If you have ever come close to building your own website, you must have heard the term “web hosting”. But have you really understood what that meant?
In an effort to make this technical phenomenon fully digestible for you, we’ve created an article that touches upon the basis of web hosting, lists the main types of it, and explains the criteria that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a hosting service.
One of the most difficult aspects of starting a website is deciding which type of web hosting is best for your business. No doubt, it can be quite a challenge considering that you most likely have no idea how it’s gonna affect your business long term.
In addition to that, you probably don’t have the technical knowledge and expertise to determine the exact type of hosting you need to invest in.
If you have faced such questions across your business journey, then this article is for you. Keep on reading to find the answers to all your questions!
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is an online service that allows you to publish your website or mobile application on the Internet.
To understand what website hosting is, imagine that the Internet is an apartment complex. If you want to make your website a part of that complex, you need to rent or buy an apartment in that digital complex.
The same principle works for hosting services. Your website wouldn’t be connected to the rest of the Internet without a web host. So, web hosting services host websites or mobile applications on a large physical server.
The crazy thing about this server is that it never stops running. Here, you may keep all the coding, web files, and information for your website to function properly.
It is also possible to host a website on your own, but it takes a lot of technical know-how. Self-hosting suggests building a server from the grind up, including infrastructure, hardware, and software. Additionally, you will be in charge of all the ongoing maintenance.
Difference between domain and hosting
Many people think that domain and hosting are interchangeable terms. Although they fail to recognize the difference between a domain and a web host, these are actually two different things.
A domain is an address that enables a user to find your website on the Internet while web hosting is a big virtual storage that keeps all the data of your website. A functioning website needs both domain and hosting.
Going back to the example of the apartment complex, web hosting is the physical space of your apartment, while the domain is its address.
In order for people to come over to your place, they need to know your exact address. Once they come in, they become your guest and a part of the physical space of your apartment.
Technically put, when someone types a URL into their web browser’s address bar to reach your site, they are using your domain name. So, a domain name provides a practical way for individuals to access websites.
Without your own domain name, people would have to use an IP address to find you.
An IP address is a numerical identifier given to each website and server on the Internet.
It is also important to mention that each domain is unique. This prevents multiple websites from having the same name.
Types of web hosting services
The hosting options available today are quite diverse and elaborate. If you are on the threshold of starting your own website, you will need to research all the types of web hosting plans to eventually stop on the most reliable web hosting service.
We have separated the most commonly used types to save you some time. Go on reading to find out what the main types of web hosting services are and get a better understanding of each of them.
1. Shared hosting
When multiple users share the same server resources, such as memory, processing power, and storage space, it is called shared hosting. By allocating server space to multiple users, the maintenance costs of the server decrease significantly. So, shared hosting is the easiest and most affordable means of taking your business online.
“How does this work?” you may wonder. Simply put, whenever you enter a website URL into your browser, it looks for the server where it is hosted. Then, the browser sends an HTTP request message to the server after identifying the server, asking for the necessary data and information to make the website visually accessible.
Shared hosting can be home to hundreds of websites with little or medium traffic. This is possible due to the fact that the volume of such websites doesn’t occupy a large amount of space in a hosting. So, shared hosting plans can be the go-to web hosting service for small businesses that are just starting out.
2. VPS hosting
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) allow you to share a physical server with other users, but unlike a shared web hosting service, the VPS web host divides the server resources into virtual partitions for each user. This makes VPS hosting much more secure compared to shared web hosting services.
VPS hosting is a great choice for large blogs, medium-sized websites, and eCommerce stores with a lot of visitors.
Roughly put, once a website outgrows the limits of shared hosting, VPS web hosting is the level that comes next.
3. Dedicated hosting
If you choose to publish your website in a dedicated hosting environment, you’re given your own server. You basically lease a whole dedicated server and use it all to yourself. So, a single server hosts a single website. You don’t have to share any of the resources that the hosting service provider of dedicated hosting offers you.
Choosing a dedicated server allows you to configure the server, select the software and operating system of your choice, and tailor the entire web hosting operation to your needs. This is fantastic news when it comes to security measures since dedicated hosting allows you to fully control your setup and server settings, and use solutions that are specific to the security needs of your web operations.
A virtual dedicated server is perfect for large web enterprises and organizations that deal with high traffic. The higher speed and reliability of dedicated servers will make sure your website is running with no obstructions.
4. Cloud hosting
This web hosting system hosts one or more websites through a virtual server. As a result, if one server experiences high traffic or encounters a problem, the other servers take over and keep the website up and running.
The key advantages of cloud hosting are the capacity to construct applications, websites, and other services with greater flexibility and cost-effective terms. Users just pay for the services they use and are not charged for any unused capacity. This is what makes cloud hosting much more affordable.
However, there are also some downsides to cloud hosting services. As the rate of cloud usage has increased, companies have become more vulnerable to security threats. There is the danger of intellectual property theft or loss and regulatory violations. This often becomes a reason for many companies to purchase their own servers.
Businesses with several websites and large-scale sites like eCommerce shops can benefit from cloud hosting big time. The reason is that cloud hosting services offer little to no downtime as they depend on a cluster of web servers.
How to choose a web hosting provider?
There are a number of criteria that you should take into consideration when choosing a web hosting service provider. In addition to being a vital component of starting any website, web hosting service providers can have a huge impact on your SEO strategies, as well. This comes from the fact that your web host largely impacts your site’s functionality, security, and many other aspects.
A good starting point can be the listing of your needs. Then, you can prioritize them according to what each potential host is offering and what price they require for their services.
To avoid making a wrong investment, you can initially confirm that the hosting service provider has a refund policy and additional guarantees. Chances are that things may pop up during the website development process, which will require you to change the host of your website. So, being prepared for such scenarios is a smart idea.
Another smart move before signing up for a web hosting provider is checking what your upgrade options are. Let’s say you don’t want to make a big investment in the beginning and the minimal web hosting features of that particular service work for you.
It doesn’t suggest, however, that your business is going to stand still and not progress. Later on, you will most likely scale and so will your website. Thus, you should make a rough estimate of the traffic you expect on your website.
In previous passages, we learned that according to the type of web hosting, you may have different levels of control. To make sure that you are in charge of the necessary components of your website, you will also need to check the control panel that your host gives you access to.
If you check these metrics in advance, you will reduce the risk of making a wrong choice when it comes to web hosts.
10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Web Host
Are you still hesitating about which kind of hosting service to choose? We’ve separated 10 questions to help you make a final decision and find the ultimate web hosting that best suits your online business.
- Is your business small, medium, or large?
- What’s your monthly traffic?
- How large do you want the available storage to be?
- Do you want to get a free trial of the hosting service?
- What’s your budget for a web hosting service?
- What’s the average web uptime you expect?
- What’s the average loading speed you expect on your web pages?
- Which are your preferred server locations?
- What are your expectations in terms of the refund policy and guarantees?
- What are your expectations in terms of customer support services?
By answering these questions, you will have a better understanding of your web hosting needs. After that, you can simply eliminate the hosting options that don’t meet the most important requirements you have listed.
How to host a website for free on Renderforest?
Are you wondering if there are any free hosting services? The short answer is yes! Renderforest website builder offers a free lifetime subdomain to publish your website on.
This means that if you choose not to purchase a custom domain name, your website will be published under a free subdomain provided by Renderforest. In this case, Google will index your domain much more quickly and give it the same rating and authority as Renderforest.
This is an amazing opportunity for freelancers and new startup businesses to skip the early stages of development and immediately appear in a solid position as far as web presence is concerned.
If you want to have a personalized domain name, that’s also possible with Renderforest. It may take up to 48 hours for a freshly registered domain to fully activate, and voila! It’s live.
The great thing about the hosting services of Renderforest is that you don’t have to have the technical knowledge to understand the processes. You simply need to follow the hints and the rest is on them.
There are many super cool website templates available on Renderforest which make your job even easier. You don’t even have to worry about designing your website. The professionally designed website templates are there to help you create your own website with the least effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a good web hosting service?
A good web hosting service is a virtual channel that takes your business ideas online. With the help of a web hosting service, you secure a roof for your business website on the world wide web. The main features of a good web hosting service are little or no server downtime, 24/7 customer service, and a flexible control panel.
2. How to host a website locally?
A website can be hosted either externally or publicly, or it can be hosted locally.
An externally hosted website is kept on a provider’s server, whereas a locally hosted website is kept on your own computer. The term for this is self-hosting. One of the ways to host your own website locally is to use a local web stack. It is software that offers several of the components that you need for local development, including a web server.
3. What does hosting mean?
In its most generic sense, hosting is the virtual space where your website resides and from where it is presented to your users.
Technically, hosting refers to a service in which the storage space of your website files and computer resources are made available to a person or a business so they can host and maintain their websites.
4. What is a hosting server?
The hosting server is a computer that is solely used for hosting websites. The only difference between your computer and the one that serves for website hosting is that the latter never stops running, it’s super powerful and can host hundreds of websites in the meantime.
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Choosing a suitable and trustworthy web hosting service is a crucial step in going online. In addition to making your website publicly accessible, hosts also provide services for managing domains, maintaining the servers, their software, support, bandwidth, speed, and other factors.
In order to better serve the diverse needs of websites and clients, various forms of web hosting services have been established.
Depending on the size of your online business, the estimated monthly traffic you get, and the safety levels you expect, you can choose from the following types of hosting services – shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, or cloud hosting.
Your business website is the public face of your brand. When you make official contact with a potential customer, your website is what speaks to them first. You will be at a significant disadvantage to the competition around you if you don’t have a website and hosting. So, it is worth investing in the hosting system of your website.
The best thing about web hosting packages is that it allows you to concentrate more on how your website looks and what messages it delivers. Otherwise, you will need to have a whole team setting up and operating your software systems which, obviously, is a huge resource waste.
Instead, leave the maintenance and troubleshooting duties to the expert web hosts and spend your time counting your profits.