A Simple Guide to Website Hosting Basics
We’ve met clients with numerous questions about web hosting. How does it work, how much will it cost and will my website be affected by my choice of hosting provider? These are some of the common questions we get to answer every day when dealing with businesses that want to launch their new website. So we are here to help you with matters concerning website hosting by providing you with the basic information.
What is website hosting?
For your website to be accessible via the world wide web, it needs to be hosted by a reliable provider. The web hosting service provides a web server together with other technologies that allow your web pages to be retrieved by different browsers to be viewed on your computer or any other device. So hosting is simply a service that enables a website that you have designed to be seen by the world.
What technologies are used in website hosting?
Website hosting can seem a bit intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never bought a plan before. But the good thing is, website hosting providers have made it easy for website owners to publish and manage their websites using different hosting plans. But it is still important to learn the diverse technologies which you will need to use when it comes to website hosting. The technologies used by web hosting providers will depend on several things.
The operating system used by hosting provider
Your website hosting provider may choose to use a Windows or Linux operating system. The two have their own pros and cons. For instance, Windows is usually most appropriate if your website was designed using ASP.net and has an SQL database. On the other hand, if you opt for a service provider who uses Linux as their operating system of choice, then it would be easier for you if your website was designed using open source software like WordPress. Some also claim that Linux servers are more secure compared to Windows. All these elements are important to consider when choosing a hosting plan. Find out which operating system the servers are running on before making a decision.
Will the web hosting provider maintain your database?
Your website may have a lot of information that may need to be updated on a regular basis. This information is likely stored in a database that needs to be properly maintained. Web hosting providers usually utilize various database technologies. The most common ones used today include:
- MySQL: This is an open-source database software that can be used for websites designed using different programming languages. The good thing with this database technology is that it is powerful and very affordable compared to other options like Oracle.
- Oracle: If your website received relatively high volumes of traffic, then the web host should use a database technology such as Oracle in order to make it available at all times. The good thing with Oracle is that it is very reliable and secure plus it is a very common platform used for very busy web pages.
- MS Access: Even though it is still considered a very effective database platform, MS Access can only be used to maintain a simple website that doesn’t serve high traffic volumes. It is easy to use, but is only used for simple websites without a lot of web pages.
The technologies used by different web hosts will depend on the plan you choose. If you are looking for a web hosting package, make sure you understand all these technologies used.
Hosting the website yourself
As a business, you may be tempted to buy your own server and host your web pages yourself. There are several advantages to this approach:
- Better control of your web pages
- Better security management
- Easy to keep your data confidential
Most businesses don’t host their own websites and instead choose a third party service to do it for them. Here’s why hiring a web host is advantageous.
- It’s expensive since you need the right equipment, permanent internet connection and servers
- You will not need website administration skills to manage/configure servers since the web host will be responsible for this.
- The web hosting service provides patch management, virus protection and firewalls
- It frees up the time required to manage websites and enables businesses to focus on aspects that directly affect their bottom line.
Factors to consider when choosing a web hosting service in Kenya
There are numerous web hosting service providers in Kenya. We will give you tips and criteria on how to find the best web hosting solution for your business.
- Customer support: Ensure the web host provides 24/7 support since anything can go wrong when you least expect it.
- FTP access: You should be able to access your control panel 24 hours a day to make changes to your website whenever there’s a need.
- Email accounts: The web host should provide a good number of email accounts with your domain name.
- Database management system: The database management system should be flexible. You also need to be given the option to update your own database system such as MySQL and MS SQL.
- Bandwidth: You should get a reasonable space on the server to accommodate the changing needs of a growing website.
In the event that you need special server applications, you need to find out if the web hosting service provides it and how much they charge. Compare the rates offered by different web hosting providers before you make a decision.