Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | February 19, 2015

What is a Website Host and How Do I Get One?

Attention all prospective website owners! Before you can make your website live, you need a host server. Every website on the internet has a “host” or a “server” where the website’s files are stored and made accessible for execution. What does that mean? Simply put, without a host your website will not be accessible to anyone on the internet. If you don’t wish to go through the process of setting up your own server, there are many web hosting services to choose from. Some are better than others, and some services you just simply want to stay away from. However, a website host is a necessity if you want your website to actually work. A website host is the location where your website’s data, files and anything accessible on your website is stored. It’s made up of a server or multiple connected servers. A server is essentially just a computer, much like the one you are reading this article on. Any computer can act as a website host if you install the proper operating system and software. Linux, Ubuntu, Windows NT & Unix are the most used operating systems for servers, while Apache, Ruby & Nginx are widely used to perform the protocols and functions needed to get your server online. Software like Apache are known as HTTP server software. That’s not all though – there is also software that executes server-side code or the stuff that runs necessary functions for your website, and additional software to aid with server functions. You can see how it can get confusing and complicated quickly, which is why many prospective website owners prefer to find a web hosting service. If you’ve decided to bypass the “setting up your own personal server to host your website” step, the next step is to find an acceptable web hosting service. Finding a hosting service is easy, but finding a good hosting service is hard. There are many factors that should play into who you choose to host your website: Price, Support, Performance. Depending on what type of website you are planning on hosting the price and performance will vary, but the support should always be top notch. To get an understanding of the quality of support you can expect, do some research and read reviews of some web hosting services. Personally, I typically go with BlueHost hosting. They have provided me with the best support over the years, their packages are very competitively priced and their servers perform exceptionally well 24/7. Other web hosting services include, GoDaddy, InMotion Hosting and Siteground. GoDaddy is a well known established hosting service, which is the main reason a majority of prospective website owners look at them first. From my experience with GoDaddy, the support was fair, but could have been better (though the servers performed well). However, I caught their support misleading me before, which is one of the reasons I refer clients to other hosting services besides GoDaddy. InMotion Hosting has some of the best performing servers that I have seen. While their pricing is a little more expensive, you get your money’s worth considering their customer reviews are great. Siteground is rumored to have the best price in the web hosting market, with excellent support and servers that perform exceptionally well. Any of these hosting services would be great to use to get your website started. But, how do you choose the right service package? Besides the price of a hosting service package, you want to make sure the package fits your needs. Each website is different and that dictates which features or software your server will need. Research should help if you do not understand what exactly you need. For example, if you want a server that could support a simple WordPress website, you’d need to make certain the server has PHP installed and a MySQL database. If you plan on having lots of traffic coming to the website (I assume that is everyone’s hope), you need to make sure you have the performance needed to support the bandwidth and traffic. Additionally, you may want extra features included such as Site Back-up, a dedicated IP (required for SSL), spam protection or a website builder. The best strategy is to surf the internet for a web hosting service, find their service packages, and do your research and discover what it all means. Don’t want to deal with any of this? Digital Reach Agency provides a managed hosting service. We host your website and maintain the server for you! Just give us a call and we’d be happy to walk you through it.

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