What is a web host and who should I choose?

Setting up a website can seem like a bit of a minefield at first unless you have some experienced web developers on hand to give support or better still design and build it for you. Finding a good web host is also essential, and this guide should be especially useful for any UK business looking for hosting - so, read on for all you could possibly need to know!

What is web hosting?

All the files, images and content that make up a website need to be stored somewhere so that those using the internet can access it. Upon a very few occasions a personal computer can be used to do this, but this method is unreliable and therefore not advised for business websites. Therefore it’s much safer (and cheaper in the long run) to invest in some space on a shared UK website hosting server, which aprompt can organise for you. There are other types of website hosting such as dedicated hosting or virtual private servers (VPS) which is ideal for high traffic and business critical websites and web apps.

Share hosting vs. dedicated hosting

The differences between shared hosting and dedicated hosting and VPS are huge.

  • Shared hosting - you are sharing the server with other websites and depending on who you host with (and how much it costs) depends on how many websites are also using the resources within that server. Shared hosting is perfectly fine for the majority of small to medium business websites as the performance is within an acceptable level and costs are less than dedicated servers or virtual private servers.
  • Dedicated hosting and VPS - will have less websites on it plus many more performance related advantages than a shared server so the cost is higher.

The hosting you or your web developer chooses must be able to support the functions in your website, so always take advice from your website developer to ensure your site is properly supported.

  • Free hosting - One thing to always avoid is “free” hosting - it’s free for a reason! Generally there’s less security and very often extremely poor uptime, questionable customer service and lots of hidden charges. Just like website software that purports to be “free” to use, it should be given a miss to avoid the inevitable costly ‘fixing-it’ charges later on.

Important hosting features

Here at aprompt we offer fully managed UK based shared website hosting and if you would like dedicated hosting we will provide you all the information your host will need to support your website. We can also advise you on web hosting to meet your requirements if you choose to host your aprompt website yourselves. It’s worth remembering that most good UK based web hosts will allow you upgrade to your package to meet your future needs as and when it’s necessary - just get in touch with our web designers in Wiltshire for details on which is the best hosting for a website.

  • Disk space - this is just how much room you’re allowed for storing your files on. It’s worth remembering that images and video can take up a lot of room, so if you’re hosting those on your server you might need a bit more or opt for dedicated hosting depending on the number of images/video you store (for instance if you have a stock image library website, photography gallery, high traffic eCommerce website, etc you should think about dedicated hosting). Otherwise, most files shouldn’t use extraordinary amounts of space, especially if you use a database-driven custom Content Management System (CMS) from aprompt to power your business website.
  • Bandwidth - every time someone accesses your server for a file it uses up some bandwidth to send them the data. You need more of this if you have a large volume of traffic to your site.
  • Email - it’s possible to get email-only hosting but in any case it always looks far more professional to use your own domain name rather than a service like Gmail or Hotmail so make sure you have enough email addresses available on your hosting plan for your business’s needs. With aprompt’s hosting you get unlimited free Pop3 email accounts which makes things nice and easy for you.

UK Web Hosts

For UK businesses it’s very important to have a web host that locates its servers in the United Kingdom. This is good for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes because of the way sites are indexed by country by search engines. For instance, if you have an eCommerce website which ships products to the UK, you’ll want to appear high in rankings for UK versions of search engines - having a UK-based server gives you an edge here.

At aprompt, we are authorised resellers of reliable UK Web Hosting - and what’s more, we’re very friendly with amazing support too! Get in touch to discover more about our award winning eCommerce websites made in our very own UK web design studio.

Written By Kirsty Paget