It’s not the most enjoyable or creative part of creating your dream website, but having a good host for your website is crucial as not all hosting companies are created equal! Here are our tips for choosing a good web hosting company.
Web hosting companies provides the technical services and infrastructure that allows your website to be displayed on the web. Most hosting providers require that you have your own domain name in order to set up a hosting account with them, but many hosting providers can facilitate the registration of a domain name as part of their service.
When a user types your domain name into their browser, they are directed to your website. This happens because hosting companies provide the servers on which websites are stored and when a user clicks through to your website these servers ensure your website is displayed in the user’s browser.
In basic terms – hosting companies store your website so users are able to view your webpages in their browser.
What features should you look for in a hosting company?
WordPress is the most popular content management system on the web, and it powers around 30% the total websites that are online today. Having support for WordPress is essential when selecting a hosting provider.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and this is the method which your website is uploaded to the web server. Usually this is handled by the web designer or developer, but choosing a hosting company that provides effective access to the site files on the server, you should be good to go!
When setting up hosting for your business you would probably also want to set up business email addresses, using your site domain. This maintains a professional image when mailing clients and customers. The amount of email addresses you are able to have depends on your hosting company as well as the hosting plan you are on. Make sure they offer enough for your business’s needs.
PHP is a programming language that runs on the server, so its your host’s responsibility to ensure that the version of PHP running on the server is the latest stable release. Having an out of date version of PHP poses a security risk, as well as prevents your website from supporting the latest technologies. (Just to add: No, you don’t need to know any PHP in order to run your own WordPress website!).
Local vs Offshore Web Hosting
What this refers to is where the physical servers are located, either locally in South Africa (local), or overseas (offshore).
Some hosting companies offer a mix of both, with local servers serving as the primary servers and the offshore servers serving as a backup should the local data center (where the servers are located) should experience any technical difficulties.
In our experience, local hosting makes your website load faster to users in the same region and support can be easier to access as there are no time-zone differences to consider.
Generally selecting and setting up your web hosting package is one of the first steps in the web design process, and we are more than happy to provide assistance and advice to ensure you get the best service possible, and a reliable home for your business’s website.