As with most things digital, there are some website industry terms that it helps to be familiar with. One of those is website hosting. Whether you are planning your first website, or you have an existing website, understanding the basics of website hosting will be beneficial.
So, what is website hosting and how does it work? How much does website hosting cost?
What is Website Hosting?
Website hosting refers to the location of your website’s files and databases (files and databases are usually the main elements that make up a site). In its simplest form, this means a server in a data centre.
So, let’s use this simple form of website hosting as an example. When someone types the address of your website – your domain name – into their browser, a few things happen. First, the domain name is translated into what is known as an IP address. An IP address is a unique numerical label that identifies each device on a computer network. In this example, the device is the server that contains your website, and the network is the internet.
As the domain name is now translated to an IP address, the browser can now connect with the server hosting your website. That server then sends the files to the user’s browser so they can view the site.
Of course, all this happens in a matter of seconds and requires no involvement from you or the user. However, the example shows what website hosting does and its importance.
To summarise, website hosting refers to the actual location of your website. Therefore, it is an essential requirement.
How Does Website Hosting Work?
Most website hosting services operate on a monthly fee basis. There are multiple website hosting providers to choose from, as well as several different types of website hosting.
Some of the website hosting options available are very complex, expensive, and resource-intensive to manage. For the majority of small businesses in New Zealand, such hosting services are not recommended.
The better alternative is managed website hosting, where a company looks after all the technical bits, leaving you to focus on your site.
Common Types of Website Hosting for Small Businesses in New Zealand
The main types of website hosting include:
- Shared hosting: Your website resides on a server that includes many other websites. It is typically the cheapest form of website hosting and is ideal for many small business websites.
- VPS hosting: Similar to shared hosting, your website sits on a server that also has a lot of other websites. The main difference is that you are allocated specific resources on that server. In other words, you get a virtual server to host your site. This option is more expensive than shared hosting, but it offers better performance and more control.
- Dedicated hosting: Here, you rent an entire server. So, the only things that run on that server are the things you put there, including your website. It is a much more expensive option than the previous two, with advantages that include a further step up in performance and enhanced control.
- Cloud hosting: The latest in hosting technology, this is where your website’s files will be stored in the cloud, rather than on a physical server in a data centre. This option falls in the middle of those above in terms of cost. The biggest benefit is scalability.
How Much Does Website Hosting Cost?
Typical website hosting costs start from less than $100 a year. More expensive options will be several hundred dollars a year.
The services provided by website hosting companies, how they charge, and the quality of the service they provide can vary greatly. If you are unsure about how to choose, give us a ring and we can help you pick the best option for your business.