Web hosting is an online service that allows you to publish your website or web application on the Internet. When you sign up for a web host, you basically rent some space on a physical server where you can store all the files and data necessary for your website to function properly.
A server is a physical computer that runs without any interruption so that your website is available all the time to anyone who wants to view it. Your web host is responsible for keeping that server running, protecting it from malicious attacks, and transferring its content, such as text, images, files, etc., from the server to your visitors’ browsers.
When you decide to start a new website, you need to find a web host to provide that server space. Your web server stores all of your files, assets, and databases on the server. Every time someone types their domain name into the address bar of their browser, their host transfers all the files necessary to service that request.
Therefore, you must choose the hosting plan that best suits your needs. In fact, it works in a similar way to home rentals – you have to pay rent regularly to keep the server running continuously.
In this article, we will explain web hosting in more detail. So, let’s dive right in.
Types of web hosting
Most web servers offer different types of hosting so that they can meet the needs of different clients, whether you want to create a simple personal blog or own a large online business and have a dire need for an intricate website of the company. These are the most popular options available:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Cloud hosting
- WordPress Hosting
- Dedicated hosting
It’s best to start small and when your site reaches higher traffic numbers, upgrade to a more advanced type of plan. In any case, we will describe each one in more detail.
Web hosting providers usually offer more than one plan for each type of hosting. This type of hosting is the most common answer to most web hosting needs and is an excellent solution for most small business and personal blogs. With this type of hosting, you share a server with other clients. Websites hosted on the same server share all their resources, such as memory, computing power, disk space, and others.
- Low cost, great for online small business websites
- No need for specific technical knowledge
- Preconfigured server options
- Easy to use control panel
- Server maintenance and administration are taken care for you.
- Little or no control over server settings
- Sudden traffic spikes on other websites can slow down your website
When you are using a virtual private server, or VPS for short, you are still sharing a server with other users. However, your web host gives you a completely separate partition on that server. This means that you get a dedicated server space and a reserved amount of resources and memory.
In fact, VPS hosting can be great for midsize businesses with a rapidly growing number of websites and traffic.
- Dedicated server space
- Sudden increases in traffic on other websites do not affect their performance
- Root access to the server
- Easy scalability and high customization
- More expensive than other types of hosting
- Technical and server management knowledge is essential
Cloud hosting is currently the most reliable solution on the market. With cloud hosting, your host provides you with a group of servers – your files and resources are replicated on each server.
When one of the cloud servers is busy or encounters a problem, its traffic is automatically routed to another server in the cluster. This results in little to no downtime, which is great if you have a very busy website.
- Little to no downtime
- Server failures have no effect on your website
- Allocate resources on demand
- Pay-for-price strategy: you only pay for what you use
- More scalable than other types of web hosting
- Difficult to estimate real costs
- Root access is not always provided
WordPress hosting is a particular form of shared hosting, created for WordPress site owners. Your server is configured specifically for WordPress and your site comes with pre-installed plugins for crucial tasks such as caching and security.
Due to the highly optimized settings, your site loads much faster and runs with less trouble. WordPress hosting plans typically include additional WordPress-related features, such as pre-built WordPress themes, drag-and-drop page builders, and dedicated developer tools.
- Inexpensive and beginner-friendly
- One-click WordPress installation
- Good performance for WordPress sites
- Customer support team trained in WordPress issues
- Pre-installed WordPress plugins and themes
- Recommended for WordPress sites only, which can be a problem if you want to host more than one website on your server
Dedicated hosting means that you have your own physical server dedicated exclusively to your website. So you have incredible flexibility on how you want to manage your website. You can configure your server however you want, choose the operating system and software you want to use, and configure the entire hosting environment according to your own needs.
In fact, renting a dedicated server is as powerful as having your own server on site, but it comes with professional support from your web host. Usually this is more geared towards large online businesses dealing with heavy traffic.
- Full control over server settings
- High reliability and security options
- Root access to your server
- High cost, more geared towards larger companies
- Technical and server management knowledge is essential
What is the difference between web hosting and a domain name?
In addition to registering with a web host, you must also purchase a domain name. While web hosting allows you to rent server space for your site, the domain name acts as an address for your site.
When your users want to visit your site, they type the domain name in their browser’s address bar and your server transfers the content they requested.
With most web servers, you must purchase your domain name separately. Or, if you already own a domain, you can also transfer it to your current hosting provider. Similar to web hosting plans, you must pay for your domain name annually to maintain domain ownership.
In general, web hosting is a type of service that you need if you want to publish a website and create an online presence. In fact, having a website gives you incredible benefits by allowing you to easily reach millions of users around the world.
So, are you ready to get started with your new website?