Without hosting services, there would be no internet.
Take a moment to think of everything you use the internet for each day. Checking your phone before rolling out of bed in the morning. Clearing out the emails that hit you inbox overnight. Video conferencing with the branch office across the state from your desk. Liking a friend’s photo of their puppy wearing socks.
We use the internet for everything. Every. Thing. Except, we would be remiss if we didn’t admit to having the fleeting thought of how we lived before. But what if we told you the internet was reliant on a massive, globally reaching web?
Overview of Hosting Services
In a nutshell, hosting services provide the online space for the storage of web pages. A website can’t be created or go live until it has a hosting service to ‘live’ on. Once you have your hosting service picked out, it’s time to create the website. The creation process includes all text, images, anything you’ll share with the world. Then it’s uploaded to the server/hosting account.
Ideally, every server and hosting account in the world would be running 24/7, but that wouldn’t account for maintenance time. Hosting servers are like any other equipment we use – they need maintenance to keep going. The best hosting companies servers’ have a 99.99 percent up-time, meaning they have minimal maintenance. Others may have 96 to 98 percent up-time, but these companies are cheaper for a reason. These companies often have customer service issues with having a downed website. Keep this in mind when considering a hosting service for your website, especially if you rely on e-commerce.
How do Hosting Services Work?
Bandwidth measures the greatest amount of data transferred by a hosting service in a given time, usually in seconds. Data transfer is the usage of the bandwidth, they are two separate entities but tied together. It won’t matter how fast a visitor’s connection is if you don’t have enough bandwidth to support the data transfer. But how do you determine if your website will have enough bandwidth to function for your visitor’s needs? A hosting service will help you estimate the number of visitors expected to visit each month, average page size, and the number of page views. It sounds like work, but it’s better to overestimate than have a sluggish website. But, some companies like Amazon will only charge when bandwidth or service is used.
By and large, server operating systems are Unix/Linux or Windows based. Linux servers run on distributions such as Ubuntu, Red Hat, and CentOS to name a few. CentOS is usually the operating system used to run cPanel, a popular management software choice used by hosting companies. Linux servers are ran by command line, like the old MS-DOS. It’s known as inexpensive, reliable, and efficient. Windows operating systems usually use a graphical user interface (GUI). Plesk Panel or Webmin are common choices with Windows.
As WordPress continues to grow in popularity among businesses, hosting services have taken note. Most companies now have an installer that will set up WordPress for you or allow you to use WordPress on the host. It can be run on any hosting server that has PHP and HTTPS support and either MySQL or MariaDB. Apache is popular for servers that are going to handle WordPress as well.
Choosing a Hosting Service
There are five main types of web hosting:
Shared is most common, with hundreds or thousands of websites held on the same physical server. Each customer has a set bandwidth limit and allotted physical web space. While shared hosting has a low cost, if one website is experiencing high traffic, every other website will be slowed.
A virtual private server (VPS) is one physical server partitioned – divided – into smaller servers. Each customer has their own partition with its own operating system installed and has root access. This creates a more secure environment.
We would all prefer our own dedicated server, a single server for one customer. But, these come at a high price. Dedicated servers are common for large businesses needing the control, security, and power provided.
A newer option that people have come across is a reseller hosting service. This type is exactly what it sounds like – the company doesn’t host your website itself, but instead sells space on another company’s server. A reseller provides a specified amount of storage space, bandwidth, and other hosting features sold to customers.
Grid hosting is like shared hosting. With a grid, the websites and data spread across many servers, allowing for stability and flexibility. With this system, a server or several can be added or taken away without crashing the entire service.
These Are the Three Main Questions We Hear from People Who Ask Us About Hosting Services:
What is your server reliability and up-time?
Up-time is the amount of time a computer, or in this case, a server is in operation. The standard rule of thumb is that anything less than 99 percent up-time is unacceptable. That’s why we use only the best servers with a 99.99% up-time. We also use the fastest hard drives and have modified our server programming to speed up site load times.
How is your security?
This should always be the second question you ask behind up-time. There are two components to security, internal and public. While in an ideal world nobody would give a passing thought to hacking any website and hosting service, people do scurrilous things each day. You can have a reasonable expectation of high security if:
- Your company has few financial resources
- Your company and or website is uncontroversial
- It is coded to high standards
Yet, you can plan on the site being tested if your company has any assets of importance or anything that puts your company in the public spotlight.
How does maintenance work?
It goes without mentioning technology is always changing, and hosting services understand this inside and out. It is also an important force behind keeping your website secured. A lack of maintenance can affect the website performance upon loading for visitors. Data may be lost without routine backups.
Web applications are software, and like the operating system on your computer, need updating from time to time. Along with functionality, security improves against spam, malware, and other malcontents by hosting services.
Our software scans websites frequently for any malware and performs regular site backups. We also provide monthly maintenance services to keep your site, plugins and code secure and up to date. Elevare has been providing hosting services for over five years. We’ve tried and tested all the major companies to find the best service for our clients.
Contact us today to find the right package for you!