Launching a new start-up can lead to many questions, like “What is hosting and why is it important?” A site owner’s first foray onto the web is an exciting new venture. But it can quickly cost them money if they’re not spending enough on quality web hosting.
Hosting is what makes it possible for people around the world to see and use your website.
High-quality website hosting is an important factor for making your site stand out in a sea of competitors.
Below, we’ll break down the basics to “What is website hosting?” and offer valuable tips and advice for how to find the right web hosting services for your business.
What is hosting?
Think of your website as a house and think of web hosting as the foundation it’s built on. Your hosting company will host your site and all of its assets (pictures, blogs, videos, etc.), while making sure they’re publicly available without interruption.
The mark of a good hosting company is valued by how consistently they ensure your site is available online (measured in uptime). They should also know how quickly your site is able to load for your users (download speed).
Not all hosting companies are created equal, despite what many cheap hosting companies would have you believe.
As you research “What is hosting?,” it might be tempting to try to keep costs down by going with a cheap hosting company for your first website. However, as we will explore today, a cheap host can end up costing you a lot more than you think.
How much should I spend on website hosting?
You may have received emails promising you quality web hosting for about five dollars a year. Do yourself a favour and drag those emails right into your spam folder. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a good host, but you need to invest more than you spent on your morning coffee.
Here is a glance at GoDaddy’s hosting price plans at the time of this writing:
- Economy $5.99 /month (On sale – Save 50%)
- Deluxe $7.99 /month (On sale – Save 46%)
- Ultimate $17.99 /month (On sale – Save 18%)
- Maximum $19.99 /month (On sale – Save 41%)
You can get the latest costs, along with a full breakdown of what’s included with each tier on the Web Hosting page.
Tip: Choosing one of GoDaddy’s Web Hosting annual plans will also get you a free domain name.
Now that we’ve answered “What is hosting?” your next question may be “which plan is right for me?” Generally speaking, if you’re just launching a simple site with a few product/service pages, and maybe a blog, the Economy or Deluxe plans will give you everything you need.
These plans include:
- A custom website address (YourCompany.com)
- A matching email address (You@YourCompany.com)
- Fast and reliable web hosting
If you plan on selling your goods or services online, you might need something more robust. In this case, you might want to go with the Ultimate package. Or, if you’re selling in a very competitive marketplace, you might need the Maximum package.
Keep in mind that you can always start on a lower tier, then upgrade as your venture and your digital needs grow.
Why speed matters
Asking “why does website speed matter?” is equally important as asking “what is hosting?” If you’re a start-up, you can gain a competitive advantage when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
The quality of your hosting impacts how fast your website loads, which has a direct impact on how well you rank with Google.
We can’t say enough about the importance of site speed for SEO in today’s online environment, as Google is rewarding the sites with the best user experiences and the best load times by elevating them in search listings.
And with the majority of clicks going to the first three Google listings for any search, higher is better — no matter what business you’re in.
For a few years now, Google has been saying that a site’s load speed is crucial to rankings. However, Google is really starting to lock-in on page speed as a ranking factor with 2021’s big update, the Core Web Vitals.
This update will expand how we think about speed and how we measure it. Marketers, webmasters and site owners will now have to pay attention to three new speed metrics:
- How long does it take a page to completely load (i.e. Largest Contentful Paint)?
- When the user clicks on something, how long does it take the page to respond (i.e. First Input Delay)?
- When does the layout of the page stop moving during the loading process (i.e. Cumulative layout shift)?
If you go with a quality host, you can rest easy knowing your site is loading as quickly as possible at all times. However, if you go with a cheap host, you should know that they most likely don’t have a lot of resources — and your site speed will suffer from it.
You may notice your speeds drop greatly as your cheap web host adds more customers. Their limited resources may not be able to handle a lot of traffic. At the same time, they may also slow you down on purpose if your traffic starts to use up too much of their bandwidth.
Why uptime matters
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there’s one universal truth in the world of digital marketing:
If your site is down, the person’s next stop is almost certainly a competitor’s website.
You’re basically gift-wrapping leads, sales, and traffic for your competitors.
This doesn’t simply cost you online sales. You could lose foot traffic to your shop if someone is looking for your offering in your area while your site is down.
Other cheap services may attempt to boast about similar uptime numbers. However, it’s important to know that their numbers are often unreliable, at best.
For example, your site may be “up,” according to their definition of uptime. However, their servers could be overloaded and your page could be loading so slowly that it might as well be down.
Why service matters
If something goes wrong and your site goes down, where is your hosting provider? Are they a quick call or click away? Or are they a day or two away with lagging email response times?
Many of the cheap hosting providers out there may not have the time or the resources to respond to your email in a timely fashion. And they certainly won’t have the time to deal with dozens of emails if they experience any sort of outage.
GoDaddy offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They are always there to help you with any of your questions or concerns.
Closing notes on “What is website hosting?”
A lot of first-time website owners and publishers who ask “What is hosting?” will treat the hosting decision as an afterthought. Most of them will simply go with the cheapest hosting provider they can find.
Choosing the right host sets you up for future success. But choosing the wrong host can literally put a cap on your success, as your website and your future digital marketing efforts are hindered by slow speeds, frequent downtime, and a lack of customer support.
When you take a look at the big picture, you can see that there are few things that are as potentially costly as cheap hosting.