What Is Website Hosting and How Do You Choose a Website Hosting Provider

Web hosting is a service that lets people or organizations post a webpage or a website on the internet, and you’ll get this software from a web host. A web hosting service provider or a web host is an entity that provides the services or technologies you need for a webpage or a website. Your website gets stored or hosted on a server or a special computer.

When someone wants to view your website, they have to type in your domain

(example: https://thispartisadomain.com

(aka “website address” or “website”) into the address bar and click the search button. The computer will then connect to your server, and the server will display your website on their browser. Many web hosts require that you own your domain before you can use them to host your website, and they can help you buy a domain if you don’t have one.

Website Hosting History

GeoCities was most likely the first platform that brought wide attention to web hosting outside of a niche sector in 1994. Yahoo! bought the platform in 1999, but GeoCities allowed people to upload pages of content that they then sorted into “cities” on the platform. GeoCities acted like the web host for these pages.

By 1998, the average web hosting package offered users 153MB of storage space, but this could quickly drop to 10MB. It all depended on the host you chose as well as the package, which could range from $12.95 to $16.95 a month. Web hosting packages expanded in 2007 with the introduction of the cloud.

Benefits of Website Hosting

Website hosting comes with several great benefits for your website, whether it’s an entire website or a simple blog. Those benefits include:

  • Improved site performance
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Technical support available
  • Web design liberties
  • Get matching domains and emails

Drawbacks of Website Hosting

As with anything, there are drawbacks to website hosting. You want to be aware of the disadvantages before you decide if this is the correct route to take:

  • Costly as your website grows
  • Potential for data breaches
  • May not offer enough room to grow

How to Choose a Website Hosting Company

Picking the right company to act as your web host can help lay the foundation for a solid website and a seamless experience for anyone who visits. There are several things you want to consider, including:

  • Control panel – The control panel should be user-friendly and intuitive. If you can sign up for a trial of the web host, take a good look at the control panel and make sure you can use it.
  • Features – There are different hosting types available, like cloud, VPS, or shared. Finding a web host with all the features you want, like scalability, plugins that allow you to expand your offerings, and security, will ensure you get the most out of it.
  • Subscription period – Many companies offer flexible subscription periods and ways to renew them. Also, make it a point to double-check the plan’s terms before you sign up.
  • Uptime guarantee – The goal is to get a reliable web hosting company that offers an uptime guarantee. Uptime is the percentage of time your website is available.
  • Website needs – Sit down and make a list of your website’s needs — doing so allows you to prioritize which companies can deliver the services you want. If your website falls into a specific niche, you must consider this.

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-InContext Staff