Get a good grip on the best Umbraco hosting options!
Have you just made a website of your dreams with Umbraco? Congratulations! Now it’s time to put it out into the world.
But as with every website that there ever was, your brand new Umbraco project needs a home - it needs to be hosted on a server.
There are various types of hosting and hosting providers - they differ in the technological capabilities they offer, the amount of server space they provide for your website or the additional features that come with the service. And as a new home for your website, you should choose a hosting service that will fit your needs best.
So let’s dive into the ins and outs of Umbraco hosting possibilities!
What is hosting?
First things first - web hosting is a service that provides the technologies and the server space necessary to put your website onto the internet. All your website content and files, from HTML to videos and images, will be stored on a server - a physical, continuously running computer which keeps your site up and running and available to web users at all times.
Your web hosting provider will supply your website with an amount of server space depending on the type of hosting you choose. It will then direct the traffic to your webpage, allowing the web users access to your content by delivering your files and code to your visitors through their browser when they request it by typing your domain name.
What makes a good hosting provider for your Umbraco hosting needs?
Your Umbraco website deserves the very best home. And luckily there are a ton of great hosting options for you for your Umbraco website.
But sometimes the many options can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to identify the right hosting provider. While the best hosting provider will vary depending on your needs, budget, and geographical location, there are some common things to look for.
To make sure you find a high-quality hosting provider that gives you solid and secure hosting, the hosting service should check off the most important requirements and factors:
You want your website to be available to your visitors and potential customers 24/7. Your hosting provider should supply you with reliable service so you can be sure your website does not go down. One way to ensure reliability is looking for hosts that offer server redundancy, so your business-critical website never goes offline.
Depending on the scope of your website and the complexity of your data, you should pick a hosting provider that will provide you with sufficient storage space.
Good speed and uptime scores
Find a hosting provider that will make sure your website is not hosted on an overstretched server, and that your content loads as quickly as possible in the web users’ browsers.
If you go with shared hosting, a good tip is to investigate how noisy neighbors are handled by the hosting company. You don't want to be stuck sharing server resources with another website that is eating it all up, leaving your website slow.
The more traffic your website has, the more likely your content will be seen and your business will grow. Pick a hosting service that won’t put an unnecessary cap on how many visitors your website can have - and that allows you to increase the cap, so your traffic can increase as your business grows.
There’s nothing worse than your website running into hosting issues and not being able to reach anyone to answer your questions. Your ideal hosting provider should come with technical and customer support that is easily accessible and has a high level of technical knowledge to support you in times of need.
With good hosting providers, it's rare that you need their support. But when you do, it's important that they know exactly how to handle your issues, so you don't end up with a website that isn't performing - or worse yet, is completely offline.
Last but certainly not least, you will be trusting your hosting service with your data and the data of the web users coming to your website. Make sure your hosting provider follows security best practices and reliable backup systems are in place.
Umbraco hosting requirements
Besides the factors mentioned above, there are some specific technical requirements your hosting provider needs to meet for your Umbraco project.
The requirements for your project depend on which version of Umbraco you'll be using, but since Umbraco is an ASP.NET application, this has historically been one of the main requirements for your hosting.
Below are the requirements for Umbraco 8, as well as the requirements for the new .NET Core version, Umbraco 9, that supports other hosting solutions such as Docker.
Umbraco 8 hosting requirements
- IIS 8 and higher
- SQL CE, SQL Server 2012 and higher
- ASP.NET 4.7.2
- Ability to set file permissions to include create/read/write (or better) for the user that "owns" the Application Pool for your site (NETWORK SERVICE, typically)
Umbraco 9 hosting requirements
- Either OS:
- Microsoft Windows 7 SP1, 8.1 and 10
- MacOS High Sierra 10.13
- Linux (Ubuntu, Alpine, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE and other major distributions)
- One of the following .NET Tools or Editors:
- .NET 5.0
- SQL connection string (SQL Server)
Types of hosting
Based on the service you need for your website, you can choose among a variety of types of hosting and hosting providers that differ in the technological factors of the hosting service and the additional features they offer to clients. Let’s take a look at your Umbraco hosting options - starting with the differences between three of the most widespread types of hosting: shared hosting, virtual private server, and dedicated hosting.
If you are just starting to look into web hosting or you have a website that is relatively small in scale, shared hosting can work for you. In this case, your website shares one server with multiple other users and their websites. This means that one server is hosting hundreds of websites at the same time.
As the cheapest service that does not require any technical knowledge, this type of hosting is very popular. However, when sharing a server with other users, you only get a fraction of the server’s computing capabilities. This can result in slower performance and longer loading times for your website if another user is experiencing higher traffic at the same time. You also don’t have access to system configuration and can’t customize your hosting.
Virtual private server
If you don’t need a server of your own but would like a more private option than shared hosting, a VPS - or virtual private server - might be the best middle-ground for you. You will still share a server with other users, but the webserver will be subdivided into sections hosting individual websites.
Your own section will provide you with dedicated resources which means other websites won’t redistribute the bandwidth you need to other websites. The partition will increase the performance and security of your data.
A virtual private server is a pricier type of hosting than shared hosting, but based on the hosting provider you choose, you may be able to configure your hosting service and get a higher level of customization and control over your server. However, this requires a higher level of technical knowledge on your side, as well.
If unlimited bandwidth and full control over the configuration of your server is what you are looking for, dedicated hosting will be the one for you. This type of hosting service will grant you access to your own server - or multiple servers if you have the need for them.
If you have a business that’s big in scale and needs hardware that can support and protect your data and withstand heavy traffic coming to your website, you can aim for dedicated hosting. However, this is the most expensive model of hosting, so before signing up for your own server, make sure you have both the need and the budget for it.
However, you don’t need to use a hosting provider. Instead, you can opt for self-hosting - or on-premise hosting - of your website. It means that you own the servers your website is hosted on, and protect your data behind your own security firewall.
On-premise hosting may be the ideal solution for enterprises and companies operating within sensitive, highly regulated industries that need the highest level of security and control over their own data. Self-hosting also means lower costs of hosting in the long-term view, as you won't have to pay others to handle it.
What do you need for on-premise hosting?
- You should be prepared to cover higher upfront costs - you will need to buy in-house server hardware and pay for a software license
- You will need to have an internal IT team to manage on-premise hosting and take care of the maintenance of the servers
Cloud hosting and Umbraco Cloud
Did none of the previous hosting options work for you? You don’t feel up for on-premise hosting? Let’s dive into another Umbraco hosting possibility - and give Cloud a shot!
With cloud hosting, your website won’t be stored on a single physical server. Instead, it will find its home on a network of them which is called a cloud. Thanks to this system of servers, your website shouldn’t experience any significant downtime. Whenever there is a lot of traffic directed at one of the servers, it can be redirected to another server in the cloud.
This hosting service gives you a great degree of scaling if your needs for bandwidth or space grow as you go, and an ability to customize, as well - but for this configuration, you need to have a certain level of technical expertise.
If cloud hosting seems like the one to best take care of your Umbraco hosting needs, what better place to host your Umbraco website on than on Umbraco Cloud?
Umbraco Cloud is a solution that provides secure hosting built on top of Microsoft Azure - a cloud computing platform operated by Microsoft which is currently the best and most innovative cloud hosting platform on the market, so your website will be hosted on some of the world’s most modern technology.
Combined with all the features of Umbraco CMS, Umbraco Cloud will give you the freedom to create a website according to your needs - and remain focused on the creative work as Cloud will take care of all installation, infrastructure, and deployment for you. Plus, we will make sure your site is well-maintained and up-to-date by automatically updating it with all new security features and bug fixes.
Extra features you get with Umbraco Cloud
- ContentFlow - a feature that allows editors and developers to work simultaneously on the same project. The creative work of your team does not need to clash with the release of new features and bug fixes!
- When you’re happy with new features that have been developed, you can add them to your environment with a single click, and Cloud will safely deploy everything to your website.
- Create more Umbraco websites as efficiently as possible with Baselines - a feature with which you can reuse project components with one click and reuse them with any new site that you build. As a bonus, Baselines will automatically implement all new features across all your sites.
- Manage all user settings, permissions, and project access with Cloud Portal - a perfect tool to have an overview of all your projects and team members in one place.
- Plus, a license for Umbraco Forms, Umbraco Courier, and Umbraco TV!
How to pick the best Umbraco hosting provider?
Let’s sum it up - here are 4 questions to ask yourself before choosing a hosting provider for your Umbraco project.
What are your needs?
When picking a hosting provider, two things to look at are the size of your website and the importance of security.
You can consider:
- Shared hosting when you have a smaller website that does not experience a lot of traffic, and you don’t need to customize your hosting.
- Virtual private server when you are looking for the best compromise between functionality and price - you don’t need a private server but are looking for a higher level of security, performance, and customization than shared hosting can provide.
- Dedicated hosting when you have a large-scale website with heavy traffic, and a need for data protection.
- Cloud hosting when you are looking for a high degree of customization and great potential to scale when your need for bandwidth or server space grows.
- On-premise hosting when you are in a highly regulated industry and require the highest level of security and control over data.
What is your budget?
Based on your budget, consider the registration and maintenance costs of the hosting provider you would like to choose. If you are aiming for lower hosting costs, shared hosting offers itself as the best possibility.
However, even with pricier types of hosting, you can find different plans based on your individual needs. For example, Umbraco Cloud offers you a choice between four subscription plans which are scaled according to the scope of the sites or businesses they are recommended for.
What additional services or features do you receive from the hosting provider?
When picking a hosting provider, apart from looking at important factors such as server space, bandwidth, speed, or security, take a look at the following factors as well:
- Are the hosting provider’s customer service and support easily accessible and is their technical knowledge up-to-par?
- Will the hosting provider put a cap on your potential increase of bandwidth or other parameters?
- Is Email hosting included in the hosting package or is the hosting provider charging extra fees?
- Are there extra features included in the hosting plan that will improve your website building and hosting experience
Where is the hosting provider located?
Another factor to consider is the location of your server in relation to GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, adopted by the Council of the European Union to protect the personal data of residents within the European Union.
The GDPR law must be observed by web hosting providers as well when they are handling data of European Union residents. However, especially with cloud hosting, it is not always clear what the precise geographical location is where the data is stored - it may be stored at multiple locations or transferred from one location to another.
It is important to make sure that you choose a hosting provider that is aware of what laws and regulations apply to the data they are handling for you.