Are you looking for web hosting for a new site? Or a new web host for your existing site? Here are seven things about website hosting you may not have known. That is interesting general knowledge and could sway your decision about which web host to choose.
7 Things About Website Hosting You May Not Have Known
Web Hosting Started In 1969
The web hosting industry began way back in 1969. But, unfortunately, there were only four web hosts in the business then! So there weren’t a lot of choices when it came to hosting a website.
Today, there are over 330,000 web hosting providers available for you to choose from. That’s an increase of a whopping 8,250,000%! Few industries have grown this rapidly in 50ish years. Of course, this fact is purely for interest’s sake, but it does indicate the importance of web hosting and how tricky it can be to choose the right one out of all those options.
“Free Domain” Comes With Caveats
Many web hosting companies offer you a free domain. This sounds great, but the fine print tells a different story that you might not realize until it’s too late. You don’t need to pay for that means that the web host owns it. So to continue using that particular domain, you either need to stick with the same company as long as you’re using the domain, or you’ll have to pay a chunk of money to buy it back.
The other potential issue you may run into later is that many “free” are only free for the first year. After that, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to keep it, which may not be made apparent upfront. Check this before you sign up with a web host!
There Are 10 Different Types of Hosting
They’re not all well-known or popular, but you can choose from 10 types of web hosting. These include:
- Shared web hosting
- Reseller web hosting
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
- Dedicated web hosting
- Managed web hosting
- Co-location web hosting
- Cloud web hosting
- Clustered web hosting
- Grid web hosting
- Home servers
Shared hosting is often the most affordable but the least reliable. The most reliable web hosting types (a little more pricey but worthwhile) are cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated web hosting.
The location of your web host can make a difference to your website’s performance. Choosing a web host with data centers spread across the world means that no matter where your site visitors come from, they’ll be able to access your site quickly and easily.
The closer your visitor is to a data center, the faster it can load your website elements, resulting in a higher website speed and a better visitor experience. On the other hand, the further they are from a data center, the slower your website will load.
Considering most people navigate away from a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, this simple fact can make a huge difference to the web host you choose.
“Unlimited” Is a Lie
Many web hosting plans catch your attention by offering “unlimited” bandwidth. It sounds attractive and but the truth is, most of the time, they don’t mean it’s unlimited.
In most cases, “unlimited” means your host won’t measure your usage or put a number on it. But that doesn’t leave you free to transfer all the data you want. There’s still an actual limit, although they don’t mention that. If you hit it on any given month, your site will slow down, and there’s sometimes a fine associated with it.
“Bandwidth” & “Data Transfer” Are Different Things
To further clarify, bandwidth and data transfer are not the same things. Most of the time, they’re used interchangeably, referring to the amount of data your website uses to present to visitors. However, they’re just a little different.
Bandwidth simultaneously out of data that can be transferred at a single time. Data transfer is the period that can be transferred over a given period, most commonly over a month.
So while your web host may offer a maximum bandwidth of 10GB, your hosting plan may only allow a maximum of 2GB of data transfer per month. If something goes viral and you suddenly exceed your monthly data transfer numbers, your speed may slow down, you may get charged a fee, or your host may request that you upgrade your hosting plan.
Plenty Can Affect Your Site’s Performance
Plenty of boxes to tick if you plan to increase your website’s speed. From uninstalling plugins you aren’t using to hosting your downloadable files on a CDN and videos on an external site, there are many ways you can lower your site’s load speed.
But did you know that the web host you choose can make a difference to your website speed? For example, using a cheaper host might seem like a good way to go, but chances are you’ll be on shared hosting, which means your site is sharing resources with others on that same server.
Sharing resources can slow your site down immensely. But speed isn’t the only thing that your web host can affect. Depending on the quality of your you, negatively or positively affected can also be affected negatively or positively. You can’t afford to let these things slide… So it’s in your best interest to choose simple, straightforward hosting seems simple, but there’s a lot about website hosting you may not have known! Ultimately, the web host you choose for your site significantly influences your website’s performance, speed, and even ranking than you might have realized.
Don’t be tempted to go for cheaper hosting so you can budget for other things. However, if you want to be rock solid, maintain an impressive uptime, and load quickly no matter where your visitors are, it’s a good idea to put a little thought into which host truly suits your needs.
About the Author
Paul Wheeler is a web design specialist who runs an agency dedicated to helping small business owners optimize their most important asset—their website. He s information, comparisons, and detailed reviews over at Reviews for Website Hosting.