What Services Web Hosting Companies Provide (Detailed List)
You are trying to create a website and everyone suggests that you need to buy web hosting services from a company. So, what do these web hosting providers actually do and what kind of services they provide?
If you just want to learn what is web hosting and how it really works, you can read my previous post: What is Web Hosting and How Does it Work (Full Guide)
If you also want to learn what web hosting provider I currently suggest and use check here: Web Hosting Review.
Here is the full list of services that web hosting companies offer :
Keep reading to find out what exactly you get with each service. Just want to note that some providers don’t offer all of these services for some of their plans.
1.) A Disk Space (In A Server)
Your website is just a collection of different files and you need a place to save them as you do with the files on your pc. A web hosting company will rent you a part of their storage capacity. This is an essential service since web hosting companies own a certain type of computer (server) that is suitable for storing website-related content.
These machines are online and working 24 hours per day and usually they store a lot of websites and not only yours.
2.) Domain Name Related Services
Your website needs a name (domain) so every user can visit it from his browser or via search engines. The domain points where your website files are stored and then users can download (view) your website’s content.
Your domain name should be unique and available (or you pay more for premium one). You can rent a domain up to 10 years but you can actually renew as many times as you wish. You can even have a domain name without a website.
Since only regulated companies (under ICANN) can provide domain registrations services, not all web hosting providers offer this service.
3.) Processing Power (from a CPU) and RAM
Depending on how big is your site in terms of content (videos, images etc) and how much traffic it receives you need some resources. The web hosting provider allocates a part of the CPU power and the RAM based on the plan you choose and their features.
Bandwidth is about how many GBs of data will be exchanged between your website and your online users within a certain timeframe. For example, let’s say that the size of your site is 1MB. If a user visits the website will download 1MB on his PC. If 10 users visit that website within 1 month, you will consume 10MB of bandwidth.
Web hosting providers offer a certain amount of bandwidth although many of them claim that their plans include unlimited bandwitdth (usually it is not 100% accurate).
Databases are essential when you build a dynamic website. Each website that receives data from users (like login details) usually interacts with a database.
6.) SSL Certificates
An SSL certification is a sign that you can safely exchange data with a website. Sites that use “https://” instead of “http://” they use an SSL certificate. Most of the web hosting providers offer free or paid certificates. This attribute is considered as a crucial ranking factor for search engines aside from the security improvement.
7.) Email Accounts
Emails are still important for every company with an online presence. It looks very professional when you use a custom domain for your email instead of free options such as @yahoo.com or @gmail.com. Many web hosting providers offer email hosting that is included in the overall plan cost.
Other providers charge a small fee if you want to use email hosting and some they offer free email hosting for the first year but then you need to pay. Usually, there is a limitation in the number of users/accounts you can create and for your mailbox storage (in GBs or TBs).
8.) Site Backups
There are always so many things that go wrong with your site and you can lose valuable content. Your web hosting provider should have at least monthly backups of your site but usually, they are more often. If you pay for a more expensive plan you can even get daily backups.
9.) Customer Support
It is normal that at some point you will need some guidance for an issue with your site. Most of the providers advertise 24 hours per day available support but sometimes the response time is more crucial. There are 3 options for contacting your provider’s support: phone, email, or live chat. Not all 3 are available always. I am seeking for companies that offer live chat since it is usually the most helpful way.
10.) Control Panel
As a new user, it is very helpful to have a panel where you can easily locate every important aspect of your hosting account. You should be able to easily locate domain settings, email settings, applications install and all the crucial functions.
Most web hosting companies use a ready solution such as CPanel or they create a custom solution. In short, the control panel is what you see after you log in with your credentials on your hosting account.
11.) FTP Accounts
FTP is the short version for “File Transfer Protocol”. You can use ftp to transfer files from your computer to the server where your website is located. It is the most common and efficient way to transfer files. The downside is that you need to create a new username and password.
12.) File Manager
File manager is an easier interface that your hosting provider offers and you don’t need to create new credentials like ftp. The downside is that it isn’t the ideal choice for bigger size files.
13.) 1-Click Installers Of Multiple Applications
There are some popular applications that it would be very helpful if you can install with 1 click without doing advanced time-consuming modifications. Most web hosting companies allow you to install quickly software such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. These are very popular Content Management Systems (in short website builders).
14.) SSH Access
SSH access is something that some tech-savvy customers really use but it is nice to have. You can actually run “commands” by using a command-line interface. You can install more complex applications that way or fix existing bugs.
Staging is a really useful service that many web hosting companies don’t offer! This process creates a duplicate of your site where you can experiment with a new design or any modification without affecting your real website. If you like the changes and you want to transfer the result to your original site then you can decide to do it.
16.) Malware Protection
There are many bad people on the web and they are trying for their own reasons to harm reputable websites. They are trying to get access to valuable data or redirect traffic to harmful content. They are trying to expose weaknesses either from the side of the web hosting provider (getting access on their servers) or guess/find weak passwords that the website owners use.
Your web hosting provider should actively monitor the servers and scans regularly for malwares or unauthorized access. If you site is affected from malware this will lead to a lose in google or other search engine rankings and decrease of your overall traffic.
So, security should be highly prioritize by you and your web hosting provider.
17.) Spam Protection
Professional emails are the number 1 target for spam or even harmful messages. The web hosting providers have some solutions for decreasing the ones you receive. Receiving fewer spam messages can save your time and you can also avoid the temptation to click some harmful link from an email.
18.) Dedicated IP
When you use a shared hosting plan you also share a common IP with many other sites. That can be an issue if there is some other site that uses shady tactics such as massive spam emails. In that case, your email deliverability can be affected too.
Most web hosting providers offer a dedicated IP for a certain fee per month or this service is included in the more expensive hosting plans.
19.) Site Builders
You can build easily websites with WordPress or other CMSs but many hosting companies offer their website builder solutions with ready themes for any industry. This option comes handy especially for beginners that start their first site.
CDN is a very crucial aspect for fast websites especially when you have a global audience. It stands for a content delivery network. When you use this kind of service, some parts of your website (like images) will be cached in different servers globally.
That way your online visitors will download these parts from the closest server to their current location. This process makes your site faster and helps you to handle traffic spikes easier.
The most well-known CDN is the Cloudflare and you can use some of their services for free.
21.) A Caching Solution
Caching is a process of storing data to serve it faster to different online users. CDNs use this kind of mechanism but they don’t cache everything. So usually you need a CDN together with a caching solution to have optimal results.
22.) SEO services
SEO is the short version of “Search Engine Optimization”. This term is about the best practices you should follow if you want your site to rank better on search engines like google. You can find that info easily on the web and for me it isn’t necessary to pay for that service.
I hope that the post was helpful and you learned some new things. I believe it is good to know what you should expect from your web hosting provider. Please post on social media and I would be grateful!