Any website that is visible online is hosted by a web server. When choosing a web hosting service you will want to find a reliable service with limited downtime, as well as responsive and knowledgeable customer support.

Another crucial aspect of web hosting is loading time for your web pages. If a potential customer visits your site and clicks on a web page, they expect it to load almost instantly. Any lag in loading time will contribute a high bounce rate for your website, which is definitely something you want to avoid. 

People just don’t seem to have the patience anymore to wait any more than a second or two, and if your web pages are slow to load you can bet they will quickly bounce.

If you are currently in the market to have a website built by a professional web designer, then it is very convenient to use their hosting services as well.

Web Hosting Features

An effective web hosting service will offer several key features to make your hosting experience straightforward. One of the advantages of a good web hosting service is not having to ever worry about it because downtime is limited, and problems are dealt with efficiently.

Some features to consider when choosing a web hosting service, may include:

  • Bandwidth
  • Storage
  • Functions
  • Uptime
  • Dedicated or Shared IP

Bandwidth

The amount of bandwidth you require for your website depends on how much data transfer you will be performing on a monthly basis.

Bandwidth refers to the maximum rate at which data can be transferred over a network or internet connection at any given time.

Data transfer is the transmission of information from one point to another using a specific communication method. For example, when you add content to your website, it gets uploaded to the internet and is stored in an online file storage system, like NAS (Network Access Storage) or SAN (Storage Area Network).

When a visitor accesses a page on your website, the data is then transferred, or downloaded, to their computer.

The amount of bandwidth you need will depend on the amount of content you will be uploading to your website, as well as how much traffic your site will be getting.

Storage

The amount of storage, or disc space, you require for your website is also dependent on the amount of content on your website and how much you will be adding on a regular basis.

Website content includes text, images, video, downloadable links, and other files connected to your site.

Storage space can also be made available for log files generated by the server to offer data analytics about visitor behavior on your website.

Functions

There is a diverse range of features and options that web hosting companies offer to provide greater functionality for users. These functions are used for creating content and uploading it to your website.

Some features you might want to think about, are:

  • Number of domains you can host
  • Amount of disc space
  • Amount of data transfer
  • Security
  • Caching
  • Apps & Plugins
  • Site builder
  • Email
  • Site transfer
  • C Panel

The specific features you are looking for will depend on whether you are building your own site or having it done professionally.

If you are going the DIY route, you want to have an easy to use C Panel (control panel), site building tools, and excellent customer support.

If you are transferring an existing website to a new hosting service, you want to make sure they can handle your site transfer.

If you are having a website built professionally, it is practical to use the same company for hosting services.

Uptime

A reliable web host provider should be able to guarantee an uptime of 99.9%. If visitors are landing on your website, only to find it is not available, this is not good for business.

Potential customers are not likely to return to your site if they visit it and the site is down. They will likely jump across to the competition.

Website downtime also reflects poorly on your SEO rankings.

Dedicated or Shared IP

Whether you require a dedicated or shared IP address for your website will depend on the nature of your website and what is being used for.

A shared IP address means that you will be sharing your IP with other websites being hosted on the host server. Shared IP is a less expensive web hosting option, and works fine for fairly low volume websites.

A dedicated IP address means that your website will have a unique IP address on the server. Dedicated IP hosting is recommended for large e-commerce sites or those focusing on email marketing strategies.