One of the most common questions people ask me when they are creating a new website is “where should I host my website and what do I need to consider?”

In simple terms, web hosting is where the website files (codes) are stored and executed. An easy way to think of this is a power point presentation is run through a personal laptop. The laptop is the host of the presentation.

Your website goals and web application requirements should dictate what kind of web hosting you should use. So before you choose your web hosting provider, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What kind of website do you have?
    • Do you have a brochure or magazine website, digital commerce, blog site, photo sharing site etc.? Each of these will have different hosting needs.
  2. What will the traffic be like for my website?
    • Will traffic to my website be high, medium, low? Will it be spread-out throughout the day/week or will it be spiked and concentrated to specific times. Will my traffic come from local audiences, will they be international, or a mix?
  3. What are the risks of website downtime and data loss?
    • Is there a commercial risk from opportunity, productivity or sales loss? Will there be damage to your brand perception if your website goes down? Will it damage your SEO? Does your website play a key role for your business or brand?
  4. Do you need the server to be locally hosted or international?
    • Is there a requirement for your data to be hosted on-shore (locally) or can it be hosted overseas?
    • Are you concerned with speed and load times of your website? Are you concerned about hosting costs? – Typically hosting options located overseas are cheaper but also tend to have slower speeds.
  5. What’s the security level required to protect your files?
    • Do you need Firewalls, DDos Protection, Virus Protection, Email or Anti-Spam Filter, SSL Security Certificate, Domain Name Privacy, Malware detection and removal, the ability to process secure credit card payments, inclusion of the SiteLock security tool that scans for malware and vulnerabilities, Regular Back-ups and Restore Points, ability to assign user permissions on a site and server level, Access Restrictions, or Security and Network Monitoring?
  6. Do you need dedicated hosting and shared hosting?
    • The difference between the two is like comparing a private office (dedicated hosting) vs. a shared office space (shared hosting).
    • A dedicated server hosting plan means that your website is the only site hosted on the server. With shared hosting, the amount of disk space and bandwidth you are allotted is limited because there are others sharing the server. You will be charged if you surpass your allotted amount.

Cloud Hosting for Digital Commerce Businesses:

If you are running your whole business online, like digital commerce, service availability becomes very crucial. Things like natural disasters, a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack or server failure which cause the server may have huge impact to your business. A server down could result in data loss and customer dissatisfaction because they can’t access your website; with the potential loss of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

In this case, you may need to consider using cloud hosting with auto scaling. Different from shared hosting or dedicated hosting, the program distributes the web application to a server group – meaning your application will be run on multiple servers (not just one).

The auto scaling set up will also create a new server if one of the servers goes down in the server group. It also distributes the user traffic evenly to each server to make sure the application is always running fast. Auto scaling will protect you from natural disasters, a DDOS attack and other potential attacks which could bring your server down. You can create servers in different locations around the world, so if something happens to one of your servers in a certain location, visitors can still access your web application through other servers in the group.

The takeaway:

Hosting is an important part of the overall website development process. There is no right or wrong choice. It is all about choosing a server service that is right for your specific requirements.

At Now Comms Group, we have over 10 years’ experience building digital applications, digital solutions, websites, and digital commerce sites, so if you’d like some guidance in selecting the right server for your, please contact us.