Some of my favorite childhood memories are centered around birthdays. It’s the one day of the year that kids get to reap all the benefits of being the center of all the adults’ attention, so of course, birthdays are some of the best days. Good parties don’t have to be extravagant to be fun. All you need is some food, activities and a reason to get together. Good party hosts try not to get stressed out by the planning process, because they know to put one thing first: their guests.
This “good host” mindset works well in plenty of other situations, too. Much to my surprise, it even helps when you’re building a website. One of the first things to know about building a website is that it’s going to need a “host.” If you’re anything like I was before I started learning about technology services, you probably have no idea what website hosting means. That’s where I come in. Learning how to host a website isn’t complicated, but there are definitely some important questions that need to be answered on the topic. In this article, I’ll explain the concept of hosting a website and why it’s necessary, but more importantly, I’ll help you learn how to host a website.
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“Host” Definition (What Does it Mean?)
One of the first things to know about building a website is that you’re going to need a place to host that website, but what does “host” mean? According to Google, a host is “a person who receives or entertains other people as guests.” Okay, but how does that relate to website hosting?
Google also gives this “host” definition: a way to “store (a website or other data) on a server or other computer so that it can be accessed over the Internet.” But that first definition is more fun, so let’s roll with it for a second. If your website is a party guest, then it needs a place to party, right? That’s where the party host comes in, with their prime party location (on the beach, if you ask me), delicious snack options and fun activities. But what if the directions to the party weren’t clear, the location was too small or the activities were super lame? Call me high-maintenance, but if the party host didn’t give their guests everything they needed to have a good time, they probably wouldn’t stick around.
Hosting a website works in the same way. Hosts give your website everything it needs to serve your audiences and online users in the best way possible. These things include: adequate storage and bandwidth. If you want to feature videos, images and other multimedia content on your website, you need a host that offers storage plans to fit those needs. You also need a host that guarantees it can handle the volume of information your website can communicate to online users, which is also known as your website’s bandwidth. Good web hosts also allow you to easily make changes to your website, migrate your site from other hosting services and analyze your site’s performance so you can continue to make it even better. Like good party hosts, good website hosts focus on one thing: making sure their guests are happy.
Why Do I Need Hosting for My Website?
If you’ve ever hosted your own party, you know that dealing with third-party vendors (or even friends-slash-errand-runners) can be difficult. They mean well, but it’s hard to hand the reins over to someone who might not have the same vision or goals for your party. This can happen with web hosting services, too. But when it comes to building a website, there are two unavoidable facts: you need hosting, and it’s probably not going to be free.
You need hosting because your website can’t just float around in cyberspace. If it did that, your audience would never find it, and then what would be the point of having a website at all? Even though websites aren’t technically physical, they still take up physical space, and someone needs to manage that space.
This storage space is found on physical servers, which look like stacks of black boxes with a bunch of little blinking lights. But those black boxes are the place your website “lives”, kind of like the destination of a party. Much like the host of a party, the companies who own these servers make sure your website has everything it needs to function effectively and serve your customers well. If you build your website with complex code, or if you implement lots of pages and plugins, you’re going to need plenty of storage. Like I mentioned earlier, good hosting companies provide that storage space, plus other valuable features like top-notch security, bandwidth, backups and customer service.
However, there are obviously bad hosting companies. When choosing a hosting service provider, make sure that the one you choose puts one thing first: you. If your hosting provider isn’t focused on making sure you are happy and satisfied as its customer, then I can bet your website won’t make your audiences happy either.
Why Hosting Your Own Website is a Bad Idea
Don’t let the thought of finding the best hosting provider overwhelm you. Since there are so many out there, it can be easy to just throw caution to the wind and ask yourself, “Why not host my own website?” While this is certainly possible, we don’t recommend self-hosting.
It puts your site’s security at risk
One of the biggest reasons is that self-hosting can lead to major security risks on your website. According to SleeplessMedia.com, when you host your website on your own network, you make yourself and your website more open to attacks that target vulnerable websites. Even if you’re not engaged in eCommerce or another high-risk online market, these attacks can harm you and your goals. It doesn’t matter if your company or organization is big or small; a lot of these attacks are automated, and they don’t discriminate when it comes to your website’s messaging.
Think about all the time and effort you could spend building your website, just to have it crash because of an avoidable security breach. For some people, these attacks aren’t just annoying; they’re detrimental. Businesses have been known to fail because their websites did. If you want to take security seriously, you’re going to have to find a hosting provider that can handle these risks for you and fortifies your website against attacks.
It’s less reliable
Another risk of hosting your own website is lack of reliability. When you self-host, you are at the mercy of your local power supply, internet service and even your own employees. What if the power goes out? What if an employee or guest trips over a poorly placed cord and breaks your network’s connection? What will happen to your site? How will a dead site impact your audience? Your revenue? Your goals? It might feel like you have more control over your website when you host it on your own network, but in reality, you lose it. When your local service providers fail, your site probably will too, and there’s no guarantee when you’ll get service again. This is not only annoying for you, but also for your audience and all online users. I find it really frustrating to lose my place or progress on a website because the site glitches or shuts down completely, and it makes me less likely to want to visit that site again or recommend it to my friends.
It’s more costly, and more complicated
Hosting your own website may sound cheaper than finding a hosting provider, but it’s important to note the hidden expense and fees you are sure to encounter. If you’re hosting your own website (or multiple websites), you’re going to need faster internet, right? That’s going to cost money. You’re also going to need your own permanent (or static) IP address, which (again) costs money. And your own equipment. And external backups. And contracting consultants to help you troubleshoot issues when they arise (and they will, sorry not sorry.)
All of these features have one thing in common: They cost money! (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.)
What’s the Best Way to Host a Website?
My point is simply that you’re going to have to pay for extra equipment, service and support anyway, so why not get it all in one place? Good hosting providers want you to get the biggest bang for your buck, so they’re going to make sure all these features run smoothly.
If you don’t want to rack up extra costs and risk security breaches, you’re going to want to find a good hosting provider to handle these features for you. Maybe you’re already struggling in the clutches of the bad guys–hosting services that aren’t putting you first. Well, have I got news for you …
How to Host a Website with WP Super Host
WP Super Host is here to save the day. With our diverse pricing plans, learning how to host a website is easier and more efficient than ever. Starting with our Sidekick plan at $19 a month (billed annually), you can host one website that serves 30,000 customers with 5gb of storage and 100 GB of bandwidth. If you’re looking to do a bit more heavy lifting, our Titan plan allows you to host 30 websites. And if you’re still needing something else, our team will work with you to figure out a customizable solution that best suits your needs.
Other hosting providers want to trick you into thinking you’re getting a great deal because they offer “more” features. But let’s be honest. That’s because those other “features” are add-ons that should be free anyway, especially since many of them are non-essential to the operation of your site. WP Super Host offers these features absolutely free, because we’ve taken the time to assess what website owners really need from their website hosts. Like intuitive user dashboards, super fast setup, PHP 7.4 capabilities, staging and development environments…the list goes on! But don’t forget that we offer these features for one reason only: we truly believe they’ll help you succeed.
And we do it for some of the lowest rates! If you want to learn more about how our hosting plans stack up against our competitors, check out this pricing comparison page. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Just like party hosts, website hosts have to put their guests (or customers) first. That means offering the best and safest features for your website at the lowest cost. There are a lot of bad hosting companies out there, so make sure you check out all the ways WP Super Host can save the day.