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Website Hosting Basics & Best Practices

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While most folks think that the design process is the most interesting part of developing or refreshing a website, web hosting basics & best practices are some of the most important “foundational” elements of a website development process.

In simple terms, web hosting refers to where your website “lives” on the internet. There are too many website hosting companies to count, let alone name them all. But not all of them are created equal.

• Some web hosting companies have under-powered server infrastructure – which means your website page load speeds will be slower.
• Some web hosting companies don’t have “scalable” server infrastructure – which means your website could crash during a time of high-volume site activity.
• Some web hosting companies don’t have good cybersecurity – which can result in your identity, credit card number, and actual website being stolen.

Best Practices in Web Hosting Account Set-up

There also can be problems if you don’t set up your website hosting account correctly. There are 2 main ways to set up a website hosting account:

Option 1: Set Up & Pay For Your Website Hosting Directly
With this option, you choose the website hosting company, and set up your own account. In this scenario, you are paying for the website directly out of your own business account.

Option 2: Have Your Website Developer Set Up The Website Hosting Plan
With this option, your website developer sets up website hosting for you under their own account, and you pay the website developer a monthly hosting fee.

Web Hosting Account Set-up Best Practice

In the simplest of terms, the best practice for website hosting account set-up is to ALWAYS choose Option 1. Simply visit the website of the website hosting company, set up your own account, pay for the web hosting through your own credit card, and set up your own username & password. Once you have the account set up in your own name, or business name, then give access to your website developer.

There are plenty of hard-working website developers out there in the world. Alas there also are some less-than-scrupulous folks building websites. When you give control of website hosting to your website developer, it can open the door for unscrupulous activities. In 26 years in business, here are just some of the scenarios in which we’ve had to go to battle for clients to get custody of their websites back to them:

1) We have encountered developers who literally picked up the client’s website and moved it to another hosting company platform without the client’s knowledge or consent;
2) We have come across web developers who took over a client’s hosting account and put the website hosting under their own account – and then refused to let the client have access to their own website.

These are just a few ugly scenarios that can be avoided if you sign up for website hosting directly, pay for it yourself each month, and set up your own username & password.

Website Hosting Basics: 4 Tips For Selecting a Good Website Hosting Company

Multiple Pricing Options: Choose a website hosting company that offers multiple levels of website hosting plans at different price points. Also make sure that the hosting company allows for easy migration to a more robust hosting plan as your site traffic increases and you need more bandwidth.

Cybersecurity: Select a website hosting company that makes the cybersecurity of your account and website a priority. This might seem obvious but there are plenty of website hosting companies that have been hacked in recent years. In 2022, one very large US-based hosting company had a huge cybersecurity breach that affected more than 2 million customers – and they didn’t even know their system had been hacked for 2 months.

Scalable Server Infrastructure: When server infrastructure is scalable, it means that you can adjust server capacity to account for significant increases in visits to your website.

Tech Support Reps Who Are Easy To Reach: Tech support varies greatly from company to company. While chat & email functions can be helpful, not every problem can be resolved through chat or email. The best tech support is when you can call the company and actually speak to someone, as well as getting tech support via chat or email.

While it’s not the most exciting part of developing a website, the decisions you make on website hosting can significantly impact you and your business or non-profit. Follow these website hosting basics & best practices, and you’ll be on the road to a well-managed, accessible website.

Need help with website hosting basics, a new website, a website refresh, or SEO? Contact DeWinter Marketing & PR for help!

Courtney DeWinter is the president & founder of Denver-based DeWinter Marketing & PR in Denver, Colorado. She is a marketing & PR consultant with 25+ years of experience in branding, marketing, public relations, websites & journalism.

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