What is Web Hosting
Web hosting is an online service that makes a website’s content accessible via the internet. When a business purchases a hosting plan, it rents space on a real server to store all of the files and data for the website.
Web hosts provide the technologies and resources for the website’s effective and secure operation. They keep the server up and operating, establish security measures, and ensure that data like texts, photographs, and other files are successfully transferred to visitors’ browsers.
How does Web Hosting work?
The server that hosts any website is a physical computer that runs continuously to ensure the site is always accessible to visitors. Buying web hosting servers allows companies to keep all of their website’s data on their provider’s servers. When a user inserts the domain name into their browser’s address bar, the web host’s server will transfer all the files required to load the website.
Businesses can host their website, but this needs substantial technical expertise. Setting up and installing a web server from scratch, including the equipment, infrastructure, hardware, and software, is what self-hosting implies. The business will also be responsible for any ongoing maintenance.
A web hosting service provider ensures that the business’s website operates efficiently and securely. Furthermore, it streamlines the numerous complex components of website hosting, such as software installation and technical support.
Types of Web Hosting
A single server is shared among multiple users in this entry-level form of web hosting.
Best for: Businesses with small, simple sites with moderate traffic want the most affordable option.
A virtual server runs in a cloud computing environment and stores data across a network of servers.
Best for: Small to medium-sized websites that require more resources than shared hosting, including the ability to handle traffic increases on the fly.
A single physical server is divided into multiple virtual spaces that host individual websites.
Best for: Businesses with larger, more heavily trafficked websites can spend a little more money for additional control and resources.
A server that is rented to a single customer.
Best for: Businesses with large, high-traffic websites that require many resources and can afford a higher monthly price.
Specialised hosting features for online stores, including shopping carts, inventory management, and payment processing functionality.
Best for Online stores or brick-and-mortar businesses that also want to be able to sell products through their website.
A form of hosting that lets a user purchase server space, divide it, and resell it to other customers.
Best for: Individuals or businesses with technical knowledge want to earn money by reselling server space to other customers.
Managed hosting is not a hosting but a service provided by web hosting service providers to customers, primarily those who use dedicated or VPS hosting. The hosting service provider will handle the server’s setup, administration, and support with managed hosting, whereas this is the customer’s responsibility with unmanaged hosting.
Essential Web Hosting Features
These are a few key features to consider when shopping for web hosting services:
- Domain name registration
Every website needs its distinct domain name. While businesses can register their domain name independently of their hosting plan, many hosting providers include domain name registration as part of their hosting packages. Since registering a domain name incurs additional costs, including it in your hosting bundle might save money.
The speed with which your website loads is critical to its success. Slow speeds negatively impact SEO and affect customers’ experience on the website. Google also considers the speed in their overall evaluation of a site’s quality. Look for companies that use Solid-State Drives (SSD), a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and have servers in multiple locations when choosing a hosting service provider. These factors contribute to faster speeds.
Servers, regardless of size, have limited storage capacity. Businesses should select a form of hosting that can handle the size of their site. Shared hosting, for example, is usually suitable for text-heavy sites with a few pages. In contrast, more significant sites with many high-resolution photographs and streaming media may demand the amount of storage that only a VPS or dedicated server can provide.
Bandwidth requirements, like storage requirements, vary by location. A website with thousands of visits per day requires more bandwidth than a website with only a few hundred visitors. While many shared web hosting services promise “unlimited” bandwidth, this is mainly based on the reality that most websites, especially when they are new, never come close to exceeding bandwidth limitations. However, it is essential to read the tiny print; some hosting service providers charge customers who use more than their permitted bandwidth.
Scalability is one method for dealing with storage and bandwidth constraints. Some types of hosting, such as cloud hosting, enable sites to scale up their resources on the go. Many hosting service providers provide various types of hosting so that a website that begins with shared hosting can eventually upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting as its storage and bandwidth requirements expand.
As previously mentioned, a reputable web hosting service provider ensures that its servers are operational as often as possible. A third-party site can be used to verify a company’s claims about uptime.
- Email Accounts
Dedicated email accounts at the domain name are crucial to establishing professionalism and authority for the business. Different hosting packages offer varying numbers of email accounts per website, so determine the business needs and look for a package that meets those needs.
It is also critical to have dependable, accessible technical help from web hosting service providers to efficiently maintain a website. If clients are experiencing problems with a website, businesses will want to be able to handle those issues as soon as possible. Look for service providers that provide 24/7 help, whether by phone, chat, or email.
Web Hosting Terms
There is much-specialised terminology surrounding web hosting. Here are some of the most common words and phrases:
Hosting service provider: Any organisation that provides web hosting services is referred to as a hosting service provider. They own and run the servers on which websites are hosted and rent server space to consumers. Consider the hosting service provider to be a website’s landlord. A2 Hosting, Bluehost, InMotion Hosting, and Hostgator are some of the most popular hosting service companies.
Server: A computer that, depending on the server type, provides data to other computers by running specific software. Web servers, email servers, and file servers are all examples of servers. Web servers, as the name suggests, host web pages. When someone views a website, they are linked to the server that houses the files that comprise the website.
Internet Protocol (IP) address: This unique numerical address identifies a website and connects browser visitors. Website addresses are simplified with domain names because it is too difficult for users to remember all the different IP addresses of their websites.
Domain name: The unique name of a website that users enter into the browser’s address bar to access it. To prevent several websites from using the same name, domain names must be registered with a domain name registrar. Although many web hosting companies include domain name registration as part of their web hosting services, you can register your domain name individually.
Uptime: The time a server is operational, usually expressed as a percentage.
Bandwidth: The amount of data that can pass over a connection in a given amount of time. A lack of bandwidth might have a detrimental influence on the speed and accessibility of your website.
cPanel: An abbreviation for control panel, this Linux-based graphical interface is used to publish websites, organise online files, create email accounts, and do other tasks.
WordPress: A simple and widely used content management system that allows users to construct web pages and blogs. Due to its popularity, numerous hosting companies provide hosting services exclusively for WordPress sites.
Using a hosting provider vs hosting a website locally
Hosting Your Website Using a Hosting Provider
A web hosting service provider provides customers with a pre-configured server on which to store the information for the website. These servers are specifically built to provide quick response times, high reliability, and simple connectivity, allowing others to access the site effortlessly. Furthermore, the servers are configured to make it simple for businesses to create their website and publish it to the world.
- High upload speed
- Server grade infrastructure
- Easy setup
- Simple domain connection
- Preconfigured server operating systems
- Housed in an advanced data centre
- Very low upfront costs
A hosting provider is recommended for beginners looking to launch their website. Hosting providers take care of the setup and technical aspects typically required to host a website. These steps are necessary to get started with a web host:
- Choose Your Hosting Type
- Select a Web Hosting Provider
- Register Your Domain
- Migrate Your Site to Your Hosting Provider
Hosting Your Website Locally
Typically, self-hosting a website involves purchasing or creating the business’s server. This usually entails purchasing space at a co-location facility where companies can keep their constructed or purchased server and link it to a specialised internet connection.
It is also important to note that while attempting to host a website, employing a specialised hosting facility is always necessary. Most internet service providers forbid individuals from hosting websites on their personal computers.
- Greater control
- Specification of technical infrastructure
- Place servers at any location
- Suitable for large-scale web applications
Numerous decisions must be made while developing a new website, including how and where to host it. Signing up for a hosting account is the first step in creating an online presence, whether an online business, blog or another type of website. Understanding the fundamentals of web hosting and the many types of web hosting services can assist companies in locating a cost-effective and dependable option for their website.