Web hosting Australia: What you need to know
So you’ve finally taken the plunge and decided it’s time to set up your very first website — congratulations! You’ve purchased your domain name but now comes the next big decision: Who’s going to take care of your web hosting in Australia? You can’t have a website without hosting, so where to begin?
Listen to find out what web hosting is (in common terms):
What is hosting?
Hosting is the technology that makes your website visible on the internet. Your hosting company maintains the servers where your website data is stored and managed. You pay them a fee for this service.
You’ll soon find out there are myriad web hosting companies out there, offering a variety of plans.
Like with most products and services, you get what you pay for, so don’t commit to the first cheap plan you stumble across on a quick Google search.
Before you start looking, it’s a good idea to think about your specific needs based on the following criteria:
Type of business
Are you offering a service (plumbing, financial consulting, healthcare) or will you be selling products on your website? eCommerce websites have special hosting and security needs.
Does your business centre on large files that will need to be stored on your website, such as in the case of a wedding photographer? Do you expect to have lots of traffic, such as with a gaming or eCommerce website? Basic hosting won’t be sufficient — you’ll need a beefier plan like GoDaddy’s Business Hosting.
Do you need hosting for Windows or Linux? Do you want features like automatic backups, one-click restore or direct database access? These answers will help you choose the right hosting plan.
But there’s more.
Ask these 5 questions before you commit
Not sure what to ask when comparing web hosting providers? Use this checklist.
What is their uptime guarantee?
Do they offer 24/7 live support?
Is it a reputable company?
Do they offer website security?
What type of hosting plans do they offer?
Rate each company you’re considering on each item. Go with the company that has the highest score.
Start with the right questions
Many hosting companies have seemingly cheap hosting plans that appeal as we all like to save a buck. However, it’s important to dig a little deeper and ask a couple of questions:
1. What is their uptime guarantee?
Uptime guarantee simply means that the hosting company guarantees your website will be up and running most of the time.
Why? A website that can’t be reached by customers and prospects costs your business in client satisfaction. No one likes to click on a link and be told that website can’t be found. People who get such a message are likely to move on to a website they can access. This means a potential loss of sales for your business.
2. Do they offer 24/7 live support?
Round-the-clock live support is crucial when technical issues arise or your website goes down in the middle of a big promotion. Don’t settle for a hosting company without proper customer support or you’ll regret it.
3. Is it a reputable company?
The reputability of a hosting company is a major consideration because a no-name business could lack in the all-important category of reliability. Do your homework before you make a decision; 12 months can feel like a lifetime when your hosting isn’t reliable or easy-to-use.
4. Do they offer website security?
Website security is an increasing concern that must be taken seriously, as hacking can have serious consequences for any business — in terms of both cost and reputation.
Talk to any business owner who has been through a hacking experience and they will share with you the potentially devastating effects.
This is why all web hosting from GoDaddy includes 24/7 security monitoring and DDoS protection. GoDaddy also offers daily malware scanning and SSL encryption for an additional fee (although SSL encryption is included with GoDaddy’s Ultimate and Business Hosting).
5. What do they charge after the initial term?
Once you’re familiar with the different hosting plans, look carefully at the prices quoted after the first 12 months. Some hosting companies start with low introductory prices that increase dramatically after the first year.
How to know what type you need
If you’re new to this world of hosting, you might be surprised to discover there are different types of hosting, especially if you have a WordPress website.
WordPress itself is free, but you will need to pay for hosting.
If you don’t plan to sell things online, basic web hosting is sufficient as:
- You’ll initially have low traffic.
- It’s affordable and easy to get started.
- A reputable hosting company will provide web security.
More complex sites and those likely to experience unexpected traffic spikes need more power than simple informational websites. So anyone who sells online or expects high levels of traffic will need the advanced processing power and memory of web hosting like GoDaddy’s Ultimate Web Hosting plan.
Ultimate hosting also comes with SSL encryption, an absolute must for any website now that Google Chrome is labelling sites without encryption as “Not Secure.”
Hands-free hosting for WordPress sites
For those who have WordPress websites but aren’t big on routine maintenance like updates and security patches, Managed WordPress Hosting is the ultimate. GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting also includes daily backups and one-click restore, in case you need to revert to a saved version of your website. As a plus, all annual WordPress Hosting plans from GoDaddy come with a free domain name included.
Already worked your way through all the levels of basic hosting but not quite ready for your own dedicated server? Consider Business Hosting. This plan is perfect if you want superior speed and performance without ever having to worry about server maintenance or technical issues.
How much does hosting cost?
When it comes to the cost, it can be hard to decide which one will work best for your business within the budget you’ve set. As with most services, the cost increases as you add features, power and support. Starting at a low cost, you can get the bare basics with considerable functionality, then upgrade if and when you need more power.
The lowdown on web hosting in Australia
Choosing the right host for your website is an important decision as it affects your website’s performance and security — and ultimately, the success of your business.
You’ll have to choose the type of hosting based on the kind of website you have, with an additional hosting option available to WordPress users.
As with any service, the cost can vary greatly, depending on features, performance and level of support. Check out GoDaddy’s hosting services for a range of plans to suit any business.
Image by: Max Felner on Unsplash