What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a service which allows companies, organisations and individuals to make a website available online. Each website is stored on a special type of computer called a ‘server’ which as the name suggests can serve pages to requesting devices such as your phone, tablet or laptop.

To access the website, an internet user enters your domain name (this web site’s domain name is ‘netmonics.com’ for example) into a browser which will connect to the correct server and display the relevant web page.

The wikipedia defines hosting as follows:

A web hosting service (often shortened to web host) is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center.

Taken from the Wikipedia

Website Uptime

Website uptime is the time that a website is available to users in a given period. The downtime/uptime ratio is usually calculated as a percentage. Some downtime is expected, usually for planned maintenance.  If you want to host your website yourself, you can check what the hosting company claims for uptime,  bear in mind that a 99.9% uptime amounts to 8 hours 45 minutes per year.

A poor performing website or slow pages within a website will cause a downgrading in the search results. Google simply won’t want to send users to dead or slow sites.

Backups

A backup is an exact copy of your website, this includes all the files and folders which comprise the site.

All websites are vulnerable to loss due to malware, hackers, failed software updates and even accidental deletion of content.

Once a backup is taken it’s stored securely and is available to allow the website to be restored to a previous state.

Backups can be scheduled to occur at regular intervals or performed manually before a software update.

Site Monitoring

Tools such as Uptime Robot (https://uptimerobot.com/) checks the web site periodically and will send a message if the site is down. So it’s possible to track the uptime automatically. Obviously, you may not be aware of the total down time but your potential customers and Google will which can cause a loss of business.

Support

Good support is critical when there’s an issue, some hosting companies offer a chat channel so simple problems can be resolved there. If it gets a bit more involved there can be a ticketing system which can combine well with the chat channel. It is only with experience that we get to know the response times from a given hosting company. Without a chat channel all issues have to go through the ticketing system which can take hours to even get started and the conversation can spread over days.

Software Updates

We build websites using the WordPress CMS, like all software new versions appear with bug and security fixes and new features. The software needs to be upgraded from time to time.

Each site will also use a number of plugins each of which also needs upgrading. Care needs to be taken in selecting plugins that will be maintained for the lifetime of the website. Any outdated obsolete plugins will eventually need to be replaced with an equivalent.

Shared Servers

This is where a website is installed on the same server with other sites, this can range from a few sites to hundreds. The sites can share common resources such as memory and CPU time.

Some hosting companies cram far too many sites on one server which does affect performance.

Use this service to find other sites hosted on the same web server as your current site:
https://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/web-sites-on-web-server/

4 or 5 is OK but if you see see hundreds then there could be an performance issue at times.

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