Do I need fast web hosting?

Is fast page loading important?

Users want a quick website loading time. Whether you have a website for a small business selling a handcrafted product, an online store, or even a personal blog, you could be losing traffic due to your load times. If your page loading speed is higher than two seconds, many viewers will simply leave, which is called having a high “bounce rate”. You get them to click on your website through a search engine such as google or bing, or even to directly visit your website through your web address, but you are unable to get your viewer to engage with your website.
Page loading time is particularly relevant to online shopping where users place a large value on the page loading time in correlation with the perceived quality of the site itself. If your site is loading slowly, it may not just cost you a sale. It may also translate into negative word of mouth advertising, with your store developing a negative image.
If you do use images and videos, you can optimize your website to load the barebones of the website first, and the resource intensive elements of the page second. Even if you have a very high full page loading speed, you should find that your bounce rate is equivalent of a low page loading speed. This is because the use is engaging with the website rather than feeling as though it is loading forever.

Getting a quicker page speed through optimization

There are many ways for you to lower page speed on your end. You can reduce redirects, enable caching, optimize images, and many other tricks and tips to make your website run quicker. However, if you have poor web hosting, you will never have quick loading speeds.

Fastest web hosts in the UK

Some web hosts available in the UK that feature quick speeds are InMotion Hosting, A2 Hosting, and HostGator. However, you need to also research the average downtime that your web host experiences to get a full picture of how your customers and readers are going to interact with your website.

Is my web hosting company throttling me?

It does not matter how fast your web host can load pages if you are being throttled. Throttling occurs when you use too many resources. This means that they will allocate less resources to your website, causing drastically higher page loading times. Think of it like an ISP that slows down your internet because you streamed too many high definition videos. Through your web host, you should be able to see a daily update of your resource usage. If you are unable to find where to view this info, contact your web host immediately. If you are close to or are exceeding your allotted resources, you may need to upgrade your tier of web hosting in order to get quick page loading speeds again. This can mean going from shared hosting to dedicated hosting.

Keeping your website secure

How to keep your website secure

Even beginners to computers and web hosting can make large steps towards keeping their websites secure from malicious intent. Some hackers are trying to steal personal information, others will attempt to use your legitimate website to link to their illicit websites, and others simply wish to deface and destroy.
1. Keep your website updated
This is the number one tip because it is very simple yet absolutely necessary. You may be running your website on a platform such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. These three different platforms are updated regularly, and not only to make the user experience nicer or the aesthetics more appealing. The major reason for updates is to patch security vulnerabilities found by users and staff.
Hackers search out websites that are running older versions of WordPress as easy targets.Updates do not stop at the platform. The more plugins that your website is using, the more security vulnerabilities you may be exposed to. To limit your risk, ensure that you are updating plugins as soon as possible.
2. Use tough passwords
This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are still people who use passwords like “Admin1”. These are the very first types of passwords that hackers are going to guess. By changing your usernames and passwords to something more difficult, you can stop lucky guesses and negate the power of brute force attacks. A website like passwordgenerator.net can help you make random passwords!
3. Security plugins can reduce the risk
If you are using WordPress, there are very useful plugins that can help your security. Some plugins will limit login attempts, useful if you are finding that you have many failed logins from other countries. Wordfence is a free security plugin that keeps you updated of major vulnerabilities and reduces the risks of hacks.
4. Use an SSL (https)
If you have an online store, or have any sensitive data stored like credit cards, an https address will protect their information by giving your customers a secure connection between your server and their browser. Feel free to read more with our guide to SSL certificates.
5. Do not allow users to upload files
Allowing users to upload files to your website adds a high level of risk. Even if you trust your users, are you certain that all of them will keep their login information secure? Even if your users are only able to upload images to create a personal profile, it could be used as a gateway to upload a malicious code. If you are less tech-savy, consider not allowing your users to upload any sort of file at all.

Guide to SSL certificates

What is an SSL certificate?

You have probably noticed that most websites start with http. Websites that have an SSL certificate will start with https instead. The S stands for Secure. You may have also noticed that when you use a website there is a padlock icon. This means the website is using an SSL certificate. The whole purpose of the certification is to protect data and sensitive information. For websites that process credit cards and payments, an SSL is what keeps the customer safe. If you don’t use one then all information transmitted is visible to nefarious third parties.

You’re probably wondering what they are and how they work. SSL Certificates use a cryptographic key to bind together your domain, your organizations identity, and your location. In essence, the SLL creates a secure connection between your server and your customers browser.

The SSL provider is in charge of verifying the identity of the company before certifying them.

Do I need an SSL certificate?

If you are selling a product online then you need to make it a priority for your customers to feel safe. Even though the online economy is huge and customers are growing more and more accustomed to buying online, most people know someone who has been scammed through a site. There is a still a bit of hesitancy to providing your credit to a site that is not well known. Using an SSL and showing that your website is secure and safe is a key to having your customers actually check out instead of getting worried and leaving items in their online shopping basket.

There are theories that Google actually uses the presence of a secure connection in its page ranking algorithm, says SSL.com.

If I have multiple websites can I use a single certificate?

In general, no. An SSL is valid for one single domain. If you try to use a single certificate for multiple domains then your customers and website visitors are going to get a large warning message. This provides the absolute opposite effect that you want.

In fact, if you even have a mail subdomain then you will need either a separate certificate or a wildcard certificate. Basically, a wildcard certificate secures both your domain and all first-level subdomains. What is a first-level subdomain? An easy example is your mail subdomain which looks something like mail.yourcompanyname.com. This option will be more expensive than your standard cert.

Is buying a cheap SSL certificate a good idea?

One of the first things you need to know for your business is the SSL certificate cost. You need to know if you can get a SSL certificate for a reasonable price without sacrifice. Most small businesses can aim for the lower end of price. The general price differences come from the verification checks that the SSL provider enforces. By going with a cheaper option you skip the manual verification process. This results in a quicker, cheaper process. Choosing the right SSL is a simpler process than choosing the correct web hosting.

The real issue is with the Certifying Authority. If you are buying an SSL from a trusted CA then the price is less of a factor. The validity of the certificate is all that matters. Your customers and website visitors can easily see the certificate chain and decide if they trust the CA or not. By using a less trustworthy CA you can appear cheap and like you do not have your customers best interests in mind.

 

What is web hosting?

In simple terms, what is web hosting?

Your customers search your company name on Google. They see your website pop up on the search page, and they click it. They are transported to your website. This is a process you have done thousands of times in your life. Where exactly does web hosting play in the picture?

To put a website up you need to first purchase a domain name. When people go to your website by typing in www,yourdomainname.com, they are taken to your site. But if you have no web hosting, they will be taken to a blank page.

Web hosting can vary widely in price depending on your company needs. There are even options for free web hosting available.

How do domain names know where to point visitors? This is done using DNS. DNS or Domain Name System refers to nameservers. It is a code that you “point” towards your web hosting company so that the web hosting company can associate your website with the web hosting service that you have purchase from them. If you are purchasing your domain from your web hosting provider then the DNS code will already be pointing to the web hosting site and you will not have to make any changes. However, if you purchase your domain name from a third party you will have to follow the simple process of pointing your domain name to your web host. This sounds more complicated than it really is. Generally it is a process that can be completed in just a few minutes.

Web hosting is what allows visitors to actually see your website.
It is where you website exists. You need to buy a site for your brick and mortar business to exist in. Web hosting is this space where you can store your files, images, and web content.

If you are asking about web hosting, you probably also want to know if good web hosting is important.

How does web hosting work?

A web hosting company has a physical server and a data center. The server provides space for your website to exist on. When you are uploading files, they need to be stored somewhere. They are stored in the physical server of your web hosting provider.

What is a server?

This is another term that is less complicated than it sounds. In essence, a server is just a computer that is used for a network. The word server refers to both the computer that is used for computational power and the computer program that allows the computer’s resources to be used for hosting your website.

Web hosting servers are where all of your files reside. This includes the HTML that forms your websites and all of your media content such as pictures and videos.

The data center offers you connectivity to the internet.

In the end, web hosting is very simple. A web hosting company is one which uses a whole bunch of computers that work as servers to store all of your website’s data.

free-web-hosting

Free Website Hosting

Free Website Hosting

Free web hosting is a great option for those who need hosting for non-commercial purposes. There are multiple free hosting options that can be the best to start out when you are just learning the ropes of website building. The drawback of free web hosting is, in general, that it comes with the company’s branding or ads. Generally you can upgrade to remove branding and advertisements once your blog or website starts to get popular. This makes free website hosting a good place to start out for bloggers on a budget.

It is important that you are choosing the right hosting for your needs. We do not recommend free hosting for those who are using their website for commercial services. We recommend it for those who are recreational users and bloggers. Free hosting is especially useful for those who wish to share their blogs as the online communities associated with each option frequent and share each others posts virally.

Where can you get Free Website hosting for businesses and organization use?

Weebly

Many small businesses use Weebly because it is simple and advertisement free. Headquartered in the tech hub of San Francisco, it has skyrocketed to popularity based on their widget based drag and drop website builder. It is incredibly simple to use. This free web hosting option has no advertisements.

Websites are hosted in the format of www.yourwebsite.weebly.com.

Weebly’s free web hosting infrastructure is cloud based. It features unlimited monthly bandwith as well as unlimited storage, though it does limit the file size of each individual file that you upload.

Upgrading to their paid plans is the only way to connect a non-branded domain. They have very reasonable paid plans at $8, $12, and $25 monthly which include a free domain registration for one year.

Among our list of free web hosting options, Weebly is the best for small businesses. Weebly caters less towards bloggers and more towards those who wish to set up a commercial venture but do not know where to start. If you do find that the disadvantages of the Weebly branding are becoming onerous, it is simple to upgrade.

GitHub Pages

For those who do not want to deal with databases, HTML, and other considerations, GitHub is a good option. It works with the Github repository.

Jekyll is the tool which Github uses in order to change plain text files into website. For feature is a must those who want more customization. GitHub has the advanage of being monetizable. You can include adsense and other forms of monetization such as donation buttons that other free hosting may not allow.

Websites are in the format of yourwebsite.github.io. You can also purchase a custom domain name and host it using GitHub. While this will not have the customer support, speed, and uptime guarantees of paid hosting, it is at no cost to yourself except the domain name itself.

GitHub is also useful for blogging. Those who generally use GitHub are programmers and computer experts, and it would be well suited for a technology blog.

 Where can you get Free Website hosting for blogging?

Google Blogger

There is a weight of reliability to every service that Google offers. Google’s free web hosting offers branded sites in the domain format of

www.yourwebsite.blogspot.com.

Google Adsense is the best way to monetize a blog. Google has integrated adsense into their blogger platform to make it exceptionally easy to monetize your website once you have traffic. Like other free web hosting, you can always upgrade to paid hosting in order to have your own custom domain.

Why would you choose Google Blogger? Reliability. Google backs up your blog, offers quick loading times, and has the easiest way to monetize.

What disadvantages are there to Google Blogger? You may become frustrated by the post structure. Permalinks are always shown as Website/Date/Post. This can lead to some ugly urls that are less shareable. For example if your site was cooloilpaintings.blogspot.com and you posted a article titled “The Best Oil Paintings” in September of 2016, your post link would be as follows:

http://cooloilpaintings.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-best-oil-paintings.html

That is not very pretty!

You can have up to 100 different blogs and up to 1GB of space. By creating a google plus account you will be upgrade to 15GB of space completely free. Individual pages are limited to 1MB.

WordPress

WordPress is an incredible free hosting option due to the huge amount of free themes that you can use. This can turn a free website into one that looks professional while needing little to no knowledge of website building. Their free websites are hosted in the format of www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com.

The WordPress free option will not be attractive to you if you wish to run adsense ads. WordPress restricts Google Adsense and all third party advertisers, but does have it’s own “WordAds” service for blogs that have reached both quality and traffic requirements. They also crackdown on paid posts, paid links, and other forms of monetizing their free blogs for other people’s products. They do allow you to promote your own products within reason.

WordPress is perfect for beginners and personal blogs but the free web hosting options do have limits. Experienced web designers will be frustrated by the lack of customizability of themes and will want to upgrade to either the WordPress paid hosting or use the WordPress platform for a site under a different paid hosting company.

Tumblr

For bloggers who wish to have a visually dominated blog, Tumblr is one of the best options. It’s main purpose is to share images and videos virally, and it is set up to make it intuitive and simple to share posts. Tumblr uses a category system which allows it to have very specific blogs catering to specific audiences. If you are able to grow a following by posting relevant, shareable content, then your page will grow. Tumblr would be well suited for a photographic blog.

 Advantages and Disadvantages of free hosting

Why do we recommend paid hosting over free hosting? Reliability. The advantage of free hosting is obvious. It is free. You pay for your custom domain name and use the service, or you use their branded domain name and do not pay a dime. If you are a blogger or have a small business, this can work for you. If you are trying to establish your own brand and your own website, having a custom domain name is necessary to establish a following and to give weight to your information.

Free hosting may work well for you if you do not require your website to be as fast as commercial hosting offers, and if the occasional downtime is acceptable to you. If you have an online store or are monetizing your website through advertisement services, slow page loading times and downtime will hurt your bottom line. Once you have reached a point of growing your website where you are able to make a side income, offer a different income stream to a brick and mortar business, or simply establish an online presence, the disadvantages of free hosting become more pronounced. It is not acceptable for your website to go down when you have customers waiting. With numerous cheap hosting options available, there are better options for those who are serious about their website.

Good web hosting important?

Even if a website owner has the best content online, without good servers, a lot of their efforts will be futile. Good servers is very important to the success of the site, more so if it is a business site. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to find the provider or, at least, close to the best.

-SEO related

Every site should aim to be easily found online. This means it is easily found by search engines. Some of the things that will affect your SEO are problems associated with the provider, For example:

– Load speeds:

Search engines recommend sites that are highly responsive. Sluggish speeds affect the user experience, therefore, the likes of Google and Bling will ignore slow loading sites in favour of the faster ones.

– Downtime:

The frequency of downtime and the duration will greatly affect SEO. If a site is not available, search engines will not recommend it. Site hosting with a lot of downtime will disappoint so many visitors and they will lose interest in the site. Search engines are also trying to protect their reputation so they would rather cut ties with sites that are always down.
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– Affect your Rankings

One of the most popular ranking sites is Alexa and you will notice in the rankings it offers insight into what determines a site’s ranking and one of them is load speeds and downtime. These will, in turn, affect the following:

 

– Bounce rate:

When a page takes too long to load or is unavailable, naturally the visitor is going to leave, when you have so many people doing that then your bounce rates will increase and the rankings of the site will go down. Webhosting that fails to manage the traffic on it’s servers will cause a lot of bounces for the websites hosted on it and the rankings will drop dramatically.

– Conversions

Ranking is also going to affect the conversion. If you have a site that requires visitors to stick on and say make a purchase or read detail about your business, it defeats the purpose if they click on the site and get discouraged too soon so they do not see the important information which would have contributed to a conversion so the site is not doing what it is intended for.

Which costs you money

If you are not getting conversions, naturally you will not be making any money. First of all, you are spending money on the host but money is not coming in. For an e-commerce site, the best is very important because even less than an hour of downtime can cost millions of Euros. Every time a visitor is unable to access the site that is money being lost. For smaller businesses it is even worse because the budget for advertising is limited so a working site is very important for telling people what you have to offer and if that is not possible, the business will take a big hit.

Parting Shot
The importance of having an online presence cannot be overemphasised. It is simply important. However, the importance of choosing the right hosting company must be borne in mind. It is important to choose wisely since this defines your online experience and that of anyone who visits your site. When it comes to website hosting, go with a firm that has unparalled expertise and many years of experience. Check out our FAQ of most frequently asked questions.

 

What are we about?
We are an experienced team with a drive to provide the best reviews in Ireland and beyond. Every member of the team is dedicated to their work which makes it much easier for them to provide service with a smile no matter the situation.

We believe in putting the needs of our customer first and know that the best way to satisfy a customer is to understand what they want, give them information about what they are getting so that in the end they can make an informed decision based on what will work best for them.

Choosing the right hosting

The first step in choosing the right hosting is to identify your needs. When you know what you need, it becomes easier to go ahead and make a choice. It is also advisable to check comparison sites so that you know what to expect from each host and see which one is offering you better service at a reasonable price. The following are the types.

Different type of website hosting and who they suit

Shared Web Hosting:

This is recommended for start-up businesses and small websites that will not have a lot of traffic. If you are just starting up a website it is best to go for this and possibly upgrade when the traffic increases and people know the site. Shared is the most preferred  type because it provides a cheap option. Sometimes sign up is even free and then renewal will be charged. Shared  involves using one server that hosts a number of other websites. With shared, you share the RAM of the server and the CPU. What other websites do can also affect the other websites sharing the server. It is important to remember that if you have too much traffic to your website, it can result in a crash.

Virtual Private Server:

VPS is also a type of shared hosting but, in this case, there is a virtual division on the shared server so that each website will have its own IP address on the server. It is ideal for website owners who would like to have more freedom to upgrade, and install new software without having to go through system administrators. Many people who may want to upgrade from the shared plan but do not have a lot of money, will prefer this option as long as they do not have too much traffic to their site. VPS gives more freedom to send emails and stream media, which would be restricted on an ordinary shared server. It might not be the best package, but it suits particular needs at a reasonable price.

Cloud Hosting:
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Cloud employs cloud computing technology which enables a number of computers referred to as a cloud to handle some of the traffic to a particular server. It is part of virtual private hosting but is at times provided as a option on its own. It is ideal for websites that may experience a spike in traffic from time to time and may need more resources to handle this. It can be compared to getting a temporary upgrade that occurs immediately without having to wait for the upgrade to be implemented.

Reseller:

This is the best for websites that wish to provide third party as part of their business. With reseller, the website is able to offer space on their allotted hard drive, to third parties. The reseller buys server space from the main host and then offers it to customers for a profit. In most cases reseller hosts have a dedicated server which they turn into a shared server that they will administer and ensure their customers adhere to the terms and conditions of the main host. Reseller hosting is ideal for web site designers, web developers and system integrators who will offer hosting services to their clients

Dedicated Server:

This is the most powerful  type with a lot of freedom to manage the server as you see fit. It is ideal for big businesses that receive a lot of traffic. It is also ideal for resellers. Dedicated servers, however, are the most expensive option. Popular sites, businesses with large customer databases and those with high traffic will find this to be the best option. Dedicated  offers better security, more freedom to install new software and stability of emails. With dedicated , the client is the only user of the server and can choose how to use it according to their need.

Server location:
The server location is one of the big questions you need to get answered before you choose a host. The location of a server can greatly affect your website’s performance. Location can determine, how fast your site loads, how natural or political events affect your website, the kind of audience you attract as well as the technology available for you to use on your website. Consider the impact an earthquake could have on your website if it is hosted in a location that is prone to earthquakes. Or if the server is located in an area with poor electricity supply, what impact would that have on your website. We recommend you use a provider with servers based in Ireland if your website an Irish customer base.

– Might want server location close to target audience ( faster page load speed)

It is very important too that the server location is close to your target audience in order to improve loading speeds which in turn will affect the SEO ranking and entire performance of your website. When a visitor to your website clicks on a page, the request is sent through multiple channels before it gets to the server and then back to the guest so if the server is far off, the time it will take to load that page will be longer so having the server near your target will help speed up loading time.

Alternatively, the server location should be in a place with good infrastructure which will reduce the problem associated with ‘Hops’ made when trying to access servers that are far away. This mainly applies to businesses that may have an international audience and may want to reduce the cost of setting up servers in every continent in the name of proximity to the audience.

Price:
Price is another very important consideration to take when choosing the best web hosting. Your budget can determine what type you will go for. This does not mean you should sacrifice quality in the name of getting a cheap deal. It is possible to find an affordable option that will still be good enough. Make a comparison of different options and then choose the best that is also within your budget.

Other things to be aware of

When choosing the right hosting for a site, it is important that you also ask the following questions. The answers will help you make a decision basing on your needs.

How many domains and emails with the package?
When your site gets busy, you will probably need to be able to send out emails to your customers for example if they have signed up for newsletters. Or if you would like to use email marketing as one of your marketing strategies. Even if the package says you will receive unlimited, it is important to find out the terms and conditions of that unlimited offer since many times, unlimited does not really mean there are no conditions on the number of emails or domain names.

Backups:
You do not want to end up losing data on your website, so it is important to know what kind of backup system is used and how much can it do for you. For example, if the server is affected by malware, is there a backup system that can be used to keep the site running? Find out as much as you can about the backup.

Customer service:
Websites are supposed to be available 24/7 which means problems can arise at any time, it is a good idea to find out if the host provides customer service at all times and what kind of assistance do they provide. If you are not familiar with the technical bit of running a website, it helps to have customer service that will be on hand to help at all times or according to your need.