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What's the Difference Between Website Hosting & Website Maintenance?

Strategy, Design & Development

Website hosting services provide a “home” for your site to live so that visitors can come to see it – comparable to a chunk of land with a house and a street address. 

Website maintenance ensures that all of your code and content are up to date and secure – like making sure your house is regularly cleaned and the locks are in proper working order.

Here, we will give a rundown of the differences so that you will have an understanding of the “language” of your web developer when building or updating your web presence.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is an important part of your online presence. If you are new to working with a web developer, just understanding the basics of web hosting will make your experience that much better. Let’s take a look at how web hosting works.

Web hosting provides a secure place to store your online content in the form of files and folders. The code, all the text, your images, videos, and any other data that makes up your website all need to be stored somewhere – and we mean somewhere safe and stable. The need for safety and stability makes hosting one of the most critical parts of your online presence.

Website-Hosting

What to Expect from Your Web Hosting Provider

Stability and security are very important for every website owner, no matter what. A reputable web host will offer the ability to automatically back up your site, and the most up to date speed and security features, but web hosting is not one-size-fits all.

The size of hosting plans and storage space needed can vary greatly from business to business because different website owners have their own unique needs. For example, some websites may only require a small amount of storage for their minimalistic text-based website, while others will require more vast and dynamic functionality (like more “rooms” in the house) so that they can have access to custom email addresses or sub-domains for multiple areas of business. These could take on the form of an online store or a customer experience portal.

With many options available, it's important to compare costs and functionality when comparing different web hosting service providers and their subscription plans. When you work with CommonPlaces, you can rest assured that we will recommend the best hosting plan for your website needs.

If you don’t anticipate growing your site dramatically in the near future, we will typically recommend the simplest, most cost effective (and still very secure) hosting options which are useful for low-maintenance websites and static pages without the need for routine updates or heavy multimedia content.

For larger sites that will require consistent content growth, we recommend hosting providers that offer plenty of room for growth with services beyond simple domain registration and hosting, For example, if you plan to manage large amounts of multimedia content or an online store (ecommerce), you might consider more robust hosting options (kind of like a bigger house vs. a small apartment).

There are quite a few available options for hosting, which we discuss in this article about types of hosting.

The host is your chunk of land, and the domain is the address. 

By address, we mean your .com or your .net, .org, .edu, etc…

Separate from your hosting plan, but often combined with your hosting company, you’ll purchase a domain (or web address) from a domain name registrar. Registrars include Domain.com Bluehost, Network Solutions, GoDaddy, HostGator, Namecheap, Dreamhost, Buydomains, AWS, or Google Domain, just to name a few. You should choose a unique name that makes sense for your business – for example, our domain is commonplaces.com.

Nameservers (DNS): The nameserver is essentially a traffic director or post office that points your website visitors toward the correct IP address (the string of numbers and dots xxx.xxx.x.x which then essentially translates to your more human-friendly web address like commonplaces.com). Oftentimes the same company will provide both your registrar and DNS services, but you can choose to go with a different DNS. As a full service web developer, CommonPlaces can make the best recommendation for you based on your business.

What about website maintenance?

Website maintenance is the process of monitoring and updating your website to make sure it is healthy and performing well. The maintenance process should ensure checks are made to keep up with security updates, add and update content to encourage increased traffic, and make sure your website visitors have a great experience with each visit. 

Website maintenance services are an essential part of customer engagement and retention, which in turn help out your SEO and Google rankings.

 

Whether your business is large or small, you’re going to need routine website maintenance to keep it in shape, and keep your data secure so you can make sure your customers are getting an accurate and safe representation of your business with each visit.

 

undraw_clean_up_hosting-and-maintenanceJust like your house or apartment will need routine cleaning and restocking of groceries, your website needs this type of upkeep too!

 

Website maintenance is about keeping up with security updates, monitoring and encouraging traffic growth, and making sure customers, Google and other search engines are happy. In fact, website maintenance services are essential for engaging and retaining your customers. Regular monitoring will help you keep your business running smoothly and customers enjoying their user experience.  

Actions like removing spam comments from posts, domain name and security certificate renewals, fresh content for users and SEO, link and form submission checks, user based permission checks, content management software updates, and plugin updates are all part of routine website maintenance.

Keeping on a website maintenance schedule is the hip (and responsible) thing to do. 

We recommend a schedule of tasks to be performed annually, quarterly, weekly, monthly, and as-needed, and offer this service so you don’t even need to think about it.

 

Annual

  • Renewal of your website’s domain name. 
  • Consideration of website design updates. 
  • Reviewing each page of the site to make sure its content is accurate. 
  • Locating your best-performing blogs and making sure they are up-to-date with information. 

Quarterly

  • Update your out-of-date web graphics and photos. 
  • Check your website content like page text and blog articles and make sure they are up-to-date. 
  • Update your meta descriptions and titles. 
  • Make sure that your site remains mobile friendly and displays well on all browsers. 
  • Test and update forms, popups, and calls to action. 
  • Make sure you have the most recent functional version of your site saved as a backup in case you ever need to restore a working version.
  • Check to see if anything needs to be changed or updated with your advertising and marketing campaigns.

Monthly

  • Test your website loading speed. If it takes more than three seconds to load, definitely talk to your web developer
  • Analyze any security checks and if there are any issues, make sure they’re resolved. 
  • Analyze your website performance statistics. 
  • Check your local search visibility. 

Weekly

  • Check for and fix any 404 errors. 
  • Check for any broken links.  
  • Update your core plugins and website software. 
  • Post one or more blog articles to continually provide relevant information to your customers and improve your SEO traffic.

 

With regular website maintenance and updates, your business will attract and retain customers, which lead to increased search engine visibility and growth. So, to keep your best foot forward and establish yourself as a secure and trustworthy company, regular upkeep is essential. 

When you know, you know.

Now that you know the basic difference between website hosting and website maintenance, we encourage you to get started on a plan to make sure your site is getting everything it needs! To learn even more, check out our article on the importance of maintaining your website hosting and maintenance schedules.

And, when you’re ready for a refresh, CommonPlaces is here for you!

 

 

    
Kendra Bassi

Chief Operating Officer

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