Web hosting is an essential part of building any website. Every website needs to be stored and controlled by a computer somewhere, and WHERE to house your website is often vital to the smooth running of your new website. If you are unaware of what hosting is, I like to think of it like this: Hosting is the land you rent that your house sits on and your website is your house, then your domain is your house address.
When approaching your website designer, they will need to know whether you already have your own web hosting in place, or whether you need this providing. Some website designers may insist that they host your website for you. When hosting your website themselves, a website designer can use a platform they are familiar with and know that they always have access as and when they need it if your website needs updates or maintenance.
My personal preference is that my clients manage and pay for their WordPress website hosting and domain independently, although I’m often happy to make suggestions of established, reliable, and affordable hosting companies I like to work with, such as SiteForge.
Many clients are tempted to sign up for the cheapest web hosting available, I have found that in very few cases is this a good idea. Cheap hosting accounts are, in nearly every case, hosted on shared servers crammed with tens of thousands of other users, all sharing the same limited resources. You might see some hosting accounts offering ‘unlimited’ space and bandwidth, however, this really does not exist and you can often find the ‘reasonable usage’ clause in the small print. Shared hosting accounts also share an IP address; think of an IP address like a telephone number that directs people to your server. It only takes one of those thousands of users to abuse their mailing list to get your shared IP blocked and affect the deliverability of your emails, or indeed in some cases crash your server. ‘Server uptime’ is an important factor for online business – if your server crashes, your website goes down and your business is potentially losing money. Websites hosted on shared hosting accounts are often slower than ‘Cloud Hosting’ accounts, otherwise known as VPS (virtual private servers), where you may be only one of 50 users utilising the server. Dedicated Servers are where you are the only user utilising the stack’s resources. VPS and Dedicated Servers tend to be for more tech-savvy users, and if you’re new definitely go for a managed option to ensure security and software is kept tight and up to date.