What is web hosting?
Good hosts are invaluable. This is true in all industries, especially web development.
In our field, a host is a provider that allows people to store files on a physical server. There’s a great analogy that better explains this – if your house is a website, your domain name is the street address you give to visitors and your hosting is the physical piece of land the house sits on.
There are many different types of web hosting. In this article, we’ll cover just two: unmanaged hosting and managed hosting.
Unmanaged hosting is the DIY’s of web hosting. Coming back to our house analogy, we’ve established that your hosting is the land your house sits on – so an unmanaged hosting plan means you yourself are responsible for mowing the lawns, weeding the garden, building the fences etc…Or in website terms, you’ll be updating plugins, establishing security measures, running backups etc… The biggest stress for most people is that in the event of a hack, the clean up is on you.
Unmanaged hosting is a challenge. Yet, with the right tools and knowledge, it’s a cost-effective option for websites strapped for cash.
Managed hosting is where a provider is responsible for your files, their upkeep and security. They’re the gardener you hire to keep the backyard tidy. A host will store and maintain your website, ensuring its safety and creating backups.
Backups are an essential part of a good website hosting plan as sometimes, despite all best efforts, your site gets hacked, somebody accidentally deletes something critical to the functioning of the website or an update breaks something that can’t easily be fixed. At those times, you’ll be glad to have a full recent backup of your website so that everything can be restored.
To see the importance of well-maintained backup files, see below.
The benefit of well-maintained backups
This building is/was the OVHcloud data centre in Strasbourg, France.
On the night of March 10, 2021, an electrical fire consumed millions of websites. Much of the damage was permanent. Video game servers were eradicated, news websites were knocked offline. European PR agencies lost email access in the middle of Paris Fashion Week. In short, it was a catastrophe.
This event brings to light the importance of creating, maintaining, and updating your backups – all things a managed hosting plan takes care of.
There are many advantages to having a well-managed hosting plan. Chief amongst them all is your peace of mind. A hacked website creates expenditures in time, money and stress – all factors that would be better invested into growing your business.
Hosting is a complex field. Books upon books could be written on this nuanced subject (as they have been). Nonetheless, here are the simple facts:
- In web development, a host is a provider that stores website data on a server.
- Managed hosting is where you pay someone to store and look after these files for you.
- Unmanaged hosting is essentially the opposite. You store and look after your files yourself.
- Managed hosting provides peace of mind. While more costly than unmanaged hosting, you at least know your files are well-secured and backed up.
- With unmanaged hosting you take on more responsibility, and thus more risk.