Web Hosting

Choosing the right web hosting plan for your webpage is critical. While there are thousands of web hosting providers out there, not all of them have your website’s best interests in mind. To put your mind at ease we have outlined what is important to understand about hosting. 

Domain Names vs. Web Hosting

While both names are thrown around the internet synonymously, it is important to understand that these are two different things and you will need both in order for your webpage to be found. Let’s take a moment to understand what each is and how they are related.

What is a domain name?

Your domain name is the address of your website that people type into the URL bar to visit your webpage.    Your domain name simply provides an easy way to find websites. Otherwise, we would have to remember a bunch of IP addresses (as series of numbers to identify a location on the internet). Like phone numbers, they are hard to remember.

What is Web Hosting?

Webpages are built with text and images that are contained in files. There are also elements such as backgrounds, styling, and video that all make up some of the best sites on the internet today. All these files must be stored somewhere. 

That is where web hosting comes in. Your web host provides the server that all the files for your website are stored on.

How do domains and web hosting work together?

Though domain names and web hosting are two different services, they work together to ensure your customers can find your website. 

The domain name system works much like a giant address book. The domain name is listed with an IP address listed behind it where the files of your website are stored. Without a host, your website cannot exist. Without a domain name, your website cannot be found.

Should I get my domain name and hosting from the same company?

You do not have to purchase your domain from the same company that you decide to host your website with, however, if you purchase them separately there is some additional setup that needs to be done. 

At Cloud Spark, we not only provide hosting but also can help you purchase your domain name

Common features that should be supported

Most hosting companies provide a base set of features and include more based on the hosting plan you choose. At Cloud Spark, we provide a core set of features to all of our hosting clients that are critical to your webpage running with minimal downtime

FTP access

FTP is the technology that allows you to upload files for your website from your computer to your webserver. 

If you built your website using HTML files you can transfer these files from your computer to the server through the FTP tools included. Once the files are loaded your website can be found on the internet.

WordPress Hosting

WordPress websites are quickly becoming the premier website creation standard on the internet. They have powerful tools for website management including blogging. These tools make it simple and convenient to update and manage your content.

With over 30% of the webpages on the internet using WordPress website builders, it is critical for your hosting provider to have support for it. Some hosting providers like us also offer optimized WordPress installs for keeping your WordPress site up to date and running at its best.

SSL Certificate

With security being of the utmost importance for your visitors, having an SSL certificate installed will put your visitor’s minds to ease. 

SSL is a technology for creating a secure connection between your website and your visitor’s computer. It is a must-have for any website. Your hosting provider will typically provide this as an additional offering within their services.

Solid State Drives (SSDs)

Solid State drives are the latest in storage technology. They provide fast transfer rates and high reliability. By running SSDs your hosting company can decrease page load time and increase uptime. 

Web Hosting Terminology

As you shop for web hosting solutions you will see a lot of terms that may sound like a foreign language. We are here to help you make sense of that

Term Definition
Disk Space The amount of storage space available for storing your website files. Small sites can require as little as 1GB of storage, though most sites exceed that
Bandwidth The amount of data that can be transferred to users from your site. The more visitors the higher the bandwidth you will need
Control Panel The admin panel where you can adjust your settings or upload your files through FTP. At Cloud Spark, we use Plesk Panel, though others are available.
Linux or Windows Servers The operating system used by your server. We have primarily Linux servers, however, if you have a specific need with windows technology like ASP.NET framework let our team know
Name Servers This is the service that translates your domain into the IP address so your page can be located
Add-on Domain An additional website that can be added to your hosting package. Let our team know if you need additional domains
Subdomain A subsection of your domain such as a specific blog page URL (blog.yourdomain.com).
Uptime The total time your website stays up during a period. Most hosting providers claim 99% uptime or better. 

Types of hosting service

With many types of hosting services out there, it can be difficult to understand the differences between them. We will focus on a few of the common types of website hosting services available. 

Shared Web Hosting

Your website is hosted on the same server as other sites. This is by far the most budget-friendly solution as the cost to operate the server is split between multiple sites. The major drawback to this is that you do not have dedicated hardware and therefore little flexibility in the software and updates on the server

Virtual Private Server (VPS Hosting)

A virtual private server (VPS) divides the resources of the server into virtual servers with specific resource allocation. One server may operate with multiple virtual servers

This can be a lower-cost alternative to a dedicated managed server that still provides you the root level access to features and updates you would not get in shared web hosting.

Managed Hosting Service

Similar to dedicated hosting, the user gets a dedicated server, but with managed hosting, they will not full control over it. The website owner will be able to manage their data on the server, however, they will not have root access to make updates to the configuration. 

Managed hosting is a great solution for those that need a dedicated server but lack the knowledge to manage it themselves. 

Other considerations for your web hosting

While there is a ton of technology and terminology to root through to find the right hosting service for your website, there are a few other things you should consider.

Uptime

With all of the improvements in technology uptime for web hosting has drastically improved over the last 30 years. Your hosting provider should be able to guarantee 99% or better uptime with your page. Keep in mind, scheduled maintenance and disasters may impact it. 

Our dedicated small business support teams are ready to ensure a 99.9% uptime for your page

Cost

All web hosting services are not created equal. Even though some competitors may be cheaper they may not be as reliable or have servers that are as fast. This can drastically impact your SEO as Google and Bing both look at Uptime and page load speed to build your ranking. Find a service that balances cost and speed to fit your needs.

Storage space

Over time as you add content to your website it will grow and require more storage space. Plan for the future by ensuring your hosting plan will cover your storage needs for the next couple of years. Services that offer less than 10GB may limit your capabilities.

HTTPS is the standard

Installing an SSL certificate on your site is a must-have now. This will make sure your site is secure and lessen the risk for hackers to install malware on your page or breach a website visitors’ computer. Once Installed Google will label your site secure by displaying HTTPS at the start of the webpage. Ask your hosting provider about any additional cost.

We are ready to be your web hosting provider!

At Cloud Spark, our team is ready to discover the best solution to host your domain. Contact one of our customer service experts today to set up your hosting account.