Well, since you asked…
When your website service provider starts talking about hosting, domain names, and possibly (probably) WordPress, your eyes may start to glaze over. What does it all mean? Is it important? Why are they speaking in a foreign language? And most importantly, you may be asking yourself whether you really need to know any of it.
We’ve got you covered. Take a deep breath, step away from the panic button, and read on:
To understand what hosting is, it’s easiest to explain a bit more about websites and how they work.
Domain names: This is the web address. So, when you type in “cloudzendesigns.com,” you’re typing our domain name which then takes you to our website. The cost of a domain name is usually around $5 to $15 per year.
Some companies buy several domain names that are similar to their main domain name. The only difference may be the extension (.net, .com, .org, and so on), or the difference may be more substantial. For example, we could purchase a domain like weareawesomewebsitebuilders.com.
But why? Well, any number of domain names can be purchased, and then your website manager can set up those sites to redirect to your main site. So, we would set up weareawesomewebsitebuilders.com to redirect to cloudzendesigns.com. This allows one company to own multiple web properties, thereby expanding their reach. Companies commonly purchase domain names that are actually common misspellings of their actual company name, so anytime someone mistypes the domain into the navigation bar, they are still directed to their intended destination.
Okay, you’ve got a domain name, maybe several, but how do you attach a website to it?
Here’s where you build a website. There are a number of interfaces used for this, but a common one, and the one we use, is WordPress. WordPress is essentially a dashboard that allows you to create pages, blog posts, install widgets, and more. It’s an overall management system for the back end of a website.
But, the thing that connects your domain name and the website you’ve built is your hosting service. Think of a hosting service as, literally, a host. The hosting company is the digital space where your website lives. Hosting plans come in all sizes and all costs, depending on how much space you need and what, if any, add-on’s you’ve opted for.
Steps so far:
- Purchase a domain name.
- Build a website (or, you know, have us build it).
- Purchase a hosting plan.
Once you’ve completed those steps, you’ll need to provide some information to your host that connects all the dots. The information you’ll provide will connect the hosting plan and the website you’ve built to the domain name, so when users navigate to your domain name, your website will appear.
Great…but why is a hosting plan important?
There are several reasons a hosting plan matters (okay, the linked article is several years old—but the advice included is still solid). There are dozens of dozens of hosting companies out there, but despite the level of competition in the market, there are still companies that offer less-than-stellar service and features. It’s important to consider the features your host will provide and determine whether they are comprehensive enough to provide the service you will require.
A few important-to-consider features include:
- Ease of use (including how easy it is to leave the host)
- The differences in shared versus dedicated servers
A host is literally the place where your website lives—so you want to make sure your website lives in a home that is securely guarded and where the power is always on. Similarly, you’ll want to consider whether your website is small is enough or simple enough to warrant being comfortable with a roommate or if your website will be more comfortable living in its own house (shared or non-shared servers).
CloudZen Designs offers the best hosting on the market. Aside from over 99% server uptime and great customer service, we can easily upgrade your storage space as your business grows. If you’ve already got hosting, we’d love to chat about switching you to our service. If you’re building a new website, it’s easy as pie to set up your site on our servers from the beginning.
After building your website, if you decide to use CloudZen hosting, CloudZen Designs will set it up at no cost. Got questions? Contact us today and let’s chat.