Top 5 Reasons You Need Web Hosting in 2021
Setting up your very first blog is exciting. You see a future filled with possibilities and dream of the day you can quit your 9-5 job.
If you’re like every other first-time blogger you probably have more questions than answers.
Like, “Why do I even need web hosting in the first place?”
That’s a good question.
Now let’s explain what web hosting is and exactly why you need it.
What is Web Hosting?
But first, a quick definition and explanation.
A website is made up of lots of different file types, including text documents, images, and videos.
Right now those files are probably stored on the hard drive of your desktop or laptop computer, where only you can see them.
So you need a way to upload those files to a shared space that can be accessed by everyone else.
A web hosting company provides you with an online “hard drive” as a central location for your files. One that is accessible to anyone with a web browser and an Internet connection.
You lease this online storage area from your web hosting company for a monthly fee.
Your web hosting company can be located anywhere in the world i.e. a person living in the UK can use a US-based web host, and vice versa.
That is, after all, why we call it the World Wide Web.
What’s the Difference Between Web Hosting and a Domain Name?
When you’re new to blogging it’s all too easy to get confused by the jargon and terminology. Like hearing that a domain name and web hosting are basically the same thing.
They’re not. But, allow me to explain why that’s the case.
Web hosting is the “hard drive” where all your files are stored.
This drive is assigned a unique identifying number by your web host to keep your stored content separate from all of the other drives.
This number is called an IP address.
Amazon’s IP address is 188.8.131.52…which would be too difficult for most people to remember.
We get around this problem by using something called Domain Name Services to translate your IP address into a domain.com
A domain name is the .com, .net or .whatever people type into a web browser to access a given website e.g. Amazon.com
You need to purchase both web hosting and a domain name to get your site online – DNS comes free with your domain name.
Can you purchase web hosting instead of renting it?
Although this would be ideal for you as a blogger, web hosting companies would go out of business overnight they used fixed pricing as a business model.
Because fixed fees don’t take into account the potential increases in cost for electricity, computer hardware, or other resources required to run a hosting company.
5 Reasons Why Web Hosting Is Important
Are there legitimate reasons you should pay for web hosting each month instead of using some kind of free web hosting instead?
Yes, there are.
And we cover each of them in detail below.
Keep reading if you want to know why paying for web hosting is a smart business decision.
1. You own your platform
Using a free site like Blogger, Wix or WordPress can and will save you a few bucks every month.
But these free platforms can shut your site down without warning, or for accidentally breaching their ToS (Terms of Service).
Or they might just go out of business overnight.
This has happened numerous times in the past, Squidoo being a prime example.
Either way, you’d be left without income from the site and your audience will wonder where your site is gone.
No sensible business person – and blogging is a business – would ever build their website on somebody else’s platform.
It never ends well when online businesses do this.
2. Better branding
Imagine handing your business card to a potential customer, and they read the URL back to you.
Which of these sounds better?
- TheMoneyShark.com, or
More importantly, which of the above would convince a potential customer to take your business seriously enough to spend money with you?
You already know what the answer is: The company using its own domain name.
It will be very difficult to be taken seriously as a brand or business if you’re using free services in your branding.
3. More versatility
When you get a paid web hosting account you have full control over your site.
You can install WordPress.org, Joomla, or even Drupal if you really want to.
Hint: WordPress.org is far easier to use.
Once your site is live you can then extend its functionality with plugins and page builders.
These allow you to create the exact look and feel you want for your online business, as well as additional features and functions your audience might find useful.
Only paid hosting services provide this level of flexibility.
4. Better security
A good web host will either offer regular backups of your website files or they’ll show you how to configure a plugin to do that for you.
So you can always restore your site if the worst happens.
Paid web hosting also provides your site with basic protection against cybercriminals trying to hack into it or shut it down with a Denial of Service attack.
5. Support when it counts
Something will eventually go wrong with your website.
Paid web hosting comes with dedicated tech support people to help resolve any issues you encounter.
With Wix, Blogger, and WordPress.com you’ll either have to wait for support to get back to you (possibly days later), or attempt to use their knowledge base to fix the problem yourself.
The Different Types of Web Hosting
Now that you understand what web hosting is and how it works, it’s time to take a look at the different types of web hosting:
This is the cheapest form of web hosting you can get, often costing just $2 – $5 per month for one site.
These low costs are made possible because a single web server is used to host dozens – but usually hundreds – of individual websites.
The potential downside here is that each of those sites has to share the resources of just one server.
This can cause problems with your site loading slowly or getting knocked offline if the server becomes overloaded.
But shared hosting is still the most cost-effective way to get your site online.
Traditional hosting – such as shared hosting – relies on physical servers all networked together in one location.
Cloud hosting instead spreads the workload across a network of virtual and physical web servers in different locations.
This means that downtime is minimized while page load times are maximized and your hosting can easily grow with your site.
Cloud hosting tends to be some of the fastest you can get, with the best geographic reach…but it’s also more expensive.
A good cloud hosting package will cost at least $15 per month.
Before cloud hosting came along, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting was the next step up for bloggers who’d outgrown their shared hosting account.
As the name suggests, a VPS server means that you and several other bloggers share a single server.
This means your site will enjoy more resources, faster response times, and usually much better support.
And that’s because VPS servers aren’t cheap – costs start at $25 per month but can easily exceed $100 per month if you have a lot of traffic.
The costs involved means VPS hosting is only for bloggers who get hundreds of thousands of page views per month or e-commerce site owners.
Paying for a dedicated hosting plan means getting a server all to yourself – you will literally be the only website on that server.
This is high-end hosting for sites that get tens of millions of unique visitors per month or that run complex web applications that need tons of resources.
You have to pay between $70 and $150 per month for the privilege of using a dedicated server.
The downside to dedicated servers is that you’ll need to take care of most of the server maintenance yourself.
Or hire somebody to do it.
If that doesn’t sound like something you’d be interested in then our next solution offers the best of both worlds.
Managed hosting is where your hosting company takes care of the management of your VPS or dedicated server for you.
That typically includes maintenance, backups, software patches, etc.
You can, in theory, get “managed shared hosting”, but that’s just an advertising gimmick.
True managed hosting starts at around $25 per month for one site at the low end of the scale, but around $100 per month for true managed web hosting.
The downside is that you can expect to pay several hundred dollars per month for managed hosting if your site gets a lot of traffic.
Which web hosting is best for you?
If you’re just starting out as a blogger then shared web hosting is more than enough for your needs until you hit around 25,000 visitors per month.
At that stage your web hosting service will probably either ask you to upgrade to managed hosting with them or to simply move elsewhere.
Yup, the first sign of success as a blogger is that your web host will probably try to evict you.
If you’re already heading towards 25,000 visitors per month then consider upgrading to either cloud or managed web hosting.
You’ll visitors will love the extra speed and you’ll love that your admin panel is now 5x faster too.
Wrapping Things Up
So, as you can see there are lots of reasons why you need web hosting.
Some of them have to do with customer/visitor perception, but the majority of the reasons are entirely practical.
That obviously does mean that running a blog will result in additional monthly expenses in the form of web hosting fees.
Although this can be as little as $5 per month if you choose the right host.
But think of it as an investment in a future where you have more than enough passive income to live your life as you see fit.
Are you still wondering if there’s any way to cut down on web hosting costs?
That’s discussed in more detail in our article “Can I get web hosting for free?”
But the simple truth is that serious bloggers and business owners use paid web hosting.
About Matt Collins
With a rapidly growing team of readers, my mission is to teach hungry professionals how to maximize their net worth with scalable side hustles and responsible financial management practices.
My reputation is of the utmost importance to me, which is why I only provide completely honest, 100% true, unbiased recommendations for systems and software I know and trust.