Where to Host Your New Product?
The article was initially published in Codica blog. Hosting services vary among providers. They suggest diverse hosting plans. But how to select a web hosting provider that will be aligned with your business aims? This article is a complete guide on the points you should take into account when looking for a hosting provider. Web hosting: definition Web hosting implies placing your website on a server. Provider maintains robust and secure storage space, updates, network, and other services on servers. In such a way, a hosting provider builds an environment with software and hardware for sharing sites over the web. For its services, a web hosting provider charges a recurring fee. This diagram shows the elements hosting comprises to bring websites to users. Types of hosting Depending on the server type, providers offer diverse hardware and features. We will consider the hosting models below. To simplify the understanding, we compared the hosting models with real estate types. Shared hosting. Shared hosting means that one server stores a few isolated websites. The costs are shared. In general, shared hosting is a good variant for small startups. Dedicated hosting. It is a single server where one site is dedicated. It ensures the stable performance of your site and handles high traffic loads. Virtual private server (VPS) hosting. It is space on a server managed by a cloud or web hosting provider. So, users obtain more storage and customization possibilities. Cloud hosting. This hosting means that many sites are stored within one or more clouds. Cloud hosting offers high flexibility and scalability. The image shows the data transferring process between the digital devices and a virtual server in cloud hosting. Who handles the hosting environment? When selecting the web host, decide who will maintain your software and equipment. There are managed hosting and colocation. Colocation hosting means renting server space in a colocation center. Meanwhile, managed hosting implies that a provider assures the correct functioning of the hosting infrastructure. Consider that the server should handle the loads needed for your platform's seamless performance. Best players in web hosting Codica’s choice - AWS that stands for Amazon Web Services (the Codica team works mainly with this provider), - Microsoft Azure, - DigitalOcean, - Linode, - GCP (Google Cloud Platform). Well-known web hosting providers - GoDaddy, - Bluehost, - Hetzner, - Namecheap. How to pick a web host? Let’s consider the core aspects you need to take into account when selecting a web hosting provider. Performance Users prefer fast-loading sites. The data center's location, the host's hardware, and the server type you choose (dedicated or shared type) affect a web host's performance capability. Let's discuss the aspects that are crucial for good server performance. Server resources The four server elements you need for your solution hosting are the following: - RAM (random-access memory), - CPU (central processing unit), - Storage, - Bandwidth. Bandwidth implies how much data move through your solution at a certain time. Storage implies the data volume you need to process through your platform consistently. Choose the hosting providers with high read and write IOPS (input/output operations per second) and that use the SSD (Solid State Drives). CDN CDN (content delivery network) is a group of interrelated servers located worldwide. As the data need to move through the web, users will get the content of your web solution at a varying speed. The closer the server, the quicker it will access the data. Select credible web hosts if you aim to use CDN for your solution. For instance, they are Imperva, Cloudflare, and KeyCDN. Caching Caching is vital to speed up your solution's loading and enhance user experience. There are two variants of caching: with a plugin or at a server level. When a web host comprises caching at a server level, do not install anything. Your hosting provider has optimized caching for your website. But if your web host does not comprise caching, you should install a plugin. Uptime This aspect means the time when your web solution runs. The higher the uptime, the longer your platform will be accessible to users. An unlimited service does not occur in reality. But you can discuss with a provider 99.99% uptime. Scalability Some enterprises have swinging activities on their platforms. So, they need servers that adjust to great demand and scale down when demand disappears. If you need server scalability for your startup, pick the cloud or hosting solutions that will adapt to shifts in traffic. Security Ensure your hosting provider has all the needed patches and updates. The host has to follow the GDPR standards and protect your platform against DDoS attacks. Let’s consider what hosting security means. Malware scanning and removal Ensure your web host provides a service to scan your web solution for malicious software and remove it. If your web host does not suggest such services, you should apply additional tools like Sucuri. Backups Backups ensure that your solution will be restored in case of some issues or failures. The vital questions about backing up your website are the following: - Does the host make backups of the web solution? - How much time does your host keep the backups? - How often does the host make backups? SSL/TLS certificates Google recommends that a website should have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. Nowadays, web solutions also use TSL (Transport Layer Security) certificates. An SLL or TLS certificate protects the site’s sensitive data, such as personal information or passwords. For example, popular security certificate providers comprise GeoTrust, DigiCert, Comodo CA, and Rapid SSL. Accordance to the GDPR and similar regulations GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the European Union’s document. It governs the data privacy of people in the EU. It is advisable to make your website comply with GDPR. Support The top-quality support means that your solution’s running time issues are solved as fast as possible. Take into account the following points when you pick the hosting provider’s support service. Support level and issues that the host solves Hosts engage experts who will support you via chat or phone. They will also provide you with the knowledge that will assist you in solving minor issues. Resolution and response time Response duration must be short. It is vital for restoring your solution’s work. Resolution time also plays a role. There is a common practice to pass severe tech problems to the 2nd and 3rd levels of support. But some web hosts deal with all levels of hosting issues. Hours of operation If a web host provides support twenty-four hours, verify this is about support. When looking for all-hours assistance, make sure the web host offers their service by this schedule. Support level Consider your resources when estimating the support you need for your web solution. Hosting providers have various plans depending on how much help you need. Ensure that a web host provides easy migration if you shift to another hosting plan. Proactive support A good host will provide you support in the following aspects: - Technologies that assist in autostarting your website; - Keeping up the database optimization; - Employing and scheduling daily backups: - Using the most modern security practices. Proactive support implies your host prevents or removes issues before you spot them. Contact methods The best web hosts provide a range of contact means to connect with them. The most widespread methods include email, live chat, and phone. Moreover, providers use an online support ticket system (Jira Service Desk, ZenDesk). It assists experts in queueing the issues to be resolved. Pricing Pricing is one of the essential aspects to consider when selecting a web host. Paid hosting plans vary according to the provider. Verify if the provider has no hidden charges in their conditions and examine the refund policy. Extras Domain name Looking for a domain name that efficiently presents your web solution is a complex task. We recommend receiving hosting and domain name from the same provider. Email hosting Providers may suggest email capability to their clients (even free). Email hosting is beneficial for enterprises with many emails to send every day. Also, if your email name is branded, it increases the trust in your letters from users. Content management system hosting A CMS (content management system) enables you to change, update, and delete your solution’s data. CMS is a good tool to manage your website if you don’t need a platform with complicated business logic. Examples of CMS are Wix and WordPress. If you use a CMS for your website, pick a web host offering relevant services. Mobile capability for a website The number of mobile Internet users reached 4.32 billion and will only grow. Thus, you need a mobile version of your platform that runs smoothly to attract more users. If your solution is modern and your hosting plan meets your needs, your platform will perform great on all devices. Transfer of current platforms You can transfer the solution because of your business demands or the need to change a web host. Depending on the platform's complexity, it may require time and tech knowledge. The complex web hosting service allows you to switch from one host to another as quickly as possible. Usability of hosting control panel You can access most web hosting functions with the Internet browser. You can manage your website by changing content and watching users' activity through this interface. Also, you can add specific scripts or code according to your solution's demands. Summary The choice of a web hosting service is based on your business demands. If you have a small startup, shared hosting is sufficient. But if you have wavering traffic load on your platform, consider a cloud solution. Whatever hosting services you select, the host must ensure your solution's security and stable performance.