Do I Need Website Hosting?
What does your website do for your business? In the past, websites have generally served simple functions. You might have a service or two that can be accessed online, but besides that, it was really just a flag to show your customers that you’re a legitimate business.
Today? Websites serve several functions all at once. With the world spending more time online – for work and personal use, your website needs to tell the whole story. It’s your centralised hub, a shop, a brand masthead, an advertisement, and often even an employee portal.
The fact of the matter is your website is vastly more important today than it ever has been in the past – and it’s only trending towards greater importance. So, while every website has to be hosted somewhere – you may wish to take advantage of the benefits of managed web hosting services.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that maintains your website files live on the internet; it’s like having your laptop connected online 24/7, ready to connect to everyone who types in your URL or clicks a link to your page, though, on a much, much, larger scale.
The simplest form of web hosting looks like a small box in a large server that houses your website files. It has an address (your URL) and a folder with every picture, font, style and word saved, ready for the visitor to access. With cheap or free web hosting, you’ll need to handle updates and troubleshooting yourself, not to mention attempting to contact the web hosting company that hosts your site (along with the thousands of other websites) on their servers.
When web hosting becomes more complicated and, worth noting, more expensive, you get an engineer managing a lot of the daily maintenance, load speed and SEO optimisation, back-end work, and often a full suite of other features. Many of these additional features bring a lot of value to your business. Some might just save you from performing rote work for yourself, but others benefits, like code optimisation, can bring new advancements to your business that you just wouldn’t be able to achieve alone.
Excellent web hosting will make you money and improve your business – and not only that, but it will also make you much more appealing to your clients online. So, is managed web hosting right for you?
The potential benefits of managed web hosting services
To weigh up the pros and cons of any web hosting provider, you need to know what their services will achieve for your business. Paying $6/month for a web hosting service sounds great, but what are you leaving on the table? 70$/month might sound like a lot to simply have a website accessible to your clients or customer, but what are you getting in return? Is the value more than the cost? Let’s see what bespoke web hosting can bring you.
Secure cloud hosting
Cloud hosting is pretty much the industry standard these days since most businesses won’t have a server room to hold their website online. But it also comes with a few concerns to be aware of – notably, security. Cheap shared hosting plans often cut corners on security, potentially opening your business up to expensive and image-damaging vulnerabilities. Finding web hosting providers that offer better security features might cost a little extra each month, but that small amount is tiny compared to the cost of a bad actor attacking your site.
Contact with your web hosting provider
The cheaper your web hosting service, the tougher time you’ll have getting them on the phone. Cookie-cutter web hosting services generally have thousands of websites managed by just a few people, and if something goes wrong, you’ll have an enormously difficult time talking to a real person to see it fixed. A quality web hosting service provider will have more resources to keep your website operational, and it’ll be a lot easier to catch their ear when things don’t go to plan.
Specialised WordPress hosting services
Since WordPress is the most popular platform to host websites, unfortunately, you do see two kinds of WordPress web hosting services; automated cookie-cutter, or expert, specialised service.
Your business can significantly benefit from WordPress hosting that makes optimisations, actively manages, and suggests improvements for your page, rather than a clerk who will click the update button once each week. A managed WordPress hosting provider is like a mechanic for your online presence, constant tweaks, oil changes, tuning, and maybe a little scolding when things aren’t seen to.
When you’re looking for the best WordPress hosting provider, look for actual value in code optimisation and page speed rather than simply free WordPress themes, plugins or other services that are easily bulk-installed on multiple servers.
Managed backups and testing environments
Simple services will keep you online, but paying for redundancies or special services like automated testing can save your business when things don’t go to plan. You’ll ideally never need to revert to a backup, but that isn’t often a feasible strategy. Paying the extra for safety and smooth updates can provide enormous value to your online presence, especially with how important websites are to businesses today.
More hosting resources
On a simple web hosting service, you’ll be sharing a server with multiple (sometimes hundreds) of other websites, leading to slow load times, shaky connections, difficult updates, and low bandwidth. Better web hosting companies will provide you with more resources to optimise your website, which really just means a better experience for your customers.
Finding the right web hosting company
The right web host for your business is one that aligns with your needs and brings the most value. Many factors influence the value of your website, and not all of it is initially obvious. Dedicated hosting plans are generally far more expensive than cookie-cutter alternatives. Still, when you consider the opportunity cost (or actual cost!) of a slow, unresponsive web experience, the needle swings quite drastically in the other direction.