A web host is a company that stores, manages, and serves files to internet users. Anyone with a website must have web hosting. But not all web hosts are alike. While some provide a wide range of services, others simply play host to your website and serve it up to users on command.
What Is Web Hosting?
Every time you type a URL into a browser, you’re issuing a command: “send me the files I need to view this website.” Your command goes to a server where the files are stored. That server is usually owned by a web hosting service—a company that specializes in storing, managing, securing, and sharing files.
When you purchase web hosting, you’re renting space on a server or, in some cases, on a network of physical and virtual servers (AKA “the cloud”).
Depending on the web host you choose, you may be able to rent your own server (a pricey option), share a server with other websites (best for smaller sites), or become part of a large group of sites that are served by a network of computers and exist in the cloud, thereby lowering costs while still ensuring your site has all the resources it needs.
Key Web Hosting Services
Web hosts come in all sizes, and provide a range of services – so you’ll want to research your options and choose carefully. The most important details you want to consider in your search for a web host are bandwidth and storage space, visitor limitations, and the content delivery network (CDN).
- Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be quickly moved to and from your website. You’ll need higher bandwidth if you’re providing a storefront, streaming video, or other interactive services. You need much less if you’re simply providing a static set of pages.
- Storage is the amount of data that can be stored on the server. Smaller sites need less storage space, but sites that are collecting customer data, making sales, or providing interactive experiences may need much more.
- Many hosts can limit the number of unique monthly visitors who can visit your site. If you’re expecting a large number of new users each month, be sure your host can accommodate them all.
- A CDN is a group of geographically dispersed servers. Spreading out servers reduces delays caused by the physical distance between a visitor’s computer and the website’s server. Always ensure your web host provides an adequate CDN to keep your site running at top speed.
For a more concrete look at bandwidth and storage limits, check out Understanding Elementor hosted website bandwidth and storage limits.
Managed or Unmanaged Hosting?
Before you select a type of hosting, you’ll want to decide whether you want a managed or unmanaged option.
- Choose managed hosting and the hosting provider will configure and maintain the basic server details for you.
- Select unmanaged hosting and you’ll be responsible for configuring and maintaining your server.
Unmanaged hosting is the cheaper option. The reality, however, is that website management requires high level technical skills and quite a bit of dedicated time. Most users will want a managed solution. However, developers might prefer unmanaged hosting for added flexibility and/or cost savings.
Four Top Hosting Options
There are four main types of web hosting available.
Each offers slightly different services at different price points.
Option 1 — Shared Hosting: Low Cost, Limited Services
As the name suggests, shared hosting means sharing resources with other accounts and websites on the hosting server. Because you’re sharing resources, you’ll save money.
But while some shared hosts advertise “unlimited websites”, “unlimited storage”, and/or “unlimited bandwidth,” the reality is that you may well run into limits if resources are overused. Some hosts offer “unmetered” versus “unlimited” storage, which means you aren’t charged by the amount of data you store, but you still have limits on the amount of storage available. Others have “fair use” policies: if you seem to be using more than your “fair share” of storage space or bandwidth, the host has the right to limit your processor time, bandwidth, processes, or memory. If you have a larger site that requires more storage and bandwidth, shared hosting may not be your best option.
Option 2 — Cloud Hosting: Reliable Service on a Flexible Platform
Cloud hosts own many servers in many locations—and all those servers work together to offer reliable, flexible hosting services.
Yes, you are sharing the cloud with many other websites. But you don’t need to worry about storage or bandwidth limitations because there is so much available. Bottom line, on the cloud you always have the promised bandwidth and storage at your disposal.
Need more or less storage or bandwidth than you anticipated? Cloud hosting makes it easy to scale up or down. It’s also a popular, cost-effective solution. That’s why Microsoft and Amazon are in the cloud hosting business: it’s growing fast because it works!
Option 3 – Colocation Facility: An Option for Large Businesses
If you own your own hosting hardware, including the servers, you might want to house your hardware in a colocation facility. Colocation facilities host a company’s servers, providing an Internet connection, a power supply and a climate-controlled environment.
Not surprisingly, colocation facilities are used primarily by large businesses that find it cost-effective to own and manage their own websites.
Option 4 – VPS Hosting: Virtual Private Servers
VPS Hosting provides your website with its own individual private virtual service. Similarly to shared hosting, you share a physical server with other sites, but unlike shared hosting, your site has its own dedicated resources within the server so you’re not sharing resources with others.
Managed hosting providers, cloud hosting providers and colocation facilities all offer virtual private servers. While VPS was once a popular step up from shared hosting, most people will be better off with the cloud hosting approach because it offers more flexibility.
Elementor: Managed Cloud Hosting for WordPress Users
If you’ve built your website on WordPress, you need a host. You can select any host, but many WordPress users find it easier to work with a service that’s specifically built to optimize the WordPress Content Management System (CMS). Elementor provides a managed, WordPress hosting.
The key thing that differentiates hosts like Elementor from “regular” hosting is a suite of concierge services that are added specifically for WordPress sites. These added services can save you time when it comes to maintaining your site.
Typically, WordPress-specific hosts offer:
- Automatic daily backups, with the option to manually back up your site if needed.
- Automatic WordPress updates.
- WordPress-specific security rules.
- Expert WordPress support.
An Elementor hosted website takes the headache out of choosing hosting infrastructure by giving you a complete platform to build a website using WordPress and Elementor. Instead of spending valuable time on technical details, you simply sign up and start building your site using the pre-installed tools.
Elementor hosted websites also offer more transparent pricing by removing some of the hidden hosting costs that you’ll experience with other types of hosting.
For a flat annual fee, you’ll get an all-in-one WordPress website building solution that includes the following:
- Built-in hosting from Google Cloud Platform
- Secure CDN by Cloudflare
- Free SSL certificate from Cloudflare
- 20 GB storage
- 100 GB bandwidth
- 100K monthly visits
- Free custom domain connection
- Free sub domain elementor.cloud
- Automatic daily backups
- Manual backups from My Elementor account
You’ll also get access to Elementor Pro features at no extra cost, which lets you hit the ground running from day one.
For most businesses, managed cloud-based hosting is a flexible, moderately priced solution. If you use WordPress to create your site, you’ll be best off with a managed cloud-based host that specializes in WordPress sites like yours. And if you’re seeking a flexible, professional, turnkey solution to build, manage, and host your WordPress site, Elementor is one of the best options available.