As a company specialising in digital marketing, and in particular web design, we are often asked the question ‘What is web hosting?’ Put simply, web hosting is a service that enables your website (webpages and images) to be displayed online. This means having all of your website content stored on a server computer (a ‘host’), where people can then find your site on the internet. There is of course far more to it than this. The service has to be very reliable and secure. It has to provide good performance, backups, technical support, and software updates to mention but a few.
Web hosting is an important part of the web design process and is often overlooked. There is often a view that hosting is all the same, but this could not be further from the truth. There is a wide range of hosting services (and costs) and it is important to understand what you get within any particular package. For example, after having your website designed, the last thing you want is for it to run slowly, suffer downtime, or have any security issues. Also, what technical support do you have should there be an issue with your website? Is it backed up every day and can it be recovered quickly should there be an issue? Hosting plans can also include such things as an SSL certificate (security), domain name management (website address purchase and renewal), and even a content management system (CMS) and web builder software.
Another common statement we hear is ‘but I can get website hosting for £30 a year’, and yes you can, but you will not get all the features listed above for that price. What should you pay for web hosting then? This is where it can become quite confusing as you will see a huge range of prices quoted. You can expect to pay anything from £5 to £40 per month for hosting and for a dedicated server this cost will significantly increase to anywhere from £50 to £400 per month. It is also important to check whether the rate being offered is a low introductory offer which could increase significantly on renewal. It is also worth checking if the costs are based on a longer-term contract and whether payment is loaded at the beginning of the term.
The obvious question is why is there such a variation in costs. As mentioned earlier, the features included are not always the same, which makes it more difficult to draw direct comparisons, and this is before even discussing the different technical solutions, such as shared hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated hosting. For a small to medium-sized business, a shared hosting solution can be the right choice. For a larger more complex website, a dedicated server for your hosting may be more appropriate. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the detailed technical aspects of hosting configurations, but it is worthy of a mention here as it does define the different categories of web hosting which leads to a wide range of hosting costs.
At activ digital marketing we firmly believe it is not the price that is the most important factor, it is the services included for that price and ultimately the value delivered to you as a business owner. We have been hosting websites for over 14 years and we have a dedicated technical support manager to ensure we provide a fantastic service and great value. Our philosophy has always been about providing the best value to our customers, by providing a service that meets the needs of a business website. Our standard hosting starts at £20 per month and includes the following features
Fast & reliable servers
Ongoing security checks
SSL certificate installation and renewal
Domain name purchase and renewal management
Web application firewall
Dedicated technical support
Access to a team of experienced website developers
Premium plugins for speed and caching (value £45 per year)
SEO and security plugin bundle (value £80 per year)
Elementor website builder (for those who want to update their site, value £45)
In addition to the above, we can also offer a bespoke hosting solution if required and we will always advise on the best solution for a particular website. Why not contact us to find out more about our fantastic hosting solutions and how we could support you and your business.