Hosting, what is it, what to choose and why

A lot of people ask us about hosting and the different options available. The choice is highly important and will decide your page speed, reliability of the site and also how successful your website will be.

Firstly, we want to explain a little bit about hosting, the different options and how they work.

Secondly, when you know the different options, it should be fairly easy to choose the one that’s right for you and your website.

 

What is hosting

A host, or web host, refers normally to a company that rents out servers so that people and companies can publish their files online.

Normally these servers are in a data centre somewhere. A data centre is a room or a building fitted with a really good internet connection, redundant electricity, air conditioning, fire safety and other safety measurements.

A server is, simply put, a kick-ass computer with a lot of extra resources. A lot of processing power, memory and storage. Way more than you would normally need in your home or office computer.

 

What is a web hotel

A web hotel is the service the customer rents to keep their files on. This can be a website, database, etc. What you normally rent is just a small part of the server. Small companies use a tiny amount. Bigger companies might rent scalable server service, and big companies have their own servers. Often placed side by side the “public” servers, in the same server centres.

You would normally tie up a domain with your web hotel to open up for e-mail, databases and file transferring.

 

Different hosting platforms

Your hosting solution is normally available for different platform. Main platforms are Linux and Windows. What you choose is base on the coding language you want to use.

We work primarily with WordPress and PHP and will then use a Linux server. If you want to run ASP or ASP.NET you need a windows server. You can run PHP on a windows server but most hosting providers do not recommend this.

 

Do the servers need to be close to where your clients are?

The general answer is, not very close. If you are in Europe, Europe is close enough. Local hosting can be quite expensive and is often not noticeably faster. This does not mean that they are bad. Real estate in Gibraltar is at a premium and the cost simply needs to be high.

We normally say that as long as all documentation, support, etc. is in English and the servers are in Europe. Your site will be fine.

We also highly recommend using a CDN (content delivery network). We always include it and this will save a cache “copy” of your website on many different servers around the world.

PS: You can test your latency/ping by opening Command prompt and type in: ping yourdomain.gi (change yourdomain.gi with whatever domain you want to test)

 

The different hosting types available

Normally when we speak about hosting, we speak about shared hosting. This is by far the most used solution on the market. We will only go through shared and managed. These are the two real options for small and medium companies.

The market is quite saturated and words like unlimited, lightning speed and premium are used a bit too freely, so before you go ordering something, have a read about it. What do you really get included?

 

Shared hosting

We talked a bit about it earlier, but shared hosting shares the server with other sites. You get your allocated space, but there might be 100s of other web sites on the same server with many different needs. The hosting company will use software that controls the resources you get. So keep that in mind when reading about SSD, premium, etc. If the software on the server is not working correctly, your site might not work as it should, it might be slow and it can even break.

The positive is that this option is normally dirt cheap. It can get you up and running for 30-40£ a year.

 

Managed hosting

As you can see here, we only offer managed hosting in Gibraltar. It has the same allocation as shared solutions but its made for WordPress. It does not have to be able to run Joomla, Laravel and other CMSs. This has some genuine positives;

Firstly, the software on the server is tailored for WordPress. You get faster and better sites because the operating system, file system and commando tools are optimized for this one CMS.

Secondly, it can take care of your site for you automatically. The security is handled, you will always hold the latest approved version of WordPress and Plugins and all in all the site will just work.

Last but not least, a daily backup of the whole website will be taken. Meaning, if the site breaks, you can be up and running again within minutes. Not days. And this service is normally included in the price.

The drawback of Managed hosting vs. Normal shared hosting is the price. You get a proper premium hosting solution but, it also comes at a premium. We would never skimp on this but understand that a nice low price seems a bit to good to let go. Your web site will still normally be OK, but we do not aim for OK when really freaking good is just around the corner.

PS: We include managed hosting in all our Website solutions.

If you want to have a chat about a solution for your website, we are more than happy to talk to you. And you can contact us here

 

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