In this article, we are going to share some knowledge regarding web hosting.
The server and the client
How will a user be able to access your website?
As a general rule, they will have to open a browser (Firefox for example) and type a request, ask to access your website by typing, for instance, the address (URL) of your website.
The computer that will request access to a web page is called the client.
On the other side, there’s going to be a waiter. The server will be the computer on which the requested site is hosted.
A server is also a computer, but it will have some exceptional features. First of all, a server will (theoretically) be connected to the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week so that your site is always accessible.
Secondly, a server will generally be much more powerful than a “normal” computer.
The role of the server will be to host your site and generate (if necessary) and send the web pages requested by your users.
What is a web host?
From a technical standpoint, a web server will “host” your website. If you have followed everything so far, you should ask yourself if you can’t be your server.
In theory, this is entirely possible: you can transform your computer into a server and host your website yourself and send it yourself over the Internet.
However, this is strongly discouraged. First of all, you would need a very, very powerful setup and a continuously operational computer. Second, your installation would require a good internet connection so that your visitors can access your website correctly, and that would cost you a lot of money.
Then, you would need a lot of specialised knowledge in network architecture to properly configure different aspects of your hosting and your website to have an operational website on the one hand and a secure site on the other hand.
These two constraints mean that we will always prefer to use a professional hosting company, which specialises in website hosting.
Why do I need professional hosting?
Hosting your website on a server will allow you to make it accessible to everyone via the Internet.
We will use companies specialised in this field for two main reasons: reliability and cost.
Indeed, good hosting companies have had to make significant investments to obtain robust and reliable servers.
Then, these hosts will offer to rent us a part of their server, or even an entire server in some cases, so that we can install our installation there.
This procedure can be compared to MRI (medical imaging); for example, machines used to perform MRIs are extremely expensive. So when you have to have an MRI test done, you’re not going to buy the machine yourself; instead, you’re going to go to a specialised hospital and pay a specific price for using this equipment.
Web hosts, in addition to having very powerful servers and connections, will generally also offer third-party services such as customer service, automatic installation of specific software, access to ready-made site themes, etc.
Preliminary remarks concerning this analysis
First of all, I would like to point out that this analysis has not been “sponsored” by any host, unlike some others that you may find on the net.
In this one, I try to study as objectively as possible the different criteria that seem important to me in choosing a host.
This analysis is nevertheless necessarily subjective: I am only giving my opinion on some hosting providers I have personally tested.
The criteria that attracted my most attention were the following:
- The company’s reputation and size or strength history;
- The reactivity and relevance of the support;
- The general quality/price ratio of the proposed offers;
- The degree of specialisation of the host (Managed WordPress host, e-commerce, etc.);
- The proposed language(s);
- The additional services offered.
Our favorite web hosts of 2019:
Siteground – Siteground is a well established hosting company offering top of the line managed services rankings from shared plans to dedicated powerful servers. Their prices are very competitive for the price you will have to pay. It is one of the best performing hosting company of the past 5 years, and there is a reason why it is often recommended in review guides!
PlanetHoster – PlanetHoster is a bit more expensive than Siteground but if you are operating in the Canadian and French markets this is an amazing host to partner up with! Their offer is simple. Choose from either a shared plan “The World” or their powerful “Hybrid Cloud” dedicated server plans to get access to a powerful infrastructure. Litespeed and LS Cache are available in option. This French website https://www.opportunites-digitales.com/hebergement-planethoster/ offers a comprehensive review of this host!
InMotion Hosting – This is one (if not the) of most respected North American web hosting you will find out there in 2019. Their range of services are impressive and they have been consistently reviewed (by both users and tech editors) as one of the best value for money host for about a decade. They offer incredible reliability and will help you achieve amazing website speeds and performances.