If you’re wondering why you should care about choosing hosting for your website or if you even need a website, listen up…
For starters, you need a website. Period, end of story!
While you may get by without a website right now, in the years to come it will be more and more difficult to do business without a website.
Now you may be thinking you don’t need to worry about it. After all, you “own” social media pages and don’t need your own website.
I can see why it may be tempting to think like that. However, I believe it’s always best to control your own “real estate.”
What I mean is this… When you own your own website, it belongs to you. It’s yours, and no one can take it away from you (unless you stop paying the bills for your website).
If you “own” some social media pages, they could be taken away from you at any time; and with it, your web presence would be gone as well.
While unlikely, a company may fold, be sold, algorithms may change, or any number of things could happen. All of it could potentially impact your presence on the web and your business.
Rule Number One…
Always maintain your own website(s) alongside your social media pages.
Ideally, you’ll move your social media followers from social media to your website, where you can capture their email addresses. When you capture email addresses, this is called “building a list.”
I’ll talk more about the importance of building your list in another article.
Rule Number Two…
Carefully choose your home on the web, since it has the potential to affect every aspect of your business. Of course, when I’m talking about your home on the web, I’m talking about your web hosting company.
Before getting into more detail, let’s first look at what web hosting is. If you’re familiar with the ins and outs of web hosting, feel free to skip ahead.
What Is Web Hosting?
Every webpage, blog, and website is nothing more than a collection of articles, images, and videos. But before anyone can access content and consume it, it has to be moved to the internet.
Whatever the content is, it first has to be uploaded to a domain (a website) residing at a particular address (the URL aka the universal resource locator). Every domain resides with a web host; this is called hosting.
For a monthly fee, the hosting company provides disk space on one of their servers. A server is the equipment housing your files, videos, and other documents.
The hosting company also provides the software programs needed to access all files. This allows website owners to get their websites online, update, and maintain their content.
Once the website is configured and the content uploaded, it’s ready to be seen; it now can be accessed by visitors to the site.
The website will stay at this particular location until the site owner decides to relocate it. It’s just the same as when a person decides to relocate to a new location.
So now stop and think for a moment…
What were your reasons for choosing the location for your business? Why did you choose to live where you live or decide to move to a new location?
- Convenient access for you and your patients?
- A friendly and stable neighborhood?
- A safe area? Are the office complex and neighborhood monitored by security?
- The rent you pay is reasonable for what you get?
- Did you get a great deal on the mortgage or rent?
- Is there more than enough space for your clinic?
- The community offers a wide range of amenities?
Most likely these were some of the considerations that went into the decision process.
Your process for choosing one web host over another will be similar. You want a web host that is safe, stable, offers a good service for the cost, is reliable and is accessible when necessary.
But of course, it’s not that simple. Before you can make these decisions, you first have to know what type of hosting you want.
Types Of Web Hosting
Now, this is where things can get a little confusing. When it comes to the actual hosting of your site you have many choices.
However, all options boil down to three main categories of hosting. They include shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
If you go with shared hosting, you are sharing a server. It means you’ll be sharing space and resources with lots of other websites.
But here’s the thing, resources are not always shared equally. And, at times, individual sites may go over their limits and cause other sites on that server to go down.
You could think of shared hosting as living in a big apartment building. As long as you have good neighbors, things are ok. However, if you live next door to someone loud or obnoxious, you’ll be affected by their bad behavior.
Shared hosting, even though there is the potential for occasional problems, is acceptable for a smaller website. Of importance here is you choose a reputable host who provides you with good uptime and quality service.
Shared hosting is the least expensive option and a good choice when just starting out. Also, when you go with shared hosting, your web host will handle most technical problems for you.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting
Here the server is divided equally and shared by fewer websites. All resources are allocated in equal portions to every account. However, it’s still possible for other sites to exceed their limits and thus affect the other websites. In reality, this is less likely to happen on a VPS.
You might compare VPS hosting to living in a Fourplex. Again, things are ok as long as you have good neighbors and a landlord willing to enforce the rules.
A VPS is a good idea for higher traffic, income generating websites, but you’ll be paying a lot more for a VPS. Additionally, you’ll need to know more to effectively manage a VPS, even though your web host still helps should you run into problems.
Here is where you are effectively renting the entire server for your own site(s. This type of hosting is much more expensive, but also offers the most control over your website.
Dedicated hosting is normally recommended for high traffic and large businesses and would be overkill for a small business starter site.
You could compare dedicated hosting to living in your own home. No noisy or disruptive neighbors to disturb you. The drawback: you have to spend a lot of money to get into your home and pay the mortgage.
Also, there is no one to call when things go wrong; it’s you who will need to get things fixed. However, most hosting companies offer additional service plans to manage all technical aspect for their customers.
Now you know what the different hosting packages mean. However, there is a lot more to consider when choosing a hosting company and plan.
I’ll discuss the other consideration in my article next week. So be sure to come back next week for the continuation.
If you have any questions about hosting, please let me know, and I’ll get an answer to you. Just leave your questions and comment below.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, contributor to the NPBusiness blog.