Web hosting providers have a lot more to offer you than just hosting. Many web hosting providers have outgrown their classification as a business by diversifying their service and product offerings. More than just web hosting service providers, web hosting providers can offer many other related services that makes them one-stop shops for anyone looking to make improvements upon their website or market it. The following are some extra services web hosting providers may offer you:
While website builders are not usually a paid service, they’re worth the mention on this list. Most web hosting providers offer sophisticated and/or simple website builders that allow their customers to quickly and efficiently design a website right after they sign up for a web hosting plan. Many customers have a minimal need to understand the technicalities of web design, and just want to create a website as quickly as possible. Many web hosting providers are now offering website builders because they acknowledge this need.
Some web hosting providers are doing even better by offering Wix or Weebly, using these services as “bait” for potential customers. They offer the customer the ability to build their website for free using one of these services, while offering to host their website for a fee in exchange.
When we say “web design” we’re not talking about website builders. Some web hosting providers actually offer professional web design services. These services are usually intended for customers that are migrating their website to the new web hosting provider and need a design change. In order to take advantage of the new web hosting provider’s features and/or technologies, their websites may need to be completely overhauled.
The web hosting provider’s designers have already mastered the fine art of optimizing a website’s design for the web hosting provider they work for, so sometimes it can be quite advantageous to use the web hosting provider’s web design services. The web designer can also give you tips on what not to do and what to do to make sure the website performs at its maximum best.
Many web hosting providers are also providing free Google Apps integrations with their email services. While this may not be web hosting specific, it can make all the difference in the world for your user experience to be able to use user-friendly and familiar Google Apps services like Gmail instead of the server’s email provisions which are less familiar, like SquirrelMail. Web hosting providers are also making the setup for Google Apps easier by including simple three-step installation processes as part of the Google Apps setup experience. This saves you a lot of time and brain-work trying to figure out how to set up Google Apps on your own.
Many web hosting providers will offer you a one-click installation software to help you quickly and easily install popular web applications and content management systems. This software does everything you need to do in order to set up and run web applications. This includes setting up your user account and making automatic backups of your installed web applications. One-click installation software takes all the heavy work and guessing out of installing web applications and streamlines the process, so all you need to do is come up with an username and password to use with the application.
This has become a pretty standard service with most web hosting providers, but there are still a few that will ask you to pay extra to use it. Since this software is free of cost in most cases to the web hosting provider, you should seek out a web hosting provider that offers this service for free.
Content Delivery Networks
Many web hosting providers are now offering automatic content delivery network integrations as well with their plans. Content delivery networks keep static copies of your web pages on servers all over the world, so when a visitor comes to your site, the website is delivered by the closest possible server to that visitor’s proximity. This greatly reduces page rendering times by reducing the latency required for the page to travel from the server to the visitor’s browser.
While some web hosting providers require you pay extra to use this service, most will offer it for free because it is free for them. Steer clear of web hosting providers that want to charge you extra to use this service, as it does not cost them anything at all to use it and actually saves them bandwidth.
Domain Name Registration
One of the earliest web hosting related services web hosting providers have been offering is domain name registration. Many companies quite cleverly and conveniently bundle domain names with their web hosting plans. Some of them also provide domain name registration separately from their web hosting. Their specialty is quite often domain names in their specific country or region. For example, a web hosting provider located in Canada may specialize in domain names like .ca. Recently there are a lot of web hosting providers that offer top-level domain names such as .club, .restaurant, .cafe, and .store.
Web hosts can also receive help to secure their web sites through web hosting providers that offer SSL certificates. However, the web hosting provider usually is not the one granting these certificates. They get outside help from trusted certificate vendors like Comodo. SSL certificates encrypt your website so your visitors can be secure in knowing no one can hijack their connection and see the data being transferred between them and your website.
Understandably, this is especially important for e-commerce sites, online stores, and sites that accept user registrations. Data encryption from an SSL certificate prevents data theft as well as phishing and other fraudulent schemes. SSL encryption is offered at different levels. It can include enterprise protection, protection that covers all your domains and sub-domains, or it can be basic entry-level protection for one website. Customers can know whether you have an SSL secured website by the presence of a lock icon in their browser. Google also uses website encryption as a factor in their search engine ranking algorithm.
Some web hosting providers offer SSL certificates for free with your service, while others will require you paying a small fee to obtain an SSL certificate. Both situations are perfectly acceptable since third party SSL certificate services don’t give away their product for free.
Search Engine Optimization
The services required to put up and run a website isn’t just where web hosting providers have stopped. Some web hosting providers have even ventured in to offering search engine optimization. After providing the means to build and publish a website, they will also offer services to ensure the website stays competitive in search engine rankings. There is a lot that goes into search engine optimization. It’s not just about inserting and positioning keywords to get the best effects with search engine listings. A website must also be optimized with specific techniques. There is also a list of do’s and don’ts to prevent your website from being penalized and maximize its searchability, especially when it comes to Google. There’s also a need to build links. Many web hosting providers won’t go as far as to build links for you, however.
Some web hosting companies help their customers by helping to promote their websites for them, although there aren’t very many web hosting providers that offer this service. They usually offer services to boost the popularity, awareness, and reputation of a website after providing everything needed to create the website. This may include basic email marketing or be a full fledged that offers social media marketing and search engine optimization. A warning to those wanting to utilize these services, though — you should make sure that the company has a proven track record.
No Longer A One-Trick Pony
Modern web hosting providers are a lot like phones. While everyone still calls smart phones “phones”, they have grown to include so much more than just a way to call someone. Just like phones have grown to include almost all the services a computer can provide, web hosting providers have grown to include almost all the services you could need for your website. With all these offerings, it can be easy to forget that a web hosting provider should be reliable — just as a smart phone still needs to be a reliable way to call people despite all the bells and whistles. However, you must remember that these services should come as convenient extras to an already reliable web hosting experience, and should not be used to compensate for poor web hosting.