If you’re new to the world of website ownership, you may not understand a lot of the terms being thrown around. One of those terms is “hosting.” What is web hosting? How much should it cost? What kind do you need?

A website is actually composed of a bunch of digital files. These files contain two kinds of information: the information your site needs in order to function, and the information it’s going to display to your visitors. In order for your site to appear on the internet, these files need to be sitting on a special kind of computer, called a server. “Host” is another word for this computer. A hosting package is simply a sales package offered to clients by companies that offer hosting.

There are lots of cheap hosting packages out there. Many of them are less than $5.00 per month. Others are more expensive.

Why the difference? The cheap packages offer what’s called “shared hosting”. That’s when they cram as many websites as possible onto one server. The more files on that server, the slower it runs, especially if some of those websites are very popular. The server itself only has so many resources, and those are very limited to begin with. If thousands of people are visiting the other sites on your host, your own website will run more slowly. If one of those sites causes the server to break down, or even worse, to get hacked, guess what? Everyone’s site on that server goes offline. If you’re trying to run a business, and your website is the only way you connect with potential customers, that’s a disaster.

Like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. If you’re just running a personal blog for your own amusement, shared hosting is probably fine. If your business or your professional reputation depends on your site, you should consider a better option. A virtual private server (VPS) such as our Iridium server means that you aren’t sharing with hundreds or thousands of other customers. Our server has far greater resources than any shared host–more space, more memory, more backup, and more security. It has far greater uptime, too, and it’s fast!

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