We constantly get questions about what domain names are & what website hosting is and why we choose the hosting providers that we do. Our team members have been in the industry for over 12 years and have seen domains and website hosting evolve and change over time. So let’s talk about what all these things mean and why making the right choices is so important.
A domain name is a url address for your website. For example, our domain name is krieselkreativ.com, but we also own krieselcreative.com, however, if users navigate to our second domain name, krieselcreative.com it routes them to our main domain name of krieselkreativ.com. We did this because if an existing client, or someone else who knows us, shares our company with another person, “Oh you need a website, you should check out Kriesel Kreative.” The word Kreativ is spelled differently than the definition word, Creative, and that person may google Kriesel Creative and not realize that we spell is Kreativ instead of Creative. You can own as many domain names as you want and they can all point to your main domain or a different website completely.
Website hosting is an online or physical server that holds all of the files of your website so that when someone goes to your domain name they are pointed to an “online computer” that delivers your website to their browser. This is by far one of your most important decisions regarding website success. There are tons of opportunities out there for free to very cheap hosting ($3+ /month), however, you are only cheating your business by being “cheap” in this choice. Have you ever been to a website that felt like it took 5 minutes to load? That’s likely because of the hosting provider the website is using, well unless you are on dial-up internet, then it’s like your internet. 😉
Shared hosting is going to be very cheap in terms of cost and low quality in terms of performance. Shared hosting means that the “online computer” that your website is living on is also shared with a bunch of other websites. Therefore, if one of the other websites on the same server as you has a traffic spike, hacker attack or burst of popularity, you are going to see very slow or even 100% offline load times. It is not uncommon to have your website completely unavailable, on the regular, for 30+ minutes to hours.
Cost of hosting: $5 per month
Setup Cost: $0 (you are controlled by their choices)
Virtual Private Server
A Virtual Private Server, VPS, is a much more secure option in that you have control of the entire server that your website lives on. You do not have to share the server with anyone else. However, you are fully responsible for making sure that all of the coding languages on your server are up to date and manually setup any “extra” features you may want.
Cost of Hosting: $50 – $500 per month
Setup Cost: $100-$500 depending on the provider, your website stack & more
Managed Hosting (for the win!)
Managed hosting is this perfect in-between option from the two above. It’s optimized to handle your specific websites needs. For example, we build most of our websites in WordPress. Managed WordPress hosts have the perks of a VPS (limited issues with others being on your same server) but are already fully setup for you. They are optimized and configured to run your WordPress website with the necessary levels of caching (makes your site quick) and security.
Cost of Hosting: $35+ per month
Setup Cost: $0
Downtime: 99.95% uptime, so even less than minimal
We choose to host all of our clients on managed hosting providers, almost always on Pantheon. And we do that for a variety of reasons but here are a few that matter to your clients:
- Performant – With their full page cache and their Global CDN (content delivery network) sites we host on Pantheon are insanely faster than sites on other hosts.
- Security – Their live (and test) environments are not writeable, meaning if someone tried to hack into the site and destroy your code, they literally CAN’T do it
- Free SSL certificates – Google will dock points from your SEO rankings for not using an SSL certificate!
- Permissions & Roles – You can add different people to your site dashboard that has different permissions
- Uptime – 99.96% uptime. Our site has never once gone down while it’s been hosted on Pantheon