Breakdown Of Website Hosting
If you need a website, you need web hosting. You’ve probably heard about domain names or DNS mapping. After providing support to people who we’ve designed and built websites for, I realize that a lot of folks either have trouble differentiating all these different pieces, or understanding how they work together to make a live website.
In this post, I’d like to break down how hosting works from a high-level, stripped-down view, and then talk a bit about how we handle hosting for our clients at Creative.
What is Website Hosting?
Your website is a glorified bundle of files, plain and simple.
Figure 1: Nothing glamorous here – basic WordPress 4.9.5 install
is just a lump of files like any other site.
You could download your website’s files in a zip folder, and you’d have them all. But you couldn’t type your website into a browser and visit it – it wouldn’t be live. Why? Because your files need to live on a server in order to make them accessible to users. When we search for a new home, we look for houses or apartments. Website files look for servers. Hosting is the process of housing these files on a server.
Where do Domain Names Come into Play?
Just like every house has an address, every server has an IP address. While IPs serve an important role in domain mapping, they’re long and difficult to remember. Try copy/pasting 188.8.131.52 into your browser now. Going to ebay.com is a lot easier, isn’t it?
That’s the beauty of domain names – they attach simple, easy-to-remember names to the location of your website’s files. You obtain a domain name from your registrar (i.e. GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc.) Our favorite is Amazon’s Route 53, since propagation times are blazing fast. GoDaddy is good too since it’s been around forever and is fairly well established. The most important takeaway here is that your registrar is usually different from your web host. However, that does not have to be the case. You can have your registrar and web host remain the same,
A domain name won’t work unless it directs users to your server’s address where the website files live. This is all done in the domain’s zone files. (There’s lots to be read about this online already, and this blog post won’t dig that deep.)
Figure 2: Zone files in the DNS Management portion of your registrar
(the place you bought your URL.)
TL;DR: Your registrar has your domain name, and your host has your site’s files on a server. Your domain name directs users to your site’s files on their server, which makes a website ‘live’.
Hosting at Creative MMS
We like to use WordPress for our clients because we believe that it gives them the best ROI on their purchase of a custom site. Since WordPress has become one of the most popular and widely-used CMS-es (Content Management Systems) on the web, many hosting companies have specialized in hosting WordPress sites exclusively. We offer hosting packages tailored to suit the needs of the sites we design and build. Here are a few features out hosting blog offers:
- Automatic nightly backups. Make a mistake editing and get the white screen of death? No worries – push a button and roll back to a stable version of the site. Our automated daily backups and instant restorations let you breathe easy knowing your data is always preserved in case of emergency.
- Dedicated Servers. Your site will live on a dedicated account with only sites we’ve built and manage. The means you’ll have better performance, security, and SEO results compared to shared-server hosting.
- Duplicate staging Environment. A staging site is an exact replica of your website where you are free to make changes and test new features safely without impacting your live site.
- Real-Time Security Threat Detection. With real-time threat detection and enterprise-grade infrastructure trusted by governments and Fortune 50 companies worldwide you’re always secure. And an SSL certificate is all part of the package. Read it for yourself.
Optimized for speed. Your website is stored locally on servers all across the world, and our content delivery network (CDN) delivers data from the servers closest to your visitors. All of our websites are on a blazing fast, highly scalable architecture that allows our clients to host all of your assets up to 5GB. If you need more space, no problem! We can give you a custom storage solution.
What Hosting Plan is Right For Your Business?
It all depends on what type of site you have or want! Here are our 2 Hosting options.
Business Hosting should be used if you:
- Are a small-to-medium sized business looking to advertise their services online
- Handle most of your business outside of your website
- Need a way to let your customers reach out to you online (contact form)
- Aren’t looking for any type of e-commerce functionality
- Have someone in-house who can handle maintenance and plugin updates
- Are looking simply to have a presence online – what we like to call a ‘brochure site’
Here’s what you get with Business Hosting:
- Dedicated account with only CreativeMMS clients
- Up to 5GB of storage
- Content Delivery Network to optimize speed and performance, and server caching
- FREE backup restorations
Premier Hosting should be used if you:
- Need a shopping cart for your site
- You require that your business is constantly monitored for uptime
- Regularly have a large amount of traffic to your site
- Are looking for eCommerce functionality (and an SSL certificate to go with it)
- Need your site to be routinely monitored for security risks
Here’s what you get with Premier Hosting:
- Dedicated account with only Creative MMS clients
- Up to 5GB of storage
- Content Delivery Network to optimize speed and performance
- FREE backup restorations
- FREE plug-in upgrades to keep your site up to date each month
- FREE uptime monitoring via Pingdom
- FREE integrated monitoring for out of date plugins
If you are interested in learning more about hosting and what we offer at Creative, contact our team today!