The 4 different types of hosting you need to be aware of…

When thinking and talking about hosting for your website there a four separate elements to consider, most business owners lump them together as “website hosting” which is actually wrong and this can potentially lead to problems down the track.

4 different flavours or components to your website hosting that you need to be aware of and a list of our preferred providers is broken down below. Its important you at least know who you’re using for each of the four areas and have the appropriate logon details for your account with them.

We also recorded an episode of The Business Marketing Show which was all about hosting, click play on the video below to listen:

Head over to our Website Hosting services page if you’re looking to order a new website hosting service and ready to buy now.

Domain Name – your www.domain.com 

Your domain name is controlled and maintained by your domain registrar, the company you buy domain names from. Technically you don’t own a domain you lease it for a certain period of time.

Our registrars of choice in Australia are either Crazydomains.com.au or Netregistry.com.au
Crazydomains is slightly cheaper, Netregistry has better customer support.

We recommend you completely avoid Melbourne IT, another popular provider, as they’re extremely expensive ($150+ for a domain renewal vs $30-40) and don’t provide any additional customer service for that money. Godaddy who have a bad reputation for poor customer service and have been known to do dodgy things with domain names in the past so you should stay clear of them too.

DNS hosting

DNS hosting or domain name hosting is what coverts web addresses into internet addresses or IP addresses. The internet runs on IP addresses so without this service you can’t host anything. Most of the time your website provider will roll this in with website hosting or your IT company will set this up.

Our DNS hosting provider of choice is Cloudflare.com. Cloudflare also includes a bunch of other firewall, security and acceleration services so not only are you not paying anything, your website runs faster and is more secure with Cloudflare.

This short video explains some of the benefits of Cloudflare in more detail:

Email hosting

A straightforward one – the service that hosts your email. Today for email hosting, our preference is to use Google Apps email hosting or a Managed Microsoft Exchange hosted email service. With the quality of either of these cloud services and their super low cost there is zero reason why small and medium businesses need expensive server hardware sitting in their office to run their email – be wary of IT companies that are happy to sell you a new $5, $10 or $20,000 server when you could be getting the same service for significantly less.

With Google Apps, you get heaps of storage at 25gb/mailbox, its mobile device friendly so you can hook up your iPhone and emails you delete there are deleted from your computer, has a powerful webmail interface and also includes antispam and antivirus built in so you’re protected from email based threats. Right now its $50/year or $5/month per mailbox.

If your office is mostly using Microsoft Outlook, are Outlook power users or you’re replacing an old Microsoft Exchange server, a managed Microsoft Exchange hosted email service is the way to go and is slightly more expensive with less storage – typically $100-200/mailbox/year.

Most email services also provide an optional backup service (backup usually isn’t standard). Important to ask about backups when you’re setting up a new email hosting service. We use and recommend a service for Google Apps from Backupify.com which costs $3/month/mailbox.

Web hosting

This is the service that “hosts” your website, the server your website lives on. Its important to understand that a $5/month service from someone like Bluehost is not necessarily the same as a $100/month or $200/month service.

Most of the time your website provider will prefer to host your website on their platform. After all, if they’re responsible for the website they need to have control over the hosting. Make sure when choosing a website hosting provider you give consideration to:

  • the speed of the server the site sits on, if your website is going to get thousands of visits per day it needs to be on a fast server
  • how much bandwidth you need and whether you need a content delivery network (a group of high speed servers to deliver content like video)
  • who is applying patches and updating the CMS software your website runs on (it needs updates just like your computer)
  • website backups, if you’re investing a lot of time and money in your website then important its backed up, especially if its an online store!
  • support if something goes wrong, what happens when there’s an outage, who do you call?

For a more detailed information on what to look at when choosing a hosting provider head over to our Website Hosting services page for more.

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