Hosting is a term which gets bandied around with not enough understanding. To most of us when we think of hosting we immediately think ‘Ah yes, website hosting’. Although you may not be wrong you may not necessarily be right.
Let’s start at the beginning.
If you are starting your own business you know you will need email addresses and probably a website but the first thing you need to do is buy a domain name.
The domain name should be as close to your business name as possible. Our business is Spinoff Digital so the domain name is spinoffdigital.com.au
Domain names are bought from reseller websites. When buying your domain name in Australia it is always best to buy the .com.au extension of the name but if the .com extension is also available then buy that as well. When you come to use the domain name you only use one for your emails and advertise one for your website, probably best to use the .com.au, but the .com is also pointed to display your website just in case someone puts in the name without the .au.
When the name is bought it has to be hosted. Yes the name itself has to be hosted. This can be done from the reseller website when you buy the name but it can be done elsewhere as you will see below.
The hosting of the name is called DNS hosting which stands for Domain Name Server. Once a name is on a DNS server it is ready to be used.
As a business owner you will receive an invoice for DNS hosting. You need to maintain this hosting or your email addresses will stop working and your website will go down.
So now it is time to set up email accounts.
Think of an email address as a name made up of a first name and a family name. Everyone in the family has their own first name but they all share the family name.
In our business the family name is spinoffdigital.com.au and each staff member just adds the name that identifies them in that family. This makes my email address firstname.lastname@example.org If you are running a large organisation then you may want to have a more complex ‘first name’. Most organisations use the individuals first name and last name with a . in the middle. Using this convention my email address would be email@example.com
Email addresses also need to be hosted. All the email addresses for your business are hosted at the same place.
There are a number of ways to go about this. You can use an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or you may be able to use the reseller you bought the domain name from or you could use a programme such as Office 365. Obviously there are pros and cons for each solution. If you are not sure what to do it is a good idea to take some advice to decide on which solution bests suits your business.
No matter which option you choose you will need to pay for email hosting. This is usually based on the number of email addresses your organisation runs.
This is probably the most obvious and as mentioned before is the first thing most of us think about when we hear the term hosting.
The cost of website hosting will vary depending on the size and type of website you have. These can vary from small ‘brochure’ sites which are made up of a few static pages to an ecommerce site which has a large inventory attached to it which also needs to be hosted.
Every time a website is opened it has to be served up to the user which uses bandwidth. The more a user can do on a site, that is the more interaction they can have with the site the more bandwidth is used. It is this bandwidth that you are paying for when you are paying for website hosting.
This needs to be taken into account when comparing hosting prices.