I Need a Website. What Do I Need to Know About Hosting?
March 17, 2017 - 12:30pm
This article is part of a series created in partnership with SiteGround. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.
Inspiration strikes! You wake up one morning and realize it’s time for a website. The initial thought comes with anticipation and freshness.
Perhaps you’re dreaming of a personal site where you can share your own perspective on life, the multiverse and everything. Or maybe you’ve formed a careful plan about how you can effectively promote your business on a website, or even actually conduct business with an online store.
It doesn’t take long to discover that there’s quite a lot involved in just getting started. There’s the choice of hosting provider, deciding on the type and level of web hosting, and trying to find the best deal. There’s also the choice of a domain name (preferably one that’s still available) and registrar, and possibly the choice of a suitable web developer and/or designer who will put the site together.
Inspiration rapidly turns to overwhelm.
Why? What is web hosting? And why is it so important?
Your Home on the Internet
Web hosting is real estate. It is where your website lives on the internet. It is the folders that contain your files - web apps, PHP files, media files and more. It is the databases that contain your content - text, HTML and comments. And it is the connection that makes all of this available online.
Choosing the right web hosting is choosing a suitable online home for your website. It is about matching all the available options to the unique needs of your site.
It’s not dissimilar to choosing real estate in the real world. And since that’s a concept most of us are familiar with, we’ll use it as a metaphor to explain what’s involved in finding hosting online.
Hosting Is Real Estate
Virtually all of us have had the experience of looking for somewhere to live. Some of us have also had to look for somewhere to run a business. Let’s think through the process and choices that need to be made when deciding on a new piece of real estate.
1. Some initial decisions drastically affect the price you are going to pay. Will you be buying a property, or renting a property that belongs to someone else? Will you be building something new, or using something that already exists? Will you be sharing the building with others, or occupying the building on your own?
2. There is
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