With new blogs and websites flooding the internet every single day, web hosting has become almost a layman’s term. Even a technologically challenged person realizes that one of the foundations of a successful business is a well-functioning website and hence, the web hosting supporting that website.

Web hosting is like your blog or website’s home. It is where you build your business literally from the ground up. However, the ins and outs of web hosting might be unfamiliar territory for the novice website builder or blogger.

IT specialist in a web hosting servers room

That said, you deserve to know about web hosting better than your competitors! So, here are ten secrets you need to know about web hosting:

1. Domain names

A domain name is your website’s recognizable address or identifier. But it is not enough to simply register a domain name. Your website must be hosted by a server with sufficient space to support your website’s large files. However, while some web hosting providers offer the option of buying domain names from them, for example, Bluehost, there is also the option of buying the domain name and hosting services from 2 different companies. If the domain name is bought from a different company than the web hosting provider then you need to ensure that your DNS settings are updated to point to the web hosting provider that is hosting your website.

2. Ratings

According to HostInspection, the best indicator that a web hosting provider is the most efficient is, of course, user reviews. The higher the ratings form a majority of the users the higher the guarantee that it will be the best fit for your website. Good reviews to look out for are ones that focus on whether the provider is user-friendly, accessibility of technical support, whether the service is worth the cost, and comparison ratings with other web hosting sites, etc.

3. Affiliate links

Hosting providers often feature affiliate links on websites hosted by them to promote their services and allow visitors to the site to link directly to the web hosting site.

Tech support

4. Technical support

Your blog or website can crash at any time. Or some pages may simply become unavailable due to glitches in the themes etc. So make sure that you go for a web hosting provider that gives you access to technical support 24/7.

5. Website building

Some hosting companies offer free website building services. If you have the time and inclination, building your own website will save you money and allow you the creative freedom to design your brand, be it a company website or a personal blog, rather than paying someone to do it.

6. Cost upfront

Try to go for web hosting packages that are a minimum of 12 months, rather than a longer contract. That way, if at any time, you are unsatisfied with that company’s web hosting services you can simply move your website to another provider, without having incurred an inordinate amount of cost for sub-par services.

Business web hosting

7. Unlimited website hosting

Building and maintaining one website will take up more than enough of your time. Therefore, don’t get suckered into paying extra money for buying more than one website by marketing gimmicks, even if the deal sounds good.

8. Free hosting versus independent domain

Depending on your business, brand, or personal preference, you can choose to have a domain name independent of the web hosting service, that is a domain name registered elsewhere (in which case, the URL would be www.myblog.com). However, if you want free hosting, some companies offer such services as a package deal along with a shared domain name. For example, if you were to host your website for free or at a slashed price, then your domain name would have to be registered with that company and the URL would be something like www.myblog.wordpress.com. That is, you do not own your domain name. It belongs to the hosting company. It is considered more professional to have an independent domain name (one that is not linked to the web hosting company).

9. Compromised quality with free hosting

While free hosting might sound appealing to those on a tight budget, the quality of such services is often severely compromised. Website crashes, security breaches, frequent changes in services terms and conditions and a plethora of other issues might occur on a regular basis. Therefore, they are highly unreliable. After all, you get what you pay for.

Domain names

10. No ownership of the domain name

The disadvantage of linking your domain name with the web host provider is that, if at any time, you choose to switch to a different hosting company, it will not be as cut and dry a procedure as simply moving your website, as you do not technically own it. Some hosting companies might even charge you extra for migration or website transfer fees. These are the hidden costs of free web hosting.