There are so many web hosting companies out there, each promising exceptional hosting services but what most of them say is not what they necessarily offer. The truth is; finding good web hosting is a bit trickier, especially if you’re a novice user planning to deploy an application.
So, what is good web hosting?
There are a couple of standard features used to define good web hosting, and these include the following;
Have you ever noticed that some websites or applications load faster and others load slower? In most cases, this depends on so many factors, but most primarily, it could be because of the poor performance of your web hosting provider.
A study conducted by Akamai found out that if a webpage could delay for just a single second to load, it would result in:
Generally, slow application load speed can cause significant losses to your business, and it is something you have to prevent from happening. For instance, Amazon shockingly revealed that a one-second lag time (about 1000ms latency) would cost them $1.6 billion in sales per year. Google also found out that latency of 400ms drastically decreases their traffic by o.44%, translating into 440 million abandoned sessions per month, which then causes revenue losses for the company.
In a broader sense, Web hosting means that websites and applications are hosted on physical computers (servers) located somewhere in the data center so users can access them on the web. The nature and configurations of the web hosting physical (hardware) and virtual infrastructure (software & networking) can affect the load speed of applications. For instance, when a web hosting provider uses poor server hardware with insufficient computing resources, i.e., limited memory (RAM) and old-era processors, it is likely to affect the performance speed of clients’ applications and websites. But even when a web hosting provider boasts of having the best infrastructure hardware (running high-speed new generation RAM & CPUs), should any misconfigurations occur in the system, it would affect the website load speed.
Usually, it is not easy to find out the nature of hardware technology deployed by web hosting providers because, in most cases, they keep it to themselves. Your website or application could be highly optimized, but if your web hosting provider has slow servers, your effort would be in vain.
To investigate and audit the average load speed of the web hosting server on which your application is hosted, you can use free tools like Pingdom, status cake, & Uptrends to analyse application uptime and downtime, server response, and load speed.
Uptime in web hosting refers to the time a hosted website or an application is available online. Uptime is the opposite of downtime, which is when a hosted application is unavailable online.
You need to host your website with a hosting provider that maintains 99.99% uptime. Mission-critical applications like SaaS or eCommerce platforms can afford even a tiny bit of downtime as it will significantly affect business operations in different ways like:
Influencing Search Engine de-ranking. According to Matt Cutts, an extinguished ex-Google Engineer put it that an extended website downtime (about two weeks or more) can hurt your standing in Search engine rankings. Google prioritizes better user experience, which is why it avoids sending users to a website they know has been down for some time.
Loss of revenues: Uptrends, a website monitoring platform, summarizes the financial implication of downtime as; zero sales, zero leads, zero user transactions, and zero ad revenue. This means that when your website is down for some time, no activity can take place. It will be as if you’ve never existed online, and you end up losing customers and revenue for your business. According to an Akamai Study, when your website experiences downtime, 9% of your visitors are likely not to return.
Damaging your Brand: When your website faces constant downtime, customers start to doubt the credibility and reliability of your business. It is even worse if you’re running an eCommerce site, which has to be 99.999% available for customers to place orders online. The fact that your website is always down for some time can lead to a severe reputation problem for your business. According to the study conducted by Kaspersky Lab, the average cost of brand damage for just one incident is about $8,000 for small and medium-sized businesses and $200,000 for enterprises.
Critical Data losses: An application outage strikes like a devastating tsunami to the company. It is even more worrying if the problem originates from the servers owned by the web hosting provider because you can’t tell what exactly could have happened. If you don’t back up your website data, there are more chances that critical data could easily be lost. You have to understand that some downtime could be caused by issues like hardware failure, server crashing, software malfunction, or surprise malware intrusion. All these put your critical website data at serious risk of losing it.
Do you know that hosting a website means putting all your files on the storage disk of the server computer, located somewhere in the data center? Many web hosting providers meter or limit disk storage for their clients. Trust me; you don’t want to sign up for hosting that offers limited disk space; that is not enough to accommodate all your application files.
One of the dangers of limited hosting disk space is that it limits your ability to scale probably and can hinder your application performance. The amount and the nature of the content you upload on your site determine how much storage you need. Content types like HD images and videos usually need enough disk storage to be availed on your hosting account. If your hosting provider limits or provides limited disk space, then you could end up spending more to expand it when critically needed.
Bandwidth in the context of web hosting refers to the amount of data a website transfers to users in a given period. Typically, webhosting providers sell hosting bandwidth in gigabytes, and they also have a tendency of throttling it, which affects the significant performance of your website.
Basically, hosting bandwidth is like a diameter pipe. For instance, when a pipe is large, it has the potential to deliver more water at one time than a small pipe. So, when a website has more bandwidth, it is able to handle heavy traffic requests and queries originating from so many users. When your website has heavy content like videos, animations, and HD images, you must make sure that your web hosting package you subscribe to offers sufficient bandwidth.
Websites usually face outages when they have limited bandwidth, especially during peak traffic times. And we’ve seen earlier above, application downtime is a severe setback to your business in terms of brand reputation, revenue retention, and search engine rankings.
In most cases, when your site is done, you need to seek support and consult from your hosting provider so you can know where the problem is. As a matter of fact, you have to avoid hosting your application with hosting providers who don’t offer good customer care support. An outage of your website could 98% originate from your hosting provider’s infrastructure, and there must be a way how to quickly contact them about the problem so they can fix it.
A good web hosting provider must be able to offer clients flexible pricing to clients. Flexible pricing basically means that a customer has an option of paying per month, per quota, or per year. When the pricing is fixed by requiring clients to pay per year, it becomes hard for them. Sometimes web hosting customers start with a one-month subscription package to test and assess the performance of the hosting provider, with the view of extending it should they feel satisfied with the results.
If you’re hosting a website, you need to choose a hosting provider with reasonable price offers that won’t lead you to break the bank.
I cannot conclude this article without talking about the absolute benefits of hosting your application with Cloudways.
CloudWays uses a platform as a service Cloud hosting model by sub-renting servers from cloud infrastructure providers like AWS, Linode, Vultr, and DigitalOcean to users for easier application deployment. Cloudways hosting allows an efficient deployment of applications by providing a user-friendly console that simplifies complicated mainstream cloud deployment jargon of the Big Horses like AWS.
It supports the deployment of popular content management systems like WordPress, Drupal and supports eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce and Magneto.
Cloudways uses a cloud hosting model, which gives users more control over hosting server management and configurations. Cloudways’ cloud hosting is much more superior to traditional hosting, and this is because of the following reasons;
It allows a user to spread out website data across several interconnected servers located in various geographical areas. As a result, Cloudways guarantees a reliable uptime, acceptable and endorsed in the industry.
Provides an easier-to-use configuration and management interface compared to the much-complicated interfaces of the Big Horses like AWS & Google Cloud. In fact, using Cloudways helps you to easily tap into and harness the mammothic power of the big cloud computing platforms without having to struggle with their technical and complicated interfaces.
Cloudways allows you to configure the server the way you feel fit and deploy any application you want. If you wish to deploy WordPress or any other plain PHP app, you’re just good to go.
It offers flexible pricing model. In fact, they offer a pay-as-you-go model, which is much more budget-friendly to the user.
Laravel is a PHP framework that uses Model-View-Controller architecture to build web applications. Laravel framework has been a gamechanger in powering efficient PHP application development. One of its advantages is its inbuilt template engine that comes inbuilt in the framework. Additionally, Laravel allows reverse routing, crucial for creating appropriate URLs for the application.
Below are the steps you can take to deploy a Laravel project on Cloudways:
1. Create your account on Cloudways. Make sure you have an email address and also set up a secure password for your account. Remember, security is very important!
2. Having created the account, you will be prompted to log in.
3. The third step is to set up and configure a server on which your Laravel application will run. Cloudways dashboard provides a friendly interface to configure a new server. You have to name your server so you can never forget its purpose. This is mainly for users who plan to deploy and run multiple servers on their accounts.
4. Click on the server you’ve just configured to select it and then select or create a new application. You can select the Laravel application and then click on add description button
5. Go to application manager and click deployment via Git. Here you will be able to add the remote repo URL in the Git Remote Address. After, click the authentication button.
6. In order to configure SSH access to the server, you can go to the Server Manager and then Launch SSH Terminal button. This can open the server terminal. To secure your SSH terminal connection and access, you need to provide Master Credentials (username and password) which are available on the Server Management page.
7. Having configured the SSH connection to the server, it is now time to run Laravel composer command in the terminal. But you need to first execute the Composer Update command so you update the dependencies of the Laravel application