why you should use a web host

Why You Should Consider Using a Web Host

Why You Should Consider Using a Web Host

For your website to be accessible on the internet, you need website (web) hosting. Web hosting services provide the space and resources that your website needs to live online.

Think of website hosting as a shop showcasing your products. The shop provides all the space and resources you need to sell your products. It also makes your products accessible to any-and-all visitors.

Without a shop, where would you store your products? And since you won’t have an address, how will potential customers find you?

Web hosting underpins your identity on the internet. It houses your website and gives it everything it needs to sustain, and scale on the internet.

Table of Contents

  1. Web hosting services
  2. How can my business benefit from hosting with a web host
  3. Where to go for web hosting
  4. What to look for when choosing a web host
  5. Dedicated vs. shared vs. VPS — which hosting to choose?
  6. FAQ’s

1. Web hosting services

Every website on the internet resides on a server. This server is usually provided and managed by web hosting companies. Typically, there are different web hosting packages to choose from. Which one you select determines the amount of space, resources, and features you get.

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HOSTAFRICA provides all web hosting services

Web hosting normally refers to shared hosting, where a single server is home to many different websites. Shared hosting is much cheaper than paying for a whole server and is perfect for new websites that don’t expect much traffic early on.

If you want your website to have exclusive access to its own server, you can choose dedicated hosting. This website hosting type is great for growing websites, with a lot of traffic.

VPS, or virtual private servers, offered by many web hosting companies, provide another way of hosting a website. Virtualised compartments are made on a physical server and every website gets its own dedicated compartment. VPS are a great way to get the dedicated experience, affordably.

2. How can my business benefit from hosting with a web host?

You may be thinking – if all I need to host a website is a server, why don’t I just buy a server, place it in-house, and host my website on it? Well, you can do that. However, it’s much more efficient and beneficial to choose a web hosting company instead. Here’s why:

  • Reduced costs: Most web hosting companies have a pay-as-you-go plan. You can choose to unsubscribe at any time. However, with an in-house dedicated server, you must pay for procurement, installation, and maintenance costs, which can grow over time.
  • No maintenance headache: With an in-house server, you need to have staff on-duty in case the website crashes or malfunctions. You must also maintain incremental backups of your website. However, if you choose a web hosting company, the host takes care of all this.
  • Security: Top web hosts go to great lengths to ensure rigorous security of your website. From malware scans to intrusion detection, they contribute to securing your assets in various ways. For an in-house server, you, and you alone, are responsible for your security.
  • Ease of scalability: The best web hosting companies give you the flexibility to scale at will. You can add resources to your subscription whenever you want, for a slightly higher fee. However, to scale your in-house infrastructure, you must go through the entire cycle of procuring and installing new servers.
  • Peace of mind: Having your website maintained by a reliable host will give you an unparalleled peace of mind. With an in-house server, you must always remain vigilant to ensure that your website is up and running.

3. Where to go for web hosting?

Choosing web hosting is a fundamental step while building a website. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the seemingly infinite choices on the internet. One Google search will show you multiple ads and results, each claiming to be the best.

You will also find numerous web hosting comparison articles, with conflicting results. One will present company X as the ultimate web host, whereas another will rate company X at the bottom. How do you know who to trust?

The truth is you can’t make your decision solely based on these comparison articles. Some may be authentic, but others may be biased towards companies that paid them for affiliate marketing. So, to truly find the best web hosting services, you must do your own comparisons.

Search using different keywords on Google, e.g. if you are in South Africa, you may search, “web hosting in South Africa” or “web hosting companies in South Africa”. Then, go through the results and choose the ones that take you to websites of actual hosts, not affiliates.

Compare packages offered by different providers and start building your own comparison sheet. You may find hundreds of websites, so it makes sense to shortlist a select few.

Wondering how to select one host over another? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. HOSTAFRICA is a trusted web hosting company in South Africa.

hostafrica web hosting packages
HOSTAFRICA Web hosting packages

4. What to look for when choosing a web host?

Here are some factors to consider while choosing a web hosting company:

  • Customer support: It’s inevitable to run into technical issues that can only be addressed by an expert support engineer and are very time-sensitive. Therefore, it’s important to go for a host that provides 24/7/365 support and is extremely responsive.
  • Uptime: Arguably the most important aspect of a web hosting provider, is the uptime they guarantee. As a golden rule, if a host claims anything less than 99% uptime, they are not worth your money.
    Anything close to 99.9% uptime is ideal as it promises minimal downtime. But remember, some companies may claim high uptimes, but may not be as reliable. Go through reviews of their current/past customers, to see if they are as good as their word.
  • Speed: Speed is another factor that you can’t compromise upon. Look for hosts that provide fast servers with SSDs. Remember, if your website doesn’t load fast enough, your customers will close the browser tab before it’s finished loading.
  • Location: It also makes sense to go for hosts with data centres closer to your target audience, since it will allow your website to load faster for them. E.g., if your target audience is South Africa, you should go for web hosting in South Africa.
  • Security: Ensure that your host takes security seriously. E.g., They must offer SSL certificates for your website. SSL certificates encrypt your website’s traffic, protecting it from getting compromised. Without them, your chances of client data getting hijacked increase significantly.
  • Features/Flexibility: Does the host provide all the features you need? Are you able to customise web hosting packages according to your personalised needs? There should also be an option to upgrade your package or add supplementary resources, on a per-need basis.

5. Dedicated vs. shared vs. VPS — which hosting to choose?

If you are confused between dedicated, shared, and VPS hosting, here’s what you need to consider:

Choose dedicated server hosting for your website if:

  • You want your own physical server.
  • Your website gets a lot of traffic, and you never want to compromise on speed or performance.
  • You want more customisation control over the server hosting your website and have the technical skills to do so.
  • You can afford dedicated hosting.
  • You want to future-proof your web hosting.

Choose shared web hosting if:

  • You don’t mind sharing the server space with other websites.
  • You have a relatively smaller website (personal or small-to-medium businesses) that doesn’t get a lot of traffic.
  • You have a limited budget and can only afford shared hosting.

Choose VPS hosting for your website if:

  • You want to have your own dedicated server experience, but the dedicated hosting costs are too high for your budget.
  • You want more customisation control over the server hosting your website and have the technical skills to do so.
  • You need more resources and power than our web hosting packages offer but not an entire physical server.

FAQs:

What are the most important jobs of a web server?

A web server is responsible for:

  • Providing space and resources for a website: All the files that make up a website, reside on the file system of a web server. It also provides the RAM and CPU resources required by a website.
  • Makes a website accessible online: Whenever someone enters a website’s address in their browser, a request is sent to the webserver. The web server then generates the response, which displays the website on the user’s browser.
  • Protects your website’s files: It’s a web server’s responsibility to protect your website’s files and other assets. By using firewalls and access control lists, it ensures that only people with authorised access get to log in and view/edit the website files.
  • Runs other necessary applications: A web server also runs other tools and applications that your website requires. This includes everything from vulnerability scanners that protect your website from cyberattacks to backup solutions that prepare incremental backups.

Why is it important to use a web host?

Here’s why you should choose a web host, over an in-house server:

  • Lower costs: With web hosts, you can choose a pay-as-you-go subscription, which can be cancelled at any time. Conversely, the total cost of ownership of an in-house server is considerably higher.
  • Security: The best web hosts guarantee high levels of security. From vulnerability scanning to SSL certificates and firewalls, they strive to secure your website in multiple ways. On the other hand, you must manage the security of an in-house server yourself.
  • Low-to-no maintenance required: With a web host, the server is monitored and maintained 24/7 by trained personnel. No need to worry that your website may crash, and no need to create incremental backups yourself!
  • Scalability: A web host gives you the ability to add resources on a per-need basis. Scaling an in-house infrastructure requires procuring and installing new machines.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that a reliable provider is managing your website, will give you invaluable peace of mind.

What are the things to consider when choosing a web host?

  • Uptime: Ideally, you should go for a host that guarantees close to 99.9% uptime. Anything under 99% should be an instant red flag.
  • Security: Your chosen host should take security very seriously. You should have an option to apply SSL certificates to your website. The host should also run malware scans regularly and perform incremental backups of your website.
  • Speed: Choose a host that guarantees a high-speed visitor experience. A host that uses SSDs can usually deliver fast speeds. You should also look for a host with data centres, geographically closer to your target audience.
  • Customer support: You will need technical assistance every now and then. Go for a host that offers 24/7/365 support.
  • Scalability/Flexibility: If ever you want to add more resources, or upgrade to another plan, you should be able to do so.
  • Multiple packages: The best hosts will offer you multiple packages to choose from. Some may even give you the ability to customise a package, as per your personalised needs.

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