If you have a website, you’re going to need to have it hosted somewhere, otherwise no one will be able to see it or access it.
But, depending on what solution you have for a website, you might not need to think about, or rather, have a choice about where your website is hosted.
If you’re using a pre-built template solution, for example, from one of those large real estate template companies, then you don’t get to choose where your website is hosted anyways; it’s all up to the company that owns your website.
But if your website is built outside of a large, templated solution on an open-source platform (like WordPress for example) then you’re going to need to choose a website hosting provider to handle your website files.
For the most part, website hosting is a bit of a mystery to real estate agents. And in a lot of cases, an agent will just choose the cheapest option, but price should be one of the least important factors when you’re making a decision about where to host your website.
First, let’s go through some of the basics around website hosting; like what exactly is it anyways?
Some people get website hosting confused with the other technical details of having a website, like email hosting, domain ownership, etc, and while the company that provides your website hosting can usually provide those other services, they don’t have anything else to really do with each other. For example, you could have your website hosted in one place, and your email configuration and domain ownership in a totally different place.
Website hosting is simply a service that allows your website to be online and accessible on the Internet; it’s the place where the actual files that make up your website are held and stored. When you pay someone for website hosting, you’re basically renting some space on their server to store the files that make up your website.
Remember, your domain doesn’t have anything to do with your website hosting. Your domain is just the web address of your website. For example, our domain is www.artifaktdigital.com, but if we didn’t have a hosting service, then when you went to our domain you wouldn’t see anything because there wouldn’t be any of the actual files that make up our website. However in a lot of cases, a website hosting company will also provide the ability to buy a domain through them, so it’s easy to get confused and think they’re all tied together.
So, if website hosting is just storing the actual files, then why shouldn’t you just choose the cheapest option? There are plenty of reasons…
The first thing you should understand is how these inexpensive website hosting companies make money.
Even if you’re a large company, maintaining servers isn’t that cheap to do. It’s quite complicated. For example, here’s what GoDaddy’s server farm looks like. When it comes to a shared hosting service, like GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, or any of those other large companies, they make money by putting as many websites as possible on a single server, regardless of quality of the website. That means, your website could be hosted with, uh, some other websites you don’t want your business anywhere near.
Your hosting service, and the power behind it, is the lifeblood of your website; a bit like the fluids in your vehicle. If you had a high-end Range Rover, you wouldn’t think of putting regular fuel in right? If you did, it would run fine for a bit, but eventually you’d run into a bunch of problems.
In a shared hosting environment like that, one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. If something happens to another website on that server, something can happen to yours too.
Another thing to think about is downtime. If you’re hosting your website on a cheap, budget-based hosting service then your website is going to go offline from time to time, maybe even often. And if that same company doesn’t seem to care about customer service, it could be awhile before you get a hold of anyone so you can get it back online.
Everyone knows that speed (and page load time) is an important part of your website being online; it needs to load quickly. And while a lot of different factors contribute to website speed, one of them is the ability of the server that’s hosting your website. Things like excess traffic and outdated technology can all slow down your website load speed simply because of your server choice.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re choosing a hosting company to host your website. At this particular moment in time, when your digital strategy is more important than ever, having a website that’s fast, secure, and accessible can literally mean revenue, it pays to choose a solid company to host. In the end, it’s easy to just say: give me the cheapest option; mostly because hosting isn’t something that you can physically see, but it’s absolutely worth it to ensure you pick a website hosting company that’s reliable and trustworthy.
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