Website hosting and maintenance. We all know our websites need it, but few of us really understand it. Which leaves us wondering why it costs so dang much, why it’s different from registering your domain, and more. In this article, we’ll demystify the cost for website hosting in addition to answering other top questions about hosting and maintenance.
But first, let’s define terms:
What is website hosting and maintenance?
Every website is made up of digital files which contain all the code and images that make your website look the way it does. The files need to be stored on a server connected to the internet in order for it to be accessed on the World Wide Web.
Website hosting occurs when a hosting provider rents out space on their internet-connected server(s) for you to store all your website files.
There are different types of website hosting suited to different sizes of websites. Shared hosting is usually affordable for most small websites. A virtual private server (VPS) offers fast speeds, high storage capacity, and customizability. For most small businesses, a dedicated server is probably a bit of overkill in both size and price.
At Ingenium BCS, we have a dedicated server for only our clients and guarantee everyone’s storage space and bandwidth. Even though our clients share hosting, they can all tap into and enjoy the benefits of the resources of our dedicated server.
You can learn more about the different types of hosting in this article.
WordPress website maintenance is the various tasks necessary to keep your website looking fresh and running smoothly. Website maintenance can be divided into two categories: front end maintenance and backend maintenance.
Front end WordPress maintenance addresses the things that can be seen by the public. It involves keeping content fresh and updated, making design tweaks to improve the navigation, etc.
Backend WordPress maintenance ensures that your website will continue running smoothly on the front. It involves keeping plugins and themes updated, running regular backups and security scans, etc. Without backend maintenance, websites become slow to load, they become more vulnerable to being hacked, and the websites eventually break.
Website visitors expect quick site load speeds, functioning website features, and secure information sharing, all part of providing your visitors a stellar online experience with your business. Quality hosting and maintenance ensures visitors get that stellar experience every time.
You can contract with providers like Ingenium BCS for backend maintenance, front end maintenance, or both.
What is the cost for website hosting and maintenance?
The cost for website hosting and maintenance really varies depending on who you ask and how they structure their pricing. depending on the size of site, the site customizations and whether it was e-commerce or not.
Hosting plans generally range between $2 and $80 per month depending on the size of your site, and the amount of site traffic, and what maintenance or security add-ons are included. Not only is that a huge range, but many providers start way low and then jump the rates up high when it’s time to renew. It’s about the equivalent of acquiring cable TV – the monthly fee starts low with great add-ons, but it eventually rises to a significantly higher amount.
On average, we have found that most hosting and maintenance companies charge up to $300 per month. As important as hosting and site maintenance are, we think that’s exorbitantly high, which is why we price our small business website hosting/backend maintenance service at a flat $55 per month.
With our hosting and maintenance services, you do not need to be a marketing client and you get the same quality features that the more expensive guys offer. You can check out what’s included with our hosting plan here.
What’s the difference between registering a domain and hosting a website?
When you are setting up a website, you need to pay for both registering your domain and website hosting. Your website’s domain name (e.g. ingeniumbcs.com) is the address that tells your internet browser which server it needs to connect with in order to access your website files.
When you register your domain, you’re paying for a server that’s part of the Domain Name System (DNS) index. When you enter a URL in an internet browser, this server points the browser to the correct hosting server containing all the website’s files. So, your domain name is part of one server network and your website is stored on another server network – all necessary for accessing a website.
You can think of domain registration like an address in a directory and website hosting like the actual house. When you build a house, you need to register the address somewhere so that people can send you mail and visit you.
The cost of domain registration depends on the pricing of each domain name host, the extension (.com, .org, .biz, etc.), and whether you are buying a publically-available domain or a “premium” domain from a reseller. Domain names can be as little as $10 a year, but resellers can spike the cost into the thousands.
You can learn more about domain registration vs website hosting in this article.
Why does providing SSL matter?
There’s a lot you can learn about SSL – what it is, how it works, etc. And if you want to get into those details, this is a great article from HubSpot all about SSL.
But to keep things simple, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is the difference between a URL that has “https” at the beginning or only “http.” You want SSL and the “https” at the beginning. SSL ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted and makes sure any information shared on a website (credit cards, addresses, etc.) is secure.
Not only is SSL critical for security, but it’s also important for the perception of your website and SEO. Ever see that red warning on Chrome when you visit a website that doesn’t have SSL? Yeah, it looks bad and makes the website look dangerous. Additionally, Google bots rank websites that have SSL certificates higher than those that do not.
A website hosting and maintenance provider should include SSL encryption with their hosting services.
What to look for in a website hosting and maintenance provider
Finding a quality hosting and maintenance provider for your small business’ website is key to reducing headaches for you and frustration for your customers. So here’s what you need to look for:
Do they provide you with admin access? If not, look elsewhere. These types of companies often hold your website files hostage and make it harder than necessary if you decide you want to switch to a different provider in the future.
Do they offer regular site backups? Something will inevitably go wrong with your website at some point. It just happens. Having backups allows your website to be restored to the most recent, properly functioning version.
What security features do they provide? I once worked at a company when the website got hacked. It wasn’t fun. Tight security means your files are protected as well as your customers’ information. Always have an SSL certificate added to your domain name and be sure your website host provides software to scan for and prevent malware and ransomware attacks.
How responsive are they? You need to determine how quickly they will answer your questions, respond to your requests for help, and fix whatever issues may come up.
What does it cost to transfer your website to and from the host? Many hosting providers charge a fee to “zip up” your website files and provide what you need to to move your website off of their hosting servers. At Ingenium, we offer hosting transfers for free – even if your old hosting provider won’t give you admin access. This is the easiest way to get your website moved over to a new hosting provider and guarantee you won’t get any gray hairs in the process.
This article from Forbes includes these and a few other factors to consider when looking for a hosting and maintenance provider.
Host with Ingenium!
We’re always looking for ways to help small businesses out which is why we’re pleased to offer website hosting and maintenance for WordPress sites. Hosting doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, and you have other things to worry about instead of maintaining your website’s backend.