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The marketer's introduction to business hosting

Derek Campbell Head of Technical Services (AsiaPac)

Marketers guide to hosting

Hosting is a critical and often overlooked part of any website as without it, the website will not be able to be viewed publicly. Investing in good web hosting can drastically improve your SEO and usability and increase sales and engagement. It worth pointing out that Google penalises sites with slow load speeds by moving them down in the search rankings and its latest algorithm ranking places a lot of emphasis on how long visitors spend on your website. Picking the right solution for your website is one of the most important decisions in the process as without a good hosting setup you could look at losing potential clients and any revenue they would generate.

It’s not that complicated!

The non techies out there can often get bamboozled by the smokescreen of acronyms and technical jargon surrounding the world of hosting, but the good news is that it’s actually a fairly straight forward process. One of the services I provide to our clients here at Precedent is hosting consultancy, so although we provide hosting and support for many of our clients, we recognise it’s not always the right option.  It’s my job to understand the client’s requirements and find the best hosting solution, whilst trying to make the process as painless as possible.

How does it work?

A website is just a selection of files. HTML, CSS (stylesheets), images etc. Web hosting services work by storing all of these website files on high-powered computers (web servers) that provide a fast and secure connection to the internet. The server literally serves up your web files when people come to visit.

What are the considerations?

The three key hosting components are:

  • The Content Management System (CMS) - which is hosted on a web server
  • The Database - which is what the CMS runs off (this normally runs off a database server)
  • The Networking - the internet bit of it that allows people to browse your website.

There are countless different options when it comes to hosting so you need to have a clear idea of what you need. Usually, by the time you’ve got round to considering hosting, you will have selected the CMS. It’s at this point in the process that other concerns crop up and this is where the hosting and support team step in. Large web sites which contain hundreds of thousands of files and receive 100,000 or more visitors per day will nearly always need "dedicated hosting," meaning they are the only web site on the server. Smaller websites could opt for shared hosting at a lesser cost, but will run the risk of a lower availability guarantee vs a dedicated highly available solution.

Things to consider when choosing the right hosting option will include:

  • Availability and performance – remember Googles ranking system!
  • Internal or 3rd party hosting – Do you have the right infrastructure and support in house?
  • Load balancing – do you require an “always on” service?
  • PCI compliance – can’t host internally because you don’t meet Industry standards?

From a marketers perspective, the hosting process will sit with the technical team so is often left untouched, however, it is almost certainly something worth understanding as it will play a vital role in the overall. Next week I will be taking you through the fun filled world of hosting acronyms.