In the digital world, everything seems to be immaterial. We no longer need cables to connect to the internet or physical hard drives to save data, opting for cloud storage services instead.
However, if we follow the invisible line down to the main source of every website, every storage service and every social media platform, we will find something physical and critical to the existence of our entire digital world: a server.
On a basic level, a server is basically a computer ‘in the cloud’, in a data center somewhere. It has a motherboard, a processor, memory, and hard drives. All these elements, however, are of the latest generation, powerful, and reliable enough to work 24/7 without interruption.
You may ask: why this lengthy talk about servers? It is important because when we say ‘web hosting’, this is what we’re talking about, every website is stored (hosted) on a server. A website is made up of files, a database, text, and photos. All these need to be saved on a physical device – the server.
Thus, every website in the world requires web hosting.
If you disable the web hosting for a website, you can no longer access that website, you’ll receive an error.
What is a ‘Good Hosting Service’?
Good hosting means something different for every website owner.
Some people have small personal/hobby websites which only take up a little hosting space, so good hosting means cheap hosting.
On the other hand, there are businesses who count on their website to always be online, fast, and secure.
For small- and medium-sized businesses, good hosting means a balanced offer consisting of:
- Fast loading of your website, so users don’t get frustrated while browsing your site
- Reliable service, so your website isn’t down when your customers are trying to look you up
- Security, so you know your website is always secure
So, what are some other things you should keep in mind when choosing a Chicago web host? Here are a few considerations:
Do Not Place Your Bets on Big Hosting Services
There are some well-known hosting services, which will probably pop into your mind as soon as you hear the word “hosting”. One of them may rhym with ‘FoDaddy’, which we at CyberOptik do not support when it comes to web hosting. These hosting providers have a large network of servers and host hundreds of thousands of websites.
You might think you’re better off with one of these large companies, but in order to stay in business and ahead of their competition, they offer very low prices which may tempt you to select them. However, in order to stay profitable, they have to sign up more and more clients and pack their websites on the same existing infrastructure.
This means that after a time the server is very busy handling huge amounts of incoming traffic. As a result, websites will load slower with these companies and has the potential to get even slower over time.
Also take into account the scale at which they need to handle customer support, and often we see these companies have subpar support that either cannot help you with your issues or it takes hours of working with them to get an answer.
Reputation and Specialization
A good hosting service has already been in business for at least 4 to 5 years, has a good reputation with their clients (check their reviews), and can provide you with the balanced offer we’ve already talked about.
It’s also important to keep in mind what powers your website. If your website runs on WordPress — you should be on WordPress-specific hosting so your website can run at peak performance.