In the 2020s, we all need to be online. This is the same you are an individual working as an independent contractor, an entrepreneur starting a new company, or part of an organization with a larger footprint. The Internet is the place where we spend much of our time and where business gets done.
Your first step for a new project or brand will often be to find a domain name. This is the internet address that people can use to find your website, and it can include a mailbox so you can receive emails.
The next step is to find hosting for your web project, which is the online space allocated to your website.
The type of hosting you choose will determine the type of server your online home is stored on. But the endless variety of possible uses for your online space calls for some careful planning when it comes to choosing the best hosting solution for you. The tools you decide to run will determine the most appropriate power, storage, and bandwidth options for your business.
In this article, we will describe the various types of hosting available before diving into the practical implications of the services you might be thinking of installing on your site. We will cover a few popular platforms and their best fit in terms of hosting plans.
Hosting ensures that your internet presence is always on and connected to the network. This is made possible by your server, and the platform it serves can be a website, email communications, a database, sales software, streaming media, or an online store.
There are three main types of server used in hosting:
No matter which kind of hosting you go for, the best hosting companies provide unlimited power supplies and strong network connections that guarantee that the server is almost always running all these important services — at least 99% of the time.
With a shared hosting plan, your server is shared with other clients. You store your site and have access to a slice of the server’s resources.
This can be like living in an apartment in an apartment block. You have your own private space but you are still sharing the building with your neighbors.
Just like with an apartment, tenants are limited as to the amount of space and features they have. This depends on the plan you sign up for, with some suppliers offering more than others.
Here’s an overview of what Namecheap Shared Hosting offers its customers:
One thing to remember is that when you are sharing a machine with other users, you are at the mercy of their conduct. This means that if two or three users are overusing their resources, the performance of your site could potentially be affected.
With a virtual private server (VPS) plan, you get more than just a slice on a shared server. You can see this as living in a townhouse, where you have your own environment.
Compared to shared hosting, your neighbors are further away and you are less affected by them, though they still use the same hardware as you. You are guaranteed a processing capacity and a working memory allocation that can’t get squeezed when there is a surge in unrelated traffic.
VPS is a step up from shared hosting. This is what you will get with Namecheap VPS Hosting:
VPS gives you more freedom to set things up as you like. The flip side to this freedom is increased responsibility. There is more potential for damaging things, and you will need to fix any difficulties yourself, if you didn’t budget for advanced technical support.
If you need complete control over your hardware and the operating system then a dedicated server is your best option. A dedicated hosting plan gives you a whole server to yourself while using the hosting provider’s network.
This is suitable if you are offering comprehensive services to a high number of users. It allows you to freely choose your operating system and configure the optimizations it runs. Having full control over the hardware allows you to maximize performance. That's why it's best for advanced hosting needs like gaming, video streaming, and database servers.
Having your own server is the highest stage of hosting. Here’s what you get with Dedicated Server Hosting from Namecheap:
This tier is suited to people who have some technical ability. This might not be best for those starting out, but it’s always possible to move up to a dedicated server at a later stage.
When you’ve bought your domain, you probably have some idea of what you would like to use it for. You might be interested in it mainly as a place to win over new clients and communicate with the existing customers of your small business. This could mean setting up the following:
For a simple landing page, you can get by using an entry-level shared hosting plan. This will hold HTML and CSS files for your text layouts and navigation, plus photos and graphics to enhance your site’s visual identity. That requires very little processing power, and the storage you need will be easy to calculate from the elements you upload.
If your business communications require maximum flexibility in email administration with powerful anti-spam filters, lots of automated processing, and strict retention policies, then you might want to run your own email server on a dedicated server that is reliable and expandable.
Or you might want to set up tools there to help you with various aspects of your production or marketing. In that case, you would be looking into installing something like:
Sandbox environments allow you to put up a prototype of your site or of parts of your sites for testing. When you have a team of people responsible for different stages of development, each person will need to have their own login. This is an advanced need that can be accommodated with VPS.
Automated testing and continuous build tools can be computationally demanding. Your setup needs to be able to handle spikes without shutting out other legitimate concurrent requests of the server. The preferred way to handle this would be on a dedicated server where you can monitor and restrict exactly how the hardware is allocated to different tasks.
If you are an app developer, it is likely that your creations rely on a back-end server to store media assets and data used in-app. You will need to find the sweet spot to ensure low lag times even when the number of concurrent users ramps up. While it is possible to start with a shared server, a VPS will be the safer bet in the long run.
It’s also possible that the content on your site will be your main product. Through subscriptions, ads, and affiliate links you can monetize your writing, your videos, or your audio content. This is where the following solutions can help:
A shared server with blogging software or forum scripts as part of the set of available software you can install will be enough to support a medium-sized blog with a handful of authors or a small forum for up to a few hundred conversations a year. Once you get into serious media streaming, on the other hand, you will want to look at a VPS or a dedicated server to handle the load in a predictable fashion.
No online strategy needs to be set in stone. These categories are not rigid. The flexibility you gain once you have set up your online home is tremendous. You can add a forum to your landing page if you decide that is how you can best build a community around your products or services. A good hosting provider such as Namecheap will make it easy to right-size your server package as your needs grow. Namecheap’s team can assist with the upgrade as your needs change over time.
Something to consider when looking for website hosting is the search engine optimization (SEO) options it offers.
SEO is an important factor in bringing more visitors to your site, so it’s useful if the search engine is something your hosting takes into account.
That’s much easier when you have RelateSEO, which is an SEO tool from Namecheap that helps you work with search engines for the best results, and follow your progress more easily.
Learn more about the future of SEO.
In most cases, websites are not created by their owner. Content management systems (CMSs) enable disparate web services that include blogs, gallery administration for photographers, shopping carts for online stores, workflow facilities for media editors, and task-management software for project managers.
If a fairly static website is all you need, then you can build it using the website builder that comes with Namecheap’s Shared hosting. It is an easy way to build a website for newbies.
For more control, you can opt for a flat-file site generator such as Bludit, Grav, or Kirby. These tools allow you to edit text, graphics, and layout of your site in a visual interface, and then they create a file structure that you upload to your server’s web directory via secure file transfer and that’s all that’s needed to create your website.
Websites built by CMSs are fast and light on your server’s resources. For agencies that make many one-off websites for clients with hosting included, this approach can be made to run on a simple shared server with multisite capabilities, such as Namecheap’s Stellar Plus.
You may also consider Reseller Hosting and transitioning to the role of broker of wholesale server resources.
For creating a good-looking, responsive dynamic blog, content management platforms such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla let you confidently set up your own regularly updating and responsive site. Plus they allow you to leverage thousands of plugins representing a plethora of tools for layout and design, search engine marketing and optimization, and content creation and distribution.
The problem with tricking your site out with more and more powerful extensions can put a serious burden on your server. A basic, well-tuned WordPress engine can fit in far less than half a gigabyte of RAM when it is serving hundreds of connections per hour.
But if you get hooked on fancy layout plugins and data-hungry SEO modules, then you might be in for RAM and CPU hits that make shared server hosting out of the question.
People looking for web hosting for blogs are often after the same things. A suitable host can save resources by cleverly pooling some of the content management and plugin functionality across several blogs.
That is why for performance, reliability, and security, the most economical solution will probably be managed WordPress hosting, such as EasyWP. The hosting company takes care of keeping the core code and the plugins up-to-date on their security patches and implementing performance-boosting caching architectures. All you have to do is create the content.
There are packages that allow you to run an entire e-commerce store right on your website. Leading engines include the WordPress plugin WooCommerce and the open-source platforms Prestashop and OpenCart. They offer beautiful templates for catalog views and product pages, shopping carts, payments, and financial reporting. They are free to run but some extensions come at an extra cost.
If you are running a small store without too much traffic, then shared hosting can handle the load of one of these engines.
There are many amazing things you can do with your slice of the internet. Even with almost no technical skills, you can produce a sophisticated site that offers a beautiful space for you to showcase your talents, sell your products, and build your brand for years to come.
You can start with beginner-friendly shared hosting and learn the basics before moving up to a VPS plan or a dedicated server. The skills you will have picked up along the way will ensure that the future will be firmly in your hands.
Whatever your specific requirements happen to be, you will find the answer with the flexible hosting options from Namecheap.