The Complete Guide to Choosing Your Website Hosting
During a project to create or redesign a website, the question of the choice of host necessarily arises. And it is not negligible, since the latter has a decisive role for your site. But faced with the multitude of offers and technical characteristics to study, the choice can quickly become a headache…
Don’t panic, we are here to help you! We explain in this article what criteria to use to choose the ideal web host for your project .
What is a web host?
In short, a web host is a service provider that ensures the “publication” of your website and makes it accessible to all Internet users . To do this, the host rents storage space on a server permanently connected to the Internet. Generally it also offers various tools to configure, administer and secure this space.
Its mode of operation is relatively simple:
web development professionals upload your site’s structural files to the web host’s server
users make a request to access your website (for example: by directly typing its domain name )
the host sends the files used to display the pages of your site, which are stored on its server, to the users’ browser
explanatory diagram of how a web host works
What criteria should be used to choose your web host?
The type of web hosting
It is necessary to know how to distinguish the different types of web hosting if you want to make a choice adapted to the needs of your site . Here are the ones you will encounter most often.
The principle of shared hosting consists of renting part of the storage space available on a web server to several site owners . Concretely, this means that hundreds of sites are hosted on the same server as you and share the latter’s resources. This can therefore affect the performance of your site because of the others, potentially more resource-intensive. In addition, this type of hosting rarely allows you to configure the server according to your needs.
However, it is the most generic choice in terms of hosting. Because in addition to being inexpensive, it is suitable for the majority of business showcase sites, one-page sites or blogs and supports (depending on the offers) up to approximately 10,000 visits per month.
Conversely, dedicated hosting allows you to rent a full server for a single site . It is then possible to configure the server as you see fit and to adapt it to the needs of your website.
This type of hosting is very efficient, since only your site uses the resources of the server. It is also more secure than shared hosting. On the other hand, it is more expensive than the latter and requires solid technical knowledge to take full advantage of its capabilities.
It is rather recommended for large e-commerce stores or business applications for internal use. In particular to ensure the security of company data or to deal with a large number of visits.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is a good compromise between shared hosting and dedicated hosting . The idea of VPS is to “cut” a physical server into several virtual servers using specific software ( server virtualization ).
Thus several websites can be hosted on this physical server, but each of them is managed independently of the others. In the same way that a tenant has control over his apartment, but cannot make changes to his neighbors or to the entire building.
This type of hosting allows a certain flexibility in the configuration and management (restart, shutdown, etc.) of the virtual server. It also offers a very good performance/price ratio for those who do not necessarily have the technical skills to use dedicated hosting or who do not have the need for such power.
It is ideal for medium-sized e-commerce sites, as well as highly frequented showcase and institutional sites.
Cloud hosting consists of installing a website on a group of servers connected to each other . These operate as a single server and distribute the load related to traffic fluctuations, in order to ensure the availability of the site to Internet users.
Your site or application therefore no longer uses a specific physical machine but accesses a “group of servers”. When new machines are connected to this group, its resources increase. They thus adapt to traffic peaks, hourly and/or seasonal demand. And if one server fails, the others will compensate for its load and ensure the continuity of the service.
The main advantage of this solution therefore lies in its great flexibility. It promotes flexibility of use and scalability of server resources while isolating them (only your site benefits). And in terms of billing, you only pay for the resources you use in real time.
This type of hosting is ideal for large e-commerce stores, sites with high traffic or sites that must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or even multinationals.
The performance of the host
The technical performance of the host is decisive for the proper functioning of your website . You should pay attention to these four indicators:
It corresponds to the amount of data sent over the network simultaneously. Its performance will greatly impact the loading time of the pages of your site . You must therefore check that it can support your traffic forecasts. Do not forget to take into account any peaks in attendance linked to seasonality (Black Friday, for example) or a marketing campaign. Your needs will be rather high if several users must be able to watch videos at the same time on your site.