What is hosting?
Put simply, the hosting service, or ‘host’, is a management company offering storage space for your website on the internet. Think of it as a garage or a secure parking lot for your car.
Is it the same as domain registration?
No. Your domain is the equivalent of your car’s registration plate. Some hosts are allowed to offer domain registration as part of their service, but usually they are two separate services.
Cloud-hosted or ‘self-hosted’?
Some companies, such as Squarespace, Wix, and the paid version of WordPress (wordpress.com) offer not only the latest tools for building your site but also a hosting package for a quarterly or annual fee. You can enter new content easily, but have limited flexibility in terms of appearance. This is why websites on these platforms can look very similar. The domain name is also fixed by the host, although you can pay to change it to your own custom web address.
Self-hosting means that you take on responsibility for all of these things yourself, and employ the services of a hosting company. It’s generally cheaper, you have much greater control over the appearance and management of the site, but running the show requires some technical knowledge.
What should I expect the host to provide?
- storage of your website’s content
- a way to display your content using a chosen management system (such as WordPress)
- email addresses linked to the web address
- specialized tools for editing, uploading and querying the database (assumes user’s technical knowledge)
- tools for configuring the server (for technical users)
- tools for securing your website (for technical users)
If your current web address was set up before 2014, it’s possible that it is not properly secured. You can check by typing the address into your usual browser. If a warning triangle appears, it’s because the protocol (or set of rules) that apply to it is ‘http’ rather than ‘https’ (the secure kind). This is one of the things that is easy for us to fix for you. And fixing it is something that is important for Google Search ranking.
If you are happy with the service you have been getting for a long time, and have no reason to change, then the least complicated route is to stick with the devil you know. On the other hand, it may well pay to shop around to get a better deal. We can advise on the best and most professional hosting services for your site, and if you like, we can arrange a hosting package for you. Please contact us for more information.