Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Why you should think seriously to implement HTTPS on your website or blog

Is your website open to internet crimes and snooping?


All web surfers know that the first expression in any web address or URL is http:// or https://. Even if the browser at times does not show this, it is there, hidden from our view.

HTTP means HyperText Transfer Protocol. Webopedia gives its simple definition: HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.

HTTPS or SSL certification secures your website/ blog, improves SEO.
 
The information (messages, instructions, content) travels through internet from the user's browser to the website server and back as determined by the rules of HTTP. Hackers, which sometimes include Government agencies, can easily read the information traveling on the net with the help of special software. That makes the information vulnerable to various types of crimes and snooping by intelligence agencies and Governments. The recent exposes of how the US agencies were collecting information worldwide is a discomforting example of data leakage that can happen when servers are connected and sharing information.

Does your blog or website need https instead of http?


One of the easiest ways to assure the visitor that your website is not compromised is to implement HTTPS. What it means is that the information traveling from your website has the protection of at least one security layer. When you have HTTPS implemented, the data traveling from your website is encrypted and the visitor also is assured that what he is seeing on the browser is not a phishing website.

Having HTTPS on your website leads to higher visitor's/ user's confidence. In case of websites without this security layer, modern web browsers warn users against doing a money transaction and they also warn when the security certificate of a website is not trustworthy.

In addition, a security certified website it likely to be a trust-worthy website in other respects. Therefore, it helps in SEO rankings and Google and other search engines bring them high up in search results.In fact, the way Google is promoting HTTPS, it appears that HTTP will not be seen at all in 4-5 years.

Google has put this warning on its Search Console website,  Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.

You definitely need https security for your blog or website if you are into online payments for products or services.

Are all web addresses with HTTPS prefix equally safe?


Not really. Just having an HTTPS certificate does not ensure that the site is perfectly safe against any fraud or online crime or data leakage. But it does show that the site is genuine in certain respects and it ensures that the data is encrypted when exchanged on the web.

At the minimum level, websites get DV certificate for security layer, technically called Secure Sockets Layer or SSL. DV stands for Domain Verification. That means, the site's domain is verified and the website that you see on the browser is not a replica of the genuine site. You do not know whether the website is owned by a good or bad organization, so it will not protect if the website's real owner himself is a fraud.

OV or Organisation Validation is a higher level of SSL certificate which is given after thoroughly checking the organisation's reputation behind the website.

EV or Extended Validation is the top level SSL certificate, which is given after further checks on the company.

Even with a high level of security assured under OV and EV certificates, there can be a bad certificate issued by a Certification Agency. There have also been cases when a malware has been able to penetrate the SSL security layer. But these are exceptions.

How do I implement HTTPS on my website/ bog?


For giving the HTTPS security to your website, you need to get the SSL certificate. Most Certification Agencies give it at a price, and some have started giving the DV level of certificate free too. It also comes bundled with expensive types of web hosting packages.

For HTTPS, you have to apply for the certificate and after some formalities and checks, the Certification Agency gives you the desired certificate. It involves installing the certificate on the web server where the website is hosted. When a visitor's browser connects to your site's server, the certificate code triggers the SSL protocol and shares information with the browser through encrypted  messages. Same happens when another server tries to connect to your website's server.

By the way, free blogs on Wordpress and Blogger are now behind HTTPS security by default.

PS: This website itself is still not under SSL! Not by design but it is currently hosted in Google server as a free hosted site and Google does not provide HTTPS cover for such blogs/ websites yet. Since we do not deal with sensitive data and have not started any monetary transaction involving sensitive data transfer, we are OK with that. In near future, we intend to migrate and have an SSL certificate.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Whatever the web host says, keep a separate backup of your blog or website

This post is more on sharing thoughts on importance of periodic back up of site beyond what is provided by the web host. I have given links at the bottom for actual back up procedure to be followed for different types of blogs and websites.

All web hosting companies and their plans have the provision to back up your website/ blog. So, why should you bother about backing up the site separately. Why take the trouble?

First thing first. Yes, it can be cumbersome to take full back up of your site if it has become quite big with many types of resources. But that answers the question: Whey you have a blog with just a few posts and you have not invested in special themes and plugins/ customization, you will perhaps not mind much if the blog is lost to hackers or due to a mishap in the host's location. However, when your blog or website is full of resources, its loss will be a huge setback to you. So, the botheration in backing up the blog or website, even if it looks big right now, will look very small when you have the back up handy so as to put the blog/ website back to life.

And believe us, websites do crash and their data is lost or corrupted even when they are hosted on big servers and has a dedicated team to look after them.


That was one, and the biggest, reason for a back up away from the web host. There are others. For example, you have a dispute with the host and he is not cooperating with taking a copy of the entire website? Or, you want to take the website to a new host, for other reasons? Or, you want to do some upgrade - which, the way technology behaves, might lead to bugs and will you not need a previous version of the website to restore it to a healthy state? People have even reported that their web host had accidentally deleted their website while doing some maintenance operation.

And the fact is that 2 out of 5 small businesses and blogs do not have any backup plan. It's not me guessing this, but has been reported on the web.

Links that may help you in deciding how and where to back up your blog or website:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Website speed is important for seo, user experience; web hosting too has a role in it

Google has made it very clear that it considers website speed as one of the signals by which it ranks websites for search. There is a logic for this: if a website loads slower when Google's bot crawls it, the bot would not be able to crawl all the pages on the site within the allocated time and would move ahead.

Let me hasten to add that though Google includes website speed as one factor in search results, it is not too big a factor. However, it is a bigger factor from user perspective. Look at the pointers below we have copied from a Kissmetrics article:
  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
 

Improving website load speed


There are a dozen things you can do on-page to reduce the load time of the website and that of individual web pages. These would include minifying the HTML, zipping some elements, reducing the need to call many web elements such as scripts, optimizing images for the web, removing bad plugins and so on.

But you also need to look for the server side parameters. If your blog or small website does not have much traffic and visitors do not have to make instant purchase decisions, you can afford to accept normal server and bandwidth resources available in cheap and shared plans. However, if you are in competition with high-speed sites, you need to look at this aspect with all seriousness. A VPS or higher level of web hosting will definitely take care of server end speed. Other things being equal, a cloud web host is likely to provide a better speed because of distributed servers. A dedicated server and accompanying resources give a much higher speed than the shared (therefore, likely cramped and crowded) hosting servers, but that is for big big companies.

Website speed is an important factor for Google search.

You can visit this detailed compendium of articles from Google about improving web page/ website speed. You can also use Google's trusted and free webpage speed testing tool to test the speed of your website or blog and make use of their recommendations.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Web hosting industry news

DreamHost refuses to part with information to US Department of Justice


DreamHost has reported that it has received a potentially alarming request from DoJ and The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website. ... That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment.

DreamHost protests DoJ notice on sharing content.
courtesy: DreamHost

DreamHost claims that when they made inquiries about the request, DoJ - instead of replying - filed a motion to force them to part with the information. For now, DreamHost has filed legal arguments in opposition, which in simple terms means that DreamHost is contesting DoJ's notice for sharing the required information.

What the new handshake between Box and Microsoft Ajure means for web hosting


Microsoft offers Ajure, a mammoth collection of integrated cloud services which one can use to create web-based applications. The tools and technologies are open source and cross-platform.

Box is a file sharing and collaboration platform. If you have used Google Docs, well, it is something like that - but allows for much more complex collaboration and solutions, and provides much more storage space.

They have been partnering on some projects already, and now they have joined hands for integrated offers for cloud based content management. What appears is that it will provide content management functions of Box platform linked to storage of content on Ajure which has much more spread across the globe than Box.  Microsoft says... the companies commit to shared go-to-market investments, including initiatives to co-sell Box with Azure. In addition, the partnership will enable future integration between Azure’s artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities with Box’s cloud content management platform.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What does web host's claim of 99.9% uptime mean?

All big and small web hosting companies claim to give you 99.9% uptime. Even their least expensive plans and discounted plans claim to give you that much uptime.

web hosting companies can play games with bloggers.

Uptime is the time for which your site will be up and running on the host server and will be served to visitors with active internet connection. In non-technical terms, it is the time your website will be accessible to visitors, and is measured in percentage.

What the 99.9% server uptime means is that the web host is assuring you that in a day, the server will be un-available to visitors only for 1/1000 of time, which translates to 1.5 minutes a day, or about 43 minutes in a month. That looks pretty good, isn't it? We all have found even the biggest sites not being reachable at times.

In practice, many hosts, especially those with server clusters or servers 'on the cloud' keep giving 100% uptime for days together. On the other hand, they they don't count maintenance downtime towards downtime, and it includes scheduled maintenance (software and security upgrades, reboots, etc).

Some webhosts, mostly as a marketing gimmick, offer you refund for any extra downtime than what is promised: this is hardly worth mentioning. A tiny sum, which too they won't refund but adjust when you renew your plan. Then they will say, you din't ask for refund within a day, and they will have some terms of contract written in small print that will not allow you that refund.On the other end of the spectrum, big companies have such clause in built in their Service Level Agreement (SLA), and they have wherewithals to charge for unwarranted downtime.

In fact, most blogs and websites of small to medium-sized enterprises should be happy with this much uptime. Only big clients, who pay for dedicated servers or big plans, can ask for uptime of more than 99.9% and they get it, because they have the muscle to demand it. Critical services or high-end e-commerce websites need uptime of 99.999% (the maximum web hosts can actually serve). They need that much uptime, in terms of bandwidth as well as server being responsive.

You should be happy with 99.9% uptime. There could be shady or incompetent hosts who promise the moon at the time of booking your plan and then give you a poor downtime. When you question them, they have a hundred 'valid' reasons for that. So, be sure through your research (checking reviews, asking users, etc) that the host delivers on promise.Otherwise, this can be a very sore point, because any downtime means not having the website available when people look for it.

Pasted here is a link of an Australian uptime testing company, as an example of research that is available on the web. We neither support or question their findings; please make your own judgement based on your own research.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Don't go for reseller web hosting unless you fully trust it

Reseller web hosting, as the name suggests, is when someone buys hosting resources in bulk and then sells it in retail to others. His or her role is limited to providing some integration services.

Some big web hosts promote reseller hosting so as to grow business. They also claim that their resellers give the same class of service as they give to their first-hand customers. That may be true to some companies, but we advise that you take reseller hosting with a pinch of salt.

Reseller web hosting can be a losing proposition unless double-checked.

You can definitely buy hosting solutions from a reseller host if you fully trust the reseller because of your knowing him/ her or because of a believable recommendation or the reseller being an educational lab or high reputation of their past. In case you take the services of a web designer or developer and they have reseller plans, you can go for their plan as a combo-offer that takes care of all your website maintenance work. Otherwise it can turn out to be a lose-lose proposition. You have no control over much of the resources, the main host may not give you proper service, the reseller (who is generally a small-time tech operator) will not be able to help you in times of traffic surge or when issues arise, and the charges will still be only marginally lower than the low-end web hosting plans of big players.

So, friends, the advice it: Don't go for a reseller hosting plan just because it looks cheap or comes with bundled offers; double check the plan and discard the reseller hosting offer if you can get a somewhat similar plan from a reputed and trusted web host.

Why Wordpress is bloggers' first choice for self-hosted blogs?

Hosting of a blog on the web starts with having a free blog already on some platform (Blogger, Wordpress, etc), buying a hosting space and putting the blog there.

The reverse is true for bloggers who want to go for a self-hosted blog from day 1. If you are such a blogger, you'd buy a web hosting plan and then create your blog in that web space.

Wordpress fits well with self hosting of blogs.

For majority of bloggers, it is the first route that they take. You already have a blog on Wordpress or Blogger or elsewhere and you later want to host it independently.

Though Blogger has many features and the facility for playing with its code much more than what a free Wordpress blog allows (Other free blogging platforms such as Tumblr have even fewer customization features), when it comes to self-hosting, it helps if you are already familiar with Wordpress blogging. 

Wordpress blog is amenable to easy self hosting


There are 3 main reasons why having a Wordpress free blog makes it easy to shift to selof-hosted blog:

1. You already are familiar with Wordpress environment. Wordpress.org CMS software looks a lot similar to Wordpress.com free blogging platform. So, if you have familiarity with the buttons, tools and plugins and how they respond, working on a blog created using Wordpress.org CMS looks very easy.

2. Wordpress.com does not require you to migrate to another host, but allows you space and other premium services for a payment. This aspect can be looked into as a viable alternative to having a blog on a new host, and has been dealt with separately. But if you want to expand beyond what Wordpress premium plans can provide you, this option might not suit you.

3. All popular web hosts have simple tools for hosting a Wordpress.org created blog. This goes highly in favor of Wordpress. Because Wordpress is so popular as a blogging content management system (CMS), all big web hosting companies provide simple, 'one-click' solutions to host the blog on their servers. Though this is meant for blogs created with Wordpress CMS (i.e. Wordpress.org), blogs created on free Wordpress.com also can be hosted with the same ease due to similar internal structure and coding. In case of blogs or websites made on other platforms, you might need to go through a series of steps.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What is cloud hosting and how does it work?

Cloud, in computing sense, refers to a network of servers (type of big computers), with distributed resources. The companies that offer cloud services have a system by which they offer you web space or applications in such a way that if there is any constraint of network availability, bandwidth or power failure or else, other servers take over.

Cloud web hosting connects servers across the globe.


Because they have big resources and they can dynamically 'load balance' in case of heavy traffic or such other demand from websites, cloud hosting companies often offer scalable - or pay as you consume - plans. Though it is not necessary that a localized server will not give the same level of service, cloud hosting companies claim to give high level of reliability and stability because of the distributed and shared nature of hosting.

On pricing, bigger clients tend to gain because of scalability (i.e. they need not buy the maximum level of resources which lie idle except during peak level of activity). For smaller website/ blog owners, companies seem to be using 'cloud' as a bet to charge somewhat more than the standard type of hosting.

Critics talk of data security risks due to the fact that the data travels between connected computers, but cloud hosts seem to have been taking enough care on this count. Like in the case of localized hosting, the bigger the plan you purchase, the more security features it has.

Amazon is at present the biggest cloud company in the world, with presence across continents. Google, Microsoft and many other regular web hosts provide cloud hosting services. But there are reports of some hosts with very cheap plans selling sub-standard services; if the servers are bad or there is low dedicated bandwidth or insecure firewalls or poor customer service, only being 'on the cloud' does not matter.

So, while being aware that cloud hosting has some great intrinsic value, it is important to go with a reliable host and a plan that suits you - cloud or no cloud.

Don't spend a cent on web hosting, yet run a great independent blog!

How much do you need to maintain a good website or blog?
Thanks to Google, which runs the Blogger blogging platform, very little.

Please note that we are not talking about a huge website with ecommerce or huge data sharing. We are also not talking about a blog like the Huffington Post, which employs hundreds of employees to maintain it. We are talking about a nice looking site, which is regularly updated and has hundreds of posts with photos and occasional videos too.

How blogger helps you host the blog free


When you open a blog on Blogger, it gives you a blog address (e.g. xyz.blogspot.com) and hosts it free for you. There are limits to how much you can post and store on Blogger, but they are big enough for a regular blogger. For example, you can post as many posts as you like but not more than 50 a day (most good blogger publish 2-4 posts a week); and your photo storage is limited to 15 GB (with compression, smaller photos not counting towards space, this is quite good space).

What you need to do is to buy a relevant and good domain name. You can choose any (e.g. GoDaddy). But Google can help you choose one (Blog Dashboard> Settings> Blog Address>Set up a third party URL for your blog). In both cases, you have to BUY the domain name (=your website/ blog address) and keep renewing it year after year. This is the only expenditure you incur and your blog remains hosted on Blogger servers, and you continue to use all Blogger tools.

When you go to the given link on Blogger (Blog Dashboard> Settings> Blog Address>Set up a third party URL for your blog), it asks you for the new domain name or offers to get one on payment. You choose the option, give it an independent name and that's it. Now your blog xyz.blogspot.com becomes xyz.com. Great, isn't it?

Free web hosting for blogs from Google

[The other big free blogging platform, Wordpress, also allows you this facility of mapping your xyz.wordpress.com blog with an independent domain name, but charges you for that!]

Monday, August 14, 2017

Best web hosts for Wordpress blogs and websites: Wordpress's own recommendations

Wordpress is one of the most popular blogging/ website creation software. It is a full-fledged content management system (CMS) for website building and especially suits blogs. A great number of self-hosted blogs are created with Wordpress software.

For those new to blogging or web hosting, let us quickly clarify that Wordpress blogs and Woprdpress CMS are two different things. You can open a free blog on Wordpress.com and the blog will be like xyz.wordpress.com. Wordpress will give you that web address as well as host it free for you. But Wordpress CMS is a software that you download on your computer and create beautiful blogs/ websites through it. However, you will have to pay for domain name registration and also hosting the website/ blog on the www. Wordpress CMS can be downloaded from wordpress.org website. 

Let's now go to Wordpress CMS.

Best web hosts for Wordpress blogs and websites.

Most big web hosting companies have facility for hosting a website or blog created using Wordpress CMS. That facility makes your task easy even if you don't know much technology.

But Wordpress itself recommends some web hosts. It says, it selects these favorites based on ease, design and other factors (These include their contribution to Wordpress too!) and reviews the list many times a year. At present the list includes these web hosts:

BlueHost
DreamHost
SiteGround

Whether you go by their recommendation or not, there is one good thing about this listing: there are links to forums on each of these hosts, so that you can have a taste of their service before you buy their plan.

What are the major web hosts in 2017?

The quality of web hosts depends on many factors, which are dealt with in detail elsewhere in this website. This post lists major global players.

Many websites have reviewed the performance of web hosts, locally and globally. Please use these reviews for your research but do not be swayed by them because they may have bias due to commercial considerations. In addition, local factors may be very important. If a web host gives outstanding service in the USA, it need not be as efficient in Somalia or Japan, or it may not have presence in some countries. There are good local companies too.

On this post, we give the list of major web hosts in one place, with their links, so that you visit them without looking for their links here and there. We also give links to two reviewers, one (Editors Review) due to the authority they enjoy on the web, and second (ITB) for a very sensible word of caution about main hosts:
Editors Review of major web hosts in 2017
ITB's word of advice on web hosting companies

Web hosts have huge datacenters and web servers.

THE LIST

1&1
AWS (Amazon)
BlueHost
DreamHost
eHost
FatCow
GoDaddy
HostGator
inMotion
iPage
JustHost

It is reported that as of mid-2017, GoDaddy has nearly 4.7% of total clients worldwide in its pocket, followed by 1&1, about 4.2% and AWS, nearly 2.2%.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Having an independent domain name and hosting the website: are they the same thing?

New bloggers and those not fully conversant with domain naming and web hosting often confuse between the two. But these are distinct areas. It is like having a house (hosting) and having its address (domain name or web address).

Web hosting


When you visit any website or a page on the web, what you see is some data stored on a huge computer (server) somewhere in the internet. The web browser (e.g. Chrome/ Firefox/ Safari/ Internet Explorer) on your computer or smartphone arranges the data the way the website owner has configured it. So you see that website.

It should be clear that unless a website is there on some computer somewhere that is connected with internet, you cannot visit it and see it on your computer. Placing of website on the internet system (its website storage part is called 'the web') is called web hosting.

Like having a house in a city costs you, web hosting too has a cost. For that purpose, there are web hosting companies who charge you depending upon how big your website is and so on.

When you open a free blog, the blogging platform (Wordpress/ Blogger/ Tumblr/ etc) creates the blog for you and hosts it on their computers so that anybody can visit it through their browsers. They give this service free. But because they store millions of blogs, they put certain limitations on how big your blog can be or whether you can give commercial facilities on the blog.

When your blog grows, you need more space. You might think of selling your products through the blog, or even running e-commerce. Such activities are beyond a free blog, and you need to hire space on servers of hosting companies. Web hosting becomes very important for you when you have (or plan to have) a big blog. Depending upon your needs, web hosts offer plans. In all cases, it is a recurring expense that you have to pay year after year, like you'd pay rent for a shop or house in a city.


Domain name


Domain name is your web address, written in words with which your website (including blog) is identified. Like the address of your house in the city. When you make a new blog on Wordpress, it asks you to give a suitable name to your blog. If you write xyz as your blog's name, Wordpress checks whether this name is available or has already been taken by someone. If available, it gives your blog a name: www.xyz.wordpress.com. It is better to have an independent looking domain name, without a suffix such as .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com. We have discussed that elsewhere.

Wordpress and Blogger (=blogspot) are free blogging platforms and they give you this domain name free. However, if you want an independent domain name, you need to buy it and then renew it year after year.

Types of web hosting, and which one to choose for your blog?

There are a number of web hosting plans available as of 2017 based on the cost involved. Let's look at them:

FREE WEB HOSTING 

    
  • Free blog hosting


Free hosting of blogs is available from major blogging platforms such as Wordpress, Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr and Medium, as well as on Quora, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Blogger is the most versatile of them, and gives you free hosting even when you buy the domain name from another service provider (That means, if you have a blog xyz.blogspot.com and you map it to a domain name pqr.com, Blogger won't charge you for that!). Blogger allows advertisements on your blog while Wordpress does not allow that in free version (You can always upgrade it and get more facilities.). Blogs on other free platforms allow you to just post your stuff; no ads, no monetization, no or limited customization.

The beauty of the biggest of these free blogging platforms (Wordpress, Blogger) is that not only they host your blog, they also have a powerful yet simple content management system that allows you to format your posts, put photos, and customize the blog in many ways. They also give your blog a very robust security.

  • Free website hosting


Here, we have differentiated between blogs and other websites. There are many free web hosting providers, but they have many limitations of bandwidth, total space, up-time etc and may run their own advertisements on your site. We'd talk about free website (non-blog) hosting services later.

PAID WEB HOSTING


Paid plans can be fitted in these major categories:

  • Shared web hosting


This is the most common hosting plan, and can have many sub-plans and add-ons. In this type, a web server is shared by many clients (bloggers and website owners) and therefore the cost to individual client is a fraction of the total cost of maintaining that server.

  • Re-seller web hosting


In this type of web hosting, a big hosting company sells its space to techies or small companies and they are allowed to sell the space to small users. Often, the re-sellers add their own personalized services on top of those given by the big host. This is getting popular among small bloggers but has its own risks. We have talked more about it here: Re-seller web hosting can be risky
 
  • Virtual private server (VPS) hosting


This web hosting utilizes 'virtualization' to create virtual machines which are then given exclusively to clients. Since the server belongs to you and dedicated resources such as space and bandwidth are allocated to you, you do not run the risk of the blog opening slow or becoming unavailable because of other clients' activities.

A small or medium-level website owner or blogger does not need to go beyond this type of hosting. The hosting types ones given below are more for general knowledge of web hosting.   

web hosting is a highly technical job

  • Colocated (=collocated) web hosting


You purchase a server and locate it in the network of a web host. This needs specialized technical knowledge of running web servers and networks. Big companies and governments usually have this type of web hosting arrangement.

  • Managed server hosting


When you need lots of web space and resources but do not have a full-fledged technical team to do every aspect of web server management, you ask the web hosting company to provide you resources and full technical support. In this case, you pay for exclusive support in addition to the collocated / VPS hosting charges.

  • Dedicated hosting


This is very expensive (and of course highly reliable and with the best resources) type of web hosting. This suits big companies with huge websites/ portals and enormous amount of traffic. The servers and services belong to the hosting company (unlike collocation) but the client uses them exclusively. For such high-end server management, though the hosting company gives support, the client must also have a dedicated team for taking care of web server management, which is a highly technical job.

  • Cloud hosting


It is nothing but the hosting company having servers across a very large area (even across the globe), which share resources among themselves and thus remove the risk of service deficiencies that come from one or a few servers physically located together. Your website on cloud servers will have its mirror images on many servers so that in case of any issue in one, the other ones take over. These are also very useful when one needs less or more resources 'on demand' or needs to provide for sudden escalation of demand.

  • Hybrid hosting solutions


Since the top rung of services can have a mix of leasing, management, placing the servers and services on the cloud, we can call them as hybrid solutions. Top companies have the muscle and different levels of in-house resources to negotiate terms with web hosting companies, and the resultant plans can range from just leasing data-center hardware to complete web hosting solutions.

What are 'web host' and 'web hosting' ? Is webhosting same as having a 'domain name' ?

When you open a blog or website, you need to keep it on some computer/ server where it is available all the time. When someone types your site or blog's address, it searches the world wide web (www) for that address, and if that address is found your web browser shows your website or blog to him. This is how websites are kept on the www.

So, it is very basic that your website or blog is 'hosted' somewhere on the www. There are big internet companies that do this job for you either free or on payment. Sure, you get better services when you pay.

From bloggers' point of view, web hosting is of great importance. If you open a free blog on Blogger (xyz.blogspot.com) or Wordpress (xyz.wordpress.com), that blogging platform does three things for you:
  • It gives you a domain name or web address (e.g. xyz.blogspot.com).
  • It hosts your blog on its own servers.
  • It gives you the facility to write content on the blog and make the blog beautiful.
Blogger, Wordpress and some other blogging platforms do it for free. They do so with some other business in mind, but as a blogger you need not bother as long as the blog comes free to you.
However, these platforms cannot keep providing you free services even when you grow as a big company. As you grow, you need more space, you also need a way to make money from the blog. For these, you need something more than the free platforms can provide you. You also do not want to be limited by their terms and conditions. This is the time, you look for web hosting services - people who would host your blog on their platforms.

Web hosting has a price. That depends upon the type of hosting you buy: shared hosting or exclusive hosting or... There are also variations according to what extra facilities you want. (We discuss that in detail here: types of web hosting). You pay for hosting year by year till you want your blog to live on the www.

Web hosting is a big business as millions of websites are to be made available all the time. That requires huge infrastructure in the form of servers, networks, web security systems and a series of software that cannot afford to shut down even for a second or go slow due to traffic.

blogs hosted on web hosting sites

Before I say good bye, let me remind you that web hosting is not enough for your blog or website's presence on the web. You need a domain name. When you are not on a free platform such as Blogger, you need to buy a domain name and renew it year after year. Please visit this post if you want more information on it: Are having a domain name and web hosting the same?

What is this web hosting blog about?

We find that many bloggers, especially when they are new to blogging, are not sure of what steps they need to take so as to become a successful blogger.

The definition of 'successful' will depend upon what is your aim of blogging: making money, spreading your thought, hobby blogging to share your life with friends, maintaining a diary of your day to day life, or just keeping your thoughts in one place.

Whatever your aim, you need to host your blog. This blog is meant to clear all your doubts about what you should do for hosting your blog on the web and guide you about effective and free/ cost-effective web hosting.

web hosting of blogs