Essential Website Hosting Terms You Should Know

If you’re new to the realm of website hosting, then you may find yourself at a loss. While this topic may seem relatively easy to understand, as soon as you begin to delve into the various options and service levels, your perceived understanding can quickly go out the window. Perhaps one of the most confusing elements of dealing with hosting providers is their terminology. While there are literally hundreds of various terms floating around the Web, the following are considered the most essential to fully grasp this dynamic and ever-evolving industry. According to Web Hosting Professor, the following are the main categories of web hosting to consider as you build your online presence.

Linux Hosting

Generally, this is the type of hosting level your website will demand as the majority of CMS tools, such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, are all designed to be built upon Linux hosting. If your website utilizes various programming codes, such as PHP and Pearl, Linux hosting is essential. However, don’t be afraid of having to hard code as the bulk of Linux hosting providers feature easy-to-use tools.

If you’re unsure if Linux hosting is right for you, see GoDaddy’s post, Should I choose a Windows or Linux hosting account?

Shared Hosting

Just as its name suggests, a shared hosting account means you are sharing a single server with multiple customers. In fact, a standard hosting server can handle thousands of websites. Because you’re sharing a server, the monthly fees are relatively inexpensive. In general, you can expect to pay significantly less than compared to dedicated or VPS nodes.

Dedicated Hosting

When you sign up with a dedicated hosting server, you are the only website within a server. This is ideal if you have a huge website or wish to diminish the possibility of other websites on a shared server from crashing your own site, which can happen if one website receives significant traffic/visitors. The cost of this hosting level is significantly more than most other hosting services, which means it really only makes sense for large, profitable, websites.

VPS Hosting

VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is specifically designed for websites that experience a large amount of traffic. This hosting level offers a virtual server that only runs your website. The main benefit of such a design is that you can directly manage your site without altering others (and vice-versa).

Colocation

While this level of hosting is quite similar to dedicated hosting, it calls upon software and hardware that you completely control. In fact, the hosting company doesn’t touch or manipulate the server at all, except to ensure its operational. Every other aspect of the hosting and website management is up to you and your IT department. Because of this, colocation is by far the most complex and expensive way to operate a website.

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How to Choose a Website Host for Your Business

As time progresses, the modern commerce industry is moving away from standard brick-and-mortar storefronts to digital (online) stores. While this has caused millions of businesses to thrive when they otherwise wouldn’t exist, the move to a digital retail front is the cause of concern for many more. The heart and soul of your online business is not within the content or design of your site, but rather in the hosting provider you choose.

A business website can range from a simple eCommerce site dedicated to only a handful of products to a mega-store selling thousands of individual products and services. Although there’s been a major consolidation in the website hosting industry, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of website hosts to choose from. If you’re not well-versed in this industry, then you could easily become overwhelmed with options and potentially select a hosting company that’s incompatible with your business needs.

There are several tips you can follow to help ensure you make the best decision for your current business platform and future growth.

Tip #1: Website Functionality Demands

Perhaps one of the most important questions to answer when it comes to determining the level of hosting your business requires boils down to its required functionality. The size and scope of your website will determine the level of functionality a website host must support. Does your website require a vast array of databases? Will you require a secure server to process payments? Will you be running multiple user applications? The answers to these questions will ultimately determine the type of hosting you’ll require.

Tip #2: Hosting Based Upon Current and Predicted Traffic

While you may not have a vast array of incoming traffic to your website at the moment, you must always plan for advancement. The size and scope of your website requires a certain amount of bandwidth for each visitor. If you’re currently or are expecting significant traffic to your site it’s imperative to have ample bandwidth to support such activity. Failure to do so can result in expensive charges, or worse, website downtime.

Tip #3: Website Hosting Provider Speeds

The speed of your website is the foundation for your business. In fact, functionality and performance not only determines your site reputation among visitors, but also your ranking among search engines. Therefore, regardless of the size and scope of your business, you must ensure the website host is designed to provide the fastest speeds, as explained here. If possible, choose a website host that features a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which can dramatically increase end-user speed, functionality and overall performance. When analyzing the speed of a web host, consider not only your site’s load time, but the speed at which your web browser can connect to the host’s server. A server lag time can slow the most efficiently coded websites, so be mindful of that statistic.

How a CDN Can Improve Website Performance

The speed of your website and its responsiveness is far more important than you might think. In fact, the speed and functionality of a website directly influences your search engine rankings. Moreover, the responsiveness of your site greatly determines visitor loyalty. In some cases, if you have a slow or unpredictable site, visitors will distrust your site. Because of the sheer importance site speed has on site rankings and visitor loyalty, one of the most important elements of website management is consistently working to optimize website speed. As millions of website administrators have already discovered, a CDN is among the most effective ways to improve website performance and functionality.

What is a CDN?

A CDN, which stands for Content Delivery Network, is essentially a connection of servers dispersed throughout the world. Every CDN node, which is also referred to as Edge Servers, caches the structural components of your website. When a visitor logs into your site, the CDN server closest to the end-user distributes these structural components, which significantly reduces loading time.

Defined as next-generation optimization, a Content Delivery Network is quickly becoming an essential tool within the arsenal to outrank competitors and increase sales, traffic, and ultimately, profitability.

Why Use a CDN?

As mentioned earlier, the main reason why you should adopt a CDN for your website is to dramatically enhance the end-users experience when accessing and navigating throughout your site. Because speed and performance consistency is imperative for all users, working with a CDN can not only improve overall user experiences but also enhance your rankings among search engines.

CDN Implementation

While certain website hosting providers are equipped with their own network of CDN servers, the majority of these services are provided by third-party vendors. Thankfully, implementing a CDN is extremely easy. In fact, it typically only requires you to tell the vendor what elements of your site need to be mirrored and then the rest of the work is automatically completed. If you use a CMS, such as WordPress or Drupal, you can easily install plugins to effortlessly begin the CDN process.

The cost of a CDN can significantly range based upon the size and scope of your website. Enterprise websites generally cost the most while small-to-medium websites are quite affordable. Other elements that determine the overall cost of a Content Delivery Network include: region reach, security needs and bandwidth.

In order to find the best deal for your own unique needs, itís important to compare at least three CDN vendors and determine which ones are not only the most cost-effective, but also provide you with necessary service levels.

Sources: http://webhostingprof.com & https://www.incapsula.com/cdn-guide/what-is-cdn-how-it-works.html