What Is Web Hosting? The Only Beginner’s Guide You Need

Web hosting is the reason visitors can access your website. But what is it exactly? Let's find out.

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What is web hosting?

That’s a question that people often ask when they realize they need a website. They know that they need to build one, yet they don’t know what happens on the backend.

According to https://blog.servermania.com/linux-benefits-and-advantages-vs-windows/, A web host can have a big impact on your site. Your web host company can impact your site’s speed, SEO, and the relationship you have with your customers.

Put it this way, if your website is down because of your hosting company, how would that impact your business? If your site is slow and takes a long time to load, you could be losing a lot of money.

Would you like to know more about web hosting? Read on to learn what web hosting is and how to make sure you select the right host for your website.

What Is Web Hosting?

Your website is comprised of many different files including your theme, images, and structure of your site. These files need to have a home. That’s where web hosting comes in.

A web host lets you rent space on their computers (web servers) and they serve those files to your site’s visitors.

Let’s say you’re starting an e-commerce site. You’re going to need a web host for your store. You’ll come across the term hosted vs. self-hosted.

Self-hosted means that you have a web host company to work with and they have your store on their servers. This generally gives you more control over your store’s files and data. It’s also easier to customize and edit your store when you have this level of control.

Hosted means that you sign up for a hosting account with a service like Shopify or BigCommerce. These services tend to be a little more expensive and they give you less control to customize your store.

Common Types of Web Hosting

When you evaluate web hosts, you’ll find that there are different types of hosting. The most common types are shared hosting, dedicated, reseller, VPS, and cloud hosting. Let’s go over them in more detail.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting means that your site is hosted on the same server as many other websites. This is a great starting point if you have a new website or you don’t have that much traffic yet. This is typically the least expensive hosting plan since many accounts share the same server.

Dedicated Hosting

This is at the top end of the price spectrum. With a dedicated hosting plan, you have an entire server all to yourself. This is necessary if you get a lot of traffic and require a high-performance server.


A virtual private server is similar to shared hosting. The difference is that you have a virtual server, which results in better security and more resources than a standard shared server.

Cloud Hosting

What is web hosting in the cloud? Cloud hosting is where your site is stored across multiple servers, instead of one single shared server. This option is very easy to scale up with multi cloud interconnection. You can click here to find out more about multi cloud interconnection.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller hosting is similar to being an affiliate. You sell a hosting company’s services and in return, you get a percentage of the sales.

. . .

Why Choosing the Right Host Matters

It cannot be stressed enough that your web host matters to your business. How much business would you lose if your website is down due to a security issue or your host’s servers?

The biggest areas where a hosting company can impact a user’s experience on your site are security, speed, and uptime.

Site Speed

In Google’s search algorithm, site speed is one of the many factors that is used to determine where your site ranks in search results. If your site loads slowly, you’ll lose a large portion of visitors, and you’ll rank lower in search results. Your hosting company plays an important part in site speed. They need to have fast servers and a lot of space to be able to serve your site quickly and efficiently.

Site Uptime

If your site is down a lot, your business will be seen as unreliable by users and search engines. That can have a negative impact on your business. Customers will assume that you’re out of business and go elsewhere for what they need.

Site Security

You can have the most secure site, but if your hosting company doesn’t take security seriously, you’re at risk. All it takes is for their servers to be infected with malware. That can bring their servers and your site down. Oh, and you absolutely need an SSL certificate.

Do Therapists Need HIPAA-Compliant Web Hosting?

Disclaimer — I am not a lawyer and you should 100% check with legal counsel before making any HIPAA-related decisions for your private practice website or your business as a whole.

Are you housing PHI on your therapist website? If so, you need to take more steps than just having an SSL certificate to be HIPAA compliant. However, the vast majority of websites for therapists do not house PHI. As I understand the law, your HIPAA duties do not begin until someone becomes a client. So the gray area is if someone fills out a contact form and provides PHI in that form and the data is stored on your web server, that PHI “could” be covered under HIPAA. Again, please consult a legal advisor before making any final decisions.


Pros of HIPAA-Compliant Web Hosting:

  1. Data Security: HIPAA-compliant hosting providers implement robust security measures to safeguard sensitive healthcare data. This includes encryption, firewall protection, and regular security audits, reducing the risk of data breaches.
  2. Legal Compliance: Compliance with HIPAA regulations is crucial for healthcare providers. HIPAA-compliant hosting ensures that your website and data storage adhere to these legal requirements, mitigating the risk of costly penalties.
  3. Trust and Reputation: Choosing a HIPAA-compliant hosting service demonstrates a commitment to patient privacy and data protection. This can enhance your organization’s reputation and build trust among patients and partners.
  4. Data Backup and Recovery: HIPAA-compliant hosting often includes reliable data backup and recovery solutions, ensuring that critical healthcare information is accessible in case of emergencies or data loss.


Cons of HIPAA-Compliant Web Hosting:

  1. Cost: HIPAA-compliant hosting typically comes at a higher cost than standard hosting services. The robust security measures and compliance efforts require additional resources, which can strain a healthcare organization’s budget.
  2. Complexity: Achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance can be complex and time-consuming. It involves regular risk assessments, policy development, and staff training to ensure ongoing adherence to regulations.
  3. Limited Features: Some hosting providers may offer limited features and customization options due to the strict security requirements of HIPAA. This could impact the flexibility of your website.
  4. Responsibility: While the hosting provider shares responsibility for data security, the healthcare organization itself must also ensure compliance. This dual responsibility can be challenging to manage effectively.


What to Look for in Web Hosting Companies

When you take those things into account, you want to work with a hosting company that takes security, uptime, and speed seriously.

Just about every hosting company says that they do. How can you tell the ones who walk the walk versus talk the talk?

Let’s take site uptime as an example. It’s virtually impossible to claim 100% uptime. Things happen in the tech world that can knock servers out, like a power outage.

Companies can claim 99.9% uptime because that’s more realistic. If a company claims 100% uptime, you should run.


Customer Service

This is the true differentiator between hosting companies. You’ll want to check reviews of various companies online.

Some companies will keep a list of reviews right on their site. Read through the reviews and see if you notice any common complaints.

Is their customer service responsive? Do people complain about slow service?

Check to see how you can communicate with your host. Do you have a dedicated account manager or do you have to call a 1-800 number?

You can test a company’s customer service by contacting them and asking questions. See how knowledgeable and responsive they are before you sign up.


Get Reliable Web Hosting Today

What is web hosting? Web hosting is much more than just a home for your website.

It’s your site’s security company and a partner in your business. Things like site uptime, server speed, and security are just a few areas that can have a major impact on your business.

The last thing you want to do is to sign up with a cheap hosting company that has horrible service.

If you want web hosting with a personal touch, contact us today.

Got Questions?

Ask me anything about this article … or, reach out to see how I can help you get a steady, predictable stream of therapy clients you love with less effort and stress.

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About the Author:

Greg Goodman

As a therapist business coach, web designer, copywriter, and marketing expert, Greg has been helping mental health professionals get a steady stream of clients they love since 2006.

In his career, Greg has helped everyone from associates to established solo partners, group practices, and beyond. He even had a 6-year stint as the head of a large mental health clinic in San Francisco where he kept 43 caseloads full.

In addition to his work helping therapists, Greg is a passionate photographic storyteller, traveler, husband, father, and human being dedicated to personal growth and making the world a better place.

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