What Is Web Hosting And Why Do I Need It?

29th January, 2020 by

Creating a new website can be exciting and daunting at the same time. While we all know how to use the internet, the process of building and launching your own site can seem like a mysterious process loaded with technical jargon.

To an IT newcomer, the language used to describe web hosting can seem like a complex process, yet the reality is far simpler than you might expect. At UK2.NET, we try to use plain English to help our clients. However, if you still feel a bit lost, this article will walk you through everything you need to know about hosting a website. 

Today we answer the most frequently asked questions about web hosting.

What is website hosting? 

Web hosting for beginners usually involves storing basic website content (like photos and page designs) on a publicly accessible server with high-speed internet connections. This server will be owned and maintained by specialists like UK2.NET. Large hard drives contain all the programming code, photographs, images, text, and other content required to display each site correctly. Visitors will view your website through our secure servers and virtual private networks, rather than on your own devices.

What’s shared hosting? 

Shared hosting is a term you’ll hear a lot if you’re in online business. Hosting is behind the scenes of every website on the world wide web. It stores all of the data on every website and delivers this data to all four corners of the globe, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The specifications of your hosting package are based on how large the site will be, how many visitors you anticipate it will receive, and how you wish to use it. For instance, if you’re setting up a personal site to showcase some pictures of a family event and you know only immediate family members will visit the site, you won’t need something as intensive as a dedicated server. However, large corporations that do business over the internet won’t be satisfied with a shared hosting solution.

Shared hosting is exactly that: hosting that is shared. When you purchase website hosting you purchase space on a server, which is a computer kept in an off-site location. Our servers are kept in our data centres worldwide and secured by extensive security measures to ensure our customers’ data is protected at all times.

How does shared hosting work?

On the server, you’ll be purchasing space for your data, power for the machine, and bandwidth to distribute your website data across the internet. When you sign up for a shared hosting solution, you’re acquiring space on a shared hosting server, a machine which can store hundreds of customers’ data simultaneously.

Your data will be stored on this shared server, then retrieved and distributed to your site visitors when requested. Due to the nature of modern technology one server is able to cope with the demand of several websites, and so this solution is perfect for anyone building a small website or hosting their small business site in the opening stages.

Are there any cons to shared hosting?

One downside to shared hosting is that due to the nature of the solution, all shared resources are at risk of being used up by another site on the machine. This means that if another website on your shared server receives a spike in traffic the bandwidth of the server will be used heavily by one site, slowing down every other website on the machine. This is bad news for anyone who wants their website to be a reliable source of information for their site visitors; most internet users will abandon a web page if it loads in more than two seconds, so there’s not a huge window to make a good impression.

Will the contents of my website be safe wherever it’s stored? 

Yes. The site will always be visible to the public, and servers are automatically backed up so data can’t be lost or accidentally deleted. Servers are housed in secure, temperature-controlled data centres supervised by IT professionals.

How do I make a website look equally good on big or small screens? 

Complex websites need sophisticated solutions, but in terms of web hosting for beginners, the best option is a responsive site framework. The page layout automatically adjusts to suit different screen sizes, so a full-width menu might become a smaller drop-down one instead. Our Website Builder automatically optimises your screen as you build your new, professional website.

How do I choose a suitable web address for my website? 

Websites are hosted at numerical addresses featuring four numbers between 0 and 255. For simplicity, these IP addresses are assigned domain names in English. Entering this address into a web browser directs it to the IP address where content is hosted. For example, 64.233.160.0 is one of the many IP addresses used by Google.

Each website has a unique address chosen by its owner. That means you can choose your company name, or something relevant to your industry provided the domain is not in use. However, many addresses have already been reserved and used. Your website name should be easy to spell and pronounce, as short and memorable as possible, and be relevant to your business or local area. Start searching for the perfect web address today with UK2.NET’s easy domain search tool

Where do I buy a website domain from?

Us, of course! At UK2.NET, you can buy and manage domains for as many websites as you like. We specialise in web hosting for beginners, with jargon-free technical support and round-the-clock customer service. Competitive pricing is the icing on the cake, and we can help your business to grow in the future by adding new services whenever you want.

What is a top-level domain, and why is it important? 

The final part of a website is the top-level domain or TLD. The most popular one is .com, which identifies a company. There are national TLDs, industry-specific ones, and quirky options like .biz or .me.

Should I use a .com domain?

The World Wide Web launched in 1991 with a limited number of top-level domains. The .com suffix indicates companies, and almost half the world’s websites now use it. That makes .com more valuable and recognised than quirky suffixes like .guru or .tunes. However, .com addresses are often the most expensive option and many of them are already in use.

What will my website be able to do? 

Whatever you want! Modern websites are incredibly versatile. You can accept sales and take payments, host documents that can be read or downloaded, update content on a daily basis, or interact with customers through live chat facilities.

Will the website come with email accounts?

Yes. UK2.NET offers several hosting packages, all of which include email addresses matching your new domain name. That’s great for building brand awareness and identifying emails as coming from your business. You can choose the addresses you want and host them in a software program like Microsoft Outlook, or access them on any device through webmail.

Do I need to maintain the site once I’ve launched it? 

UK2.NET will handle the technical responsibilities of operating your server behind the scenes. However, it’s up to you to maintain your website exactly as you want it. We advise that you regularly update and refresh your written content. This is typically handled through a website interface called a Content Management System, or CMS. CMSs are typically as easy as word processing.

Is it possible to edit the site once it’s live?

Your website’s contents can be edited at any time using a content management system accessed through a normal web browser. You can add or remove pages, change the text, update product listings, and much more besides. We actively encourage clients to undertake regular updates, which are crucial for boosting a site’s performance in search results pages.

How will people find my new website? 

Most people find websites through search engines like Google and Bing. Search engines rank sites in order of perceived relevance for different search terms. You can improve your site’s ranking with regular updates, fast-loading pages, plenty of text, and relevant page titles. All of these actions can improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) and where your page ranks in search engine results (SERPs)

I’ve heard about SEO, but what does it mean?

Any discussion on web hosting for beginners will stress the importance of search engine optimisation. SEO is the process of tailoring website content to achieve optimal results in Google and Bing searches. Improving a site’s SEO requires well-written text containing terms people frequently search for, as well as image captions, page titles, and other factors.

Can I sell products directly through my site?

One of the main reasons for launching new websites nowadays is ecommerce, since a website can replace or supplement brick-and-mortar shops and stalls. Websites can be built with shopping cart and checkout facilities similar to those used by well-known eretailers, as well as enquiry forms. Automated plugins or programs can manage everything from order acknowledgments to customer surveys. Take a look at Website Builder from UK2.NET for an easy tool to build your ecommerce store.

Can I do anything to improve the site’s security?

Secure certificates are unique encryption codes shared between the website and each visitor, ensuring none of the information exchanged between them can be seen by anyone else. These SSL certificates are included for free with every UK2.NET hosting account, while your website will be hosted in a secure environment and protected against viruses or malicious attacks.

Which company should I use for all this?

Us, of course! UK2.NET can host websites for a super low monthly fee and we make the process of registering a new website domain easy. We stick to plain English, we’re always here for advice, and we can help you build a new website from nothing more than an idea…

What if I need more storage space than shared hosting can offer?

For any website administrators who are managing a large website, or a website that receives quite a bit of traffic, it’s more than worth investing in a dedicated server or a cloud hosting solution.

Dedicated hosting provides you with a server entirely dedicated to your website. Cloud hosting (also called VPS hosting) provides you with a segregated section of a server with dedicated resources. Both of these solutions eradicate the issue of “noisy neighbours” which can become such a headache for anyone using a shared hosting solution, and are perfect for businesses small and large.

What is a virtual private server (VPS)?

To use a property analogy, you could think of a shared server as an apartment. By comparison, VPS servers would be a condo. There are still neighbours in the same building, but they’re fewer in number and less likely to affect each other’s activities. Maintenance of communal areas is still undertaken by qualified third parties, but it’s possible to introduce greater personalisation. And best of all, larger numbers of visitors can be accommodated at once, because greater resources are available.

These are the main differences between VPS servers and shared hosting solutions:

1. Greater control. 

There’s no need to rely on the operating system or other software specified by a shared hosting provider. Each walled segment of disk space is fully customisable, with settings configured to your preferred specifications.

2. Superior speed. 

Virtualised server environments receive more resources than shared hosting. Activities of other clients on the same server won’t impact your own site’s performance. That’s crucial for handling sudden traffic spikes.

3. Extra space. 

Because fewer clients are sharing a server, there’s far more scope to expand if the business grows. Scalability is often crucial as companies evolve beyond their original remit, or introduce more product lines/services/features.

4. Heightened security. 

As cybercrime continues to rise every year, being able to deploy bespoke security solutions may be advantageous. Each VPS client receives an independent IP address, differentiating it from near neighbours.

Who should use VPS?

Every company has unique circumstances, and the choice between shared or VPS servers ultimately comes down to the individual. However, VPS servers tend to be a better option for established or mid-sized companies – especially ones with plans to expand. 

This is the ideal choice if your business has regular traffic spikes, or receives high volumes of visitors. It’s also best where services or industry specialisms necessitate greater control over issues like security. 24/7 support is offered to every client for peace of mind.

Which shared hosting package is best for my project?

UK2.NET offers three web hosting packages, and we’re confident these packages will cater to pretty much everyone’s needs. That’s true whether you’re a private individual launching a hobby website, or an employee of a multinational company requiring complex ecommerce websites:

Essential Hosting

This is our most affordable web hosting package. For just £1.99 a month, we will host up to ten websites on your behalf and a free domain name. We also set aside 10GB of email storage for those all-important marketing messages and customer enquiries. We don’t set any limits on the amount of web space or bandwidth customers receive. Site editing is handled through the world-leading cPanel interface, while Essential Hosting is compatible with both WordPress and Drupal.

Business Hosting

As our best-selling package, UK2.NET’s mid-range Business Hosting plan is very flexible. It builds on the Essential plan’s specifications, adding a free SSL certificate for secure ecommerce transactions – or simply the protection of sensitive client data. It’s possible to have an unlimited number of MySQL databases powering an equally limitless number of websites. Business Hosting provides the same 24/7 expert support as every UK2.NET web hosting package.

Business Cloud

All websites are created equal, but some consume more resources than others. Our Business Cloud service is designed for complex websites where performance needs to be optimised. Reliability and speed are maximised by using UK2.NET’s robust cloud servers, and a dedicated IP address benefits SEO and security. Finally, to underline how dependable our cloud servers are, we’ll credit your account if a website is offline for more than our SLA allows.

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