What is Web Hosting?

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Web hosting is where websites live. If your website was a house then web hosting would be the plot of land the house sits on. Just like all the stuff in your home, web hosting is where your website’s files reside. Good web hosting provides fast and reliable service that coincides with the needs of your website and the people you want visiting it.

Why Do You Need Web Hosting?

You need web hosting if you want your website to be publicly visible online. Without web hosting, none of your customers — or anyone else — would be able to visit your website.

Web Hosting Affects Website Speed

Web hosting has an effect on your website’s speed. Web hosts with more powerful hardware can play a role in the speed your website is served, but so can the location of a web host’s servers. It’s a good idea to make sure your website won’t exhaust the resources of your web hosting plan and to check that the company you’re hosted with has server locations that load your website relatively near you and your customers.

For instance, if your entire business is in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and you only care about selling products to people in Maine then using a web host that has servers in and around the New England area would benefit you more than a web host that only uses servers in California.

For additional speed, you can configure your web host to server files from a content delivery network. Content delivery networks do what they sound like they do — they deliver your website’s content through an overlayed server network helping more people load your website through more locations that are closer to their own locations.

Web Hosting Affects Website Development

Web hosting also has an effect on the development and future development of your website. Hosting plans that offer staging — or pre-live — environments afford you a chance to make and test updates on your website before unveiling new changes publicly. WP Engine and Flywheel hosting both offer staging environments for WordPress websites through their WordPress hosting plans.

What Types of Web Hosting Is There?

Depending on your website hosting plan you may be able to host 1 website or many websites. Web hosting comes in a few different varieties including shared hosting, VPS hosting, WordPress hosting, and Cloud hosting. Shared hosting means multiple websites are on the same server sharing — or fighting for — resources. VPS (aka virtual private server) hosting means your website(s) is being hosted on its own private server and does not need to share resources with other websites. WordPress hosting is a unique configuration of web hosting that’s designed specifically to cater to the needs of WordPress websites. Cloud hosting hosts websites “in the cloud”. It’s kind of like a VPS, but instead of a single private server Cloud hosting uses a network of routers that work together as fail safes incase the on you’re on goes down. In theory, Cloud hosting provides better uptime for your website.

Website Hosting vs Website Domain Names

Web hosting is not your website’s domain name. Domain names are what your website is called not where it lives. However, domain names point to the files served from your web host that make up your website. Using your domain name, people can visit and see your website that lives on your web hosting.

Web Hosting for WordPress Websites

WordPress websites require a web hosting plan with a database and usually at least a few gigabytes of storage space for files and other digital assets. The amount of storage space you need is entirely dependent on how many files you have. If you’re unsure how much space your website needs it’s okay to start small — most web hosting providers offer scalable plans to fit any size website.

WordPress Hosting Options

There are many excellent WordPress hosting options to choose from. One of my favorite options for hosting WordPress websites is WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting, as well as their Flywheel Hosting platform, with web hosting plans that work great for small business websites starting at under $20 per month.

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