Have you ever stopped to think about how websites work? After all, these carefully designed web pages don’t just magically appear on your screen when you summon them. Instead, the contents of each web page are stored on a publicly accessible hard drive from where they’re piped at high speed to anyone requesting access. This is a process known as web hosting, and it’s not something businesses (or private individuals) generally have the ability to commit to themselves.
The host with the most
Hosting a website requires transferring the various files and folders that make up a website onto a storage device like a hard drive, or a larger server unit. The storage and update process must be kept constantly online with a super-fast internet connection, so requests for data are resolved as quickly as possible. Website hosting also requires protection against numerous threats out in cyberspace, ranging from comment spam to denial-of-server attacks that force websites offline.
The person responsible for keeping a website live has to keep on top of a constant stream of software updates and patches to maintain overall security. They need to understand industry jargon, appreciate the subtleties of evolving malware threats, and know when a plugin needs updating or replacing. And they have to do all this around the clock while ensuring the various components can cope with any unexpected spikes in traffic. If it can’t, the website could temporarily go offline, at which point customers will quietly migrate elsewhere and be lost forever.
Clearly, this requires what Liam Neeson fans might describe as a very particular set of skills. And that’s why most small businesses and entrepreneurs delegate web hosting to a specialist company. These web hosting gurus have warehouses filled with high-speed hard drives, capable of storing huge amounts of data for clients and audiences anywhere in the world. And because servers are able to store so much data, hosting firms often share them among multiple customers. This is called shared hosting, and it provides a number of benefits to end users:
#1. Because shared hosting doesn’t tie up much of a server’s hard drive, the cost of buying and maintaining the server is split between many customers, slashing the costs involved in dedicated hosting. After all, servers are very expensive to buy outright.
#2. Security updates can be rolled out quickly and across the board by the hosting company. Collective updates are quicker and more efficient than each client having to update their own server in response to new threats or software releases.
#3. It’s unlikely that every client website will receive large amounts of traffic at the same time, so considerable volumes of internet bandwidth are available at any given moment.
#4. Rapid page loading times do more than inspire happy visitors – they are a key factor when search engines like Google and Bing are ranking sites. A fast-loading homepage will achieve a superior position compared to slower competitors.
#5. Because so many clients have data stored on a single server, the hosting company will go to great lengths to optimise the performance of each high-speed hard drive unit. The entire infrastructure should be kept in tip-top condition.
A dependable shared hosting service clearly requires a dependable host company. And UK2.NET has spent the last twenty years building a reputation for exactly that. In fact, we were recently voted one of the UK’s top five shared hosting companies by the experts at TechRadar. They praised our “impressively cheap” services, and our “affordable unlimited packages”. They identified a diverse range of plans and high-quality support as key benefits of UK2.NET’s service; the latter is especially important for people who can’t tell HTTP from HTML.
More in store
TechRadar also identified that UK2.NET’s hosting plans are bundled with valuable additional features like SSL certificates, which are essential for ecommerce transactions. Given the steady stream of news stories about data security – and the recent launch of the EU’s GDPR rules on personal privacy – online security is more important than ever. And while consumers have to do their bit by choosing robust passwords or avoiding unsecured wifi networks, for example, online security often starts with a dependable and conscientious web hosting company.