After preparing your website, you need to upload that website to the internet.
How can you do that?
You need a web host for that — and a quality one to avoid any headaches down the line.
A web host affects a website in many ways. Your website’s speed, security, scalability, and usability rely on the hosting provider.
But deciding on a web host comes with its complications.
Different hosting providers provide different web hosting features — disk space, bandwidth, security, and more. It’s essential to understand what you need and what you can go without.
Read on to learn about the top web hosting features you need:
Web hosting is the process of storing all the files that make up your website on a server.
Think of it as your digital office. Like you need a physical space for a physical office, you need a digital space for your digital office. A web host rents out that digital space on servers for your website files.
It helps you establish your website on the internet.
Besides storage, web hosting services usually help you with website maintenance — backups, security, and uptime.
Consider these web hosting features before choosing a plan.
- Disk Space
- Website Speed
- Pre-installed apps
- Domain Names
- Website Builder
Disk space or storage is one of the two essential services web hosts offer.
At its base, a website consists of many files — files that make up its visuals and files that decide what happens when you click a button.
To run a website, you need those files on web servers backed by physical data centers. The files consume disk space; so you need a hosting plan that provides the required disk space.
Besides the files required for the website’s operation, you also need space for user-submitted content. For example, if you ask users to submit images or videos, you need extra disk space to support that.
Bandwidth is the other essential service that hosting solutions provide. It measures a server’s capacity for data transfer within a specific time frame.
Bandwidth is a critical web hosting feature if you want your website to load faster — as loading time is the time it takes to transfer website files.
If you want high bandwidths, you need to get your web server or look for one that shares its resources with a few other websites.
For example, dedicated hosting — while expensive — is a web hosting plan in which your website has its server, giving you more control and server resources to work with.
Other plans such as virtual private server (VPS) and shared hosting limit the bandwidth available but tend to be cheaper.
You will see advertisements for unlimited bandwidth, but the truth is: It’s impossible to have completely unlimited bandwidth. There is always a maximum speed limit because of physical limitations.
Bluehost offers plans with “unmetered bandwidth”, which means that you receive a set amount of bandwidth but will be able to transfer as much data as you want with that transfer speed.
According to Fundera, 43% of small businesses are victims of cyberattacks.
Your web host is an extra line of defense against cyberattacks. With the right web host, you can protect your website from cyberattacks.
If your website collects personal or financial data, sign up for a web hosting plan that offers:
- SSL certificates —SSL certificates encrypt data sent via your website, so only the recipient gets to use the data. Some web hosting plans offer free SSL certificates.
- Automated malware scans —Web hosting providers can help you remove malware and identify threats. Some also offer website scans to enhance security and warn website owners of suspicious files.
- Firewall management —A web application firewall (WAF) creates a set of rules designed to protect your website from the most common attacks.
Be sure to check the hosting plan’s default security features; many plans offer advanced security features as an add-on.
- Secure shell (SSH) access
- Multi-factor authentication
- Domain privacy
One of the top web hosting features that small businesses and new website owners fail to consider is uptime.
Uptime measures the percentage of time your website is up and available to visitors — the closer to 100% uptime, the better.
The best web hosting solutions provide high uptimes by offering:
- Backup servers: This ensures that should the server hosting your website goes down, there’s a backup that will have your website up in no time.
- Backup servers in multiple locations: if a natural disaster occurs, a duplicate server in the same data center will not keep your website up. But suppose duplicate servers are in multiple data centers on different sides of the country or a different continent. In that case, your website has a much better chance of staying up and available.
Some web hosting companies also have a money-back guarantee for uptime. If they fail to fulfill their promise, they pay you.
Today’s internet users expect websites to load in five seconds or less.
Besides affecting user experience, website speed also affects search engine optimization (SEO).
Good web hosting companies help their users deliver quick page speeds by:
- Using servers with solid-state drives (SSD): SSDs access data faster than traditional hard drives.
- Limiting sites on a shared server: Websites require server resources to run — the more websites hosted on a server, the more competition for resources.
By limiting the number of sites on a shared server, the web hosting company ensures that there will be enough resources for each website.
Web hosts offer several web hosting features in the form of apps.
Common apps include:
The control panel (cPanel) is an app that lets you control server processes. While every hosting account includes a cPanel, the interface depends on the hosting provider — it can be difficult or easy to use.
Bluehost comes with a beautifully designed control panel that offers easy access to all the apps you need.
A one-click installer is a great tool that helps you install content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. It simplifies your work and saves you time and money.
A file transfer protocol (FTP) lets you manage files on a server securely.
Your domain name is the digital address of your digital space on the Internet. It was developed to find and identify internet entities without using IP addresses.
A hosting plan often includes free domain name registration.
Some website owners purchase a domain beforehand (for business emails) and then go with a different web host. So the domain owner must have the option to transfer the domain to another registrar.
8. Website Builder
Building a website is not difficult anymore. A lot of web hosting providers include site builders as a built-in web hosting feature.
For example, Bluehost’s Website Builder is a drag-and-drop website creation tool offering 300+ pre-made templates to make website building easy. Its built-in Smart AI guides users to create responsive designs that fit every screen.
The other features of the website builder include:
- Stock image library
- Custom fonts and CSS
- Free email marketing
While developing and managing your website, you may face issues you cannot solve. In those cases, an excellent technical support team is essential.
The best web hosting providers provide 24/7 customer support through multiple channels, such as:
- Knowledge bases
- Live chat
- Email support
Website backups are essential.
Despite having the best website security, your website might get hit by a vulnerability that takes it down. This means a good backup policy is critical. A good hosting provider should restore your website with minimal downtime and make frequent automatic backups of your website to prevent data loss.
Choosing the right web hosting plan can make or break your website’s success.
Before signing up for one, take time to determine the web hosting features you need so it will be easier to find a provider that offers it all, saving you a lot of time and trouble.
If you are looking for a reliable hosting partner that cares about you and your business, sign up for a Bluehost plan today.