Creating your online brand is an exciting time. There’s a lot to think about, from the colours that you select, to the fonts you use. Your web pages needed to be packed with useful, relevant and engaging content, carefully chosen to draw web visitors in.

But there’s much more to creating a website than simply building the site itself. The really important part of the operation is getting it published online. Once it’s up and running, you can start working on your marketing efforts to make sure it gets seen by the right people, at the right time.

But for now, we’re concerned with the publishing element. No matter how beautiful your new website looks and regardless as to how much time, care and attention has been devoted to it, getting it online is the real key to success.

But what is a web hosting provider?

For all those readers asking themselves, ‘But what is a web hosting provider? And what does it do?’, we’re here to help.

A web hosting provider owns servers, usually located in vast, temperature-controlled data centres, where teams of software and hardware engineers ensure that everything is maintained at optimum performance levels. And that’s hugely important, since any downtime could result in business losses for everyone with affected websites.

Even the biggest companies aren’t immune to web hosting problems. Internet giant, Amazon, found its site crashing on Amazon Prime Day in 2018 as it was swamped by customers in search of bargains. Your own business might not have such high volumes of visitor numbers as the internet giant, but you certainly don’t want to deter any of them with an inaccessible website!

What should I look for in a web hosting provider?

Every business has completely different needs, so what suits one is unlikely to be the perfect fit for another. That’s why web hosting providers tend to offer a wide variety of hosting plans. It lets every business owner pick and choose the features that appeal to them most.

But to get you started, here are some of the main points you need to consider when deciding on the best web hosting provider for your brand new website.

How much are you prepared to spend?

The cheapest isn’t necessarily the best, but it’s not guaranteed to be the worst either. So be sure to do your homework and read reviews from other customers before making up your mind. Rather than thinking of the costs in terms of unwanted expenditure, think of it as an investment in your business. Your website is an always-open showroom so it’s working on your behalf all day and all night too.

How big is your business?

Web hosting providers generally offer a variety of plans, so you’ll find options for every size and type of business. Whether you’re a blogger who’s just starting out, or an entrepreneur with several sites ready to launch, there will be a plan to suit your needs.

Shared hosting is the cheapest option. This gives your website a tiny portion of a server, which is shared by hundreds of other businesses. It’s great for small businesses which don’t expect very high volumes of traffic.

A Virtual Private Server, also known as a VPS, is better suited to larger businesses with higher visitor numbers. Here, the hosting provider allocates a specific section of a server to your site, giving you much more space. This isn’t just to cater for thousands of visitors; the extra space gives useful storage for your website data too, including all the products you sell. And you’ll have much more control over your website than with shared hosting.

For even larger concerns, there’s the option of a dedicated server, giving ultimate levels of control over website use and data. It’s more expensive, but you get unrivalled functionality, making it the best option for businesses with high volumes of traffic.

Scalability

Even if you’re starting out as a small business, you still need to know that your web hosting provider can offer you the capability to expand and grow your website over time. Look for simple site migration tools that will make switching plans easier when the time comes to scale up.

Support

Unless you’re absolutely confident with technology, you’re almost certain to need some help now and again. So look for a web hosting provider that is there to help whenever you need it.

Got 5 minutes?

Check out our recent blog post, where we dig further into the different types of Web Hosting.

If you’d like to have a wander around the services and products that we have to offer, check us out at names.co.uk.