When working with clients who are just starting out or are self-confessed technophobes, I get asked ‘why do I need hosting, and what is it?’, well, to explain it simply, hosting is renting a home for your website. Every website needs one in order to be visible on the world wide web, and depending on how big your website is, depends on how much space it needs on its hosting platform.
When it comes down it, you get what you pay for.
There are many different hosting platforms available including a range of well-known domain registrars, some more reliable than others.
A cheap hosting platform is like purchasing your home in the cheap end of town, with known issues (such as sinkholes), high crime rates, and bad emergency services response times. So if you’re paying £1.50 for hosting per month, then don’t expect an amazing fast website or a reliable hosting solution!
A more expensive hosting platform is like purchasing your home on a well established and respected estate, with a great footprint, no known issues, great friendly neighbours and a low crime rate. While it might cost you a little bit more a month, hosting with your agency guarantees you a go to contact, a reliable service and someone who is likely to look at an issue instantly, rather than waiting for a customer service rep to get back in touch within the 7 day turnaround, which lets face it, if your website isn’t working, isn’t good for any business.
If you are planning on hosting your own website, it is really important that you give the agency you work with either the login details, or the FTP details to the server, this not only allows for easier upload, but it also means that if there are issues with the website after launch, they can gain access quickly to amend the problem.
When looking into your hosting, I would advise for you to look for the following things:
- 99.9% Uptime – this is the guarantee, that your website should very rarely go down while you are hosting your website with your chosen company.
- 24/7 UK Support – many hosting companies are based in America, which means that if something goes wrong, it can be very annoying trying to get in touch with them to sort out the issue.
- Security & Environmental Accreditations – These accreditations are important, as it means that the chosen hosting company has the tools to provide a secure platform to house your website and conform to strict rules and guidelines to meet these accreditations.
- Bandwidth Caps – Check that you aren’t paying for hosting that has a cap on the amount of visitors or traffic that you can have within a month or day, for example, our hosting quotes are based on a number of factors, we consider the amount of traffic that your website will get, and then monitor this on the renewal of your hosting.
- Size Caps – Check that your not going over your space usage, as you could be faced with a bill at the end of the month that is much more than you originally indented, for example, another factor of our hosting quotes are based on the size of a website at the time of quoting, and review it on a yearly basis.
- Is it Compatible? – Depending on the content management system you choose to use, depends on the hosting platform, the majority of web servers which can run PHP and MySQL will run WordPress or other similar systems, but you should ask your agency for their recommendations before buying your space.
As an agency, we advise our clients to host their website with us, for 2 main reasons:
1. if something happens with the website, then they have one person to contact, and they will investigate accordingly and determine the issue;
2. We have AMAZING hosting, and we work with our provider to continuously improve the service we offer to our clients.
Hosting is often a monthly or annual fee, for the space that you are using. If you’re stuck, all you need to do is ask your chosen agency to recommend and give you guidance on the best options for you, as depending on the website, depends on what you need, as every website is unique and different, just like your business.