Your host is the company you are paying to “host” the files of your website. You pay them on a monthly or yearly basis to keep the files and databases that make up your website on a server somewhere. Their servers need to be up and running in order for your website to be seen.
The host matters a LOT.
Choose your host carefully. A host can make or break your website. A host can help speed up your website or slow it down. The people who work at the host are very important as well. When you call for support, are the people helpful? Choosing a host with great options such as backup and restore is also important. A host has a lot of responsibility.
In our coffee shop example, the host of the company would be 4 things: the physical location where the coffee shop is, the landlord, the quality and number of types of coffee and treats sold, and the staff that works there.
Let’s talk about where the coffee shop is: Is this shop located on a busy street? Is there a business above the coffee shop that is a workout location where people are jumping a lot on the ceiling and it is hard to concentrate in this coffee shop? Is the coffee shop located in a forgotten town? Is the building built with up-to-date materials?
Relating this to the host: you want a host that provides fast hosting and where the traffic to the server where your files reside or your neighbors dos not impact the speed of visitors coming to your website (sometimes a host will refer to this as a “noisy neighbor”).
We have taken websites from one host and duplicated the EXACT website to another host and the difference in speed can be monumental.
You want to make sure that the host does not put your files on a forgotten server that is not kept up to date, or that does not have fast access. You want to make sure your server has up to date software.
How about the landlord? Is the coffee shop taken care of by a landlord that keeps the facilities up to date, keeps the parking perfect so that a steady flow can enter and exit the coffee shop?
You want a host that will keep your software up to date. A host that is attentive.
Options: Does your coffee shop only server Sumatra coffee in size medium? Or does your coffee shop offer different coffees and teas and beverages, as well as many types of treats. Does the coffee shop provide air conditioning? Heat? Water?
A host will give you different options when you set up an account. You may have daily backups built in. You may be able to restore your site yourself. You may be able to clear your cache, update server software, or make changes in databases. Having great options in the hosting package is something to evaluate when choosing a host.
Now Staff: Does the landlord hire maintenance personnel that know what they are doing and when they fix a leak in the plumbing, it is fixed properly? If you spill your coffee on the floor, will they clean it up or will they throw you a towel? Do they know how clean it themselves, or do they not know so they call someone else who will clean it and that person calls another…
You can see that location, landlord, options and staff can make or break the coffee shop. A host can make or break your website as well.