Did you know there are over 1.5 billion websites in the world? This number is increasing rapidly, making competition for online businesses fierce. But have you ever wondered where all that text, image, and code on the web get stored?
That is the job of a web hosting service. Read on as we answer the question “What is web hosting?” and decide what type is best for you.
What Is Web Hosting?
When building a website, its files and data need housing on a server. The owners of this server are the website hosting company. People who own the website will pay the server owners to keep their files stored and maintained, allowing them to be accessed by users.
The type and amount of server space allocated to a website depend on the type of hosting. Some people may only need a small amount of space, while others may require a server to themselves.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
Web hosting services will rent or sell space on their servers. This server acts like a computer that is running all the time, allowing people to access the HTML, CSS, and images that make up the site. Once they enter your domain name into their address bar, they will be directed to the right server and have access to the code, which is transferred to them.
It is possible to set up your own hosting but it requires a lot of technical knowledge. You will have to invest in hardware, software, and equipment while also doing ongoing maintenance. This is why most people choose to hire a company that will do it for them.
Types of Web Hosting
Web hosting sites will often offer a range of hosting options. These are designed to suit the individual needs of each customer. Some people may only need a small amount of space, while others may have vast websites that need a lot.
When starting, many people choose to begin with the simplest solution. As their website grows, they then upgrade.
Shared hosting is an option that lets the user share hosting with other websites on the same server. All the websites housed use the same resources, such as storage space, memory, and processing power. It is the most affordable solution.
This method is best for small-scale websites, such as blogs and new businesses. As they do not require advanced technical expertise, many are easy to set up right away. They will often come with pre-configured server options allowing you to get everything you need, with maintenance handled by the company.
The downside to them is that you are sharing resources. If other websites have surges in traffic, they may take up the bandwidth slowing your website. You also have very little access to the server configuration, meaning you cant optimize it to your needs.
Virtual Private Servers
A virtual private server lets you share a server with others. However, the difference is that the web host will partition you an area with a set amount of resources. Also known as VPS hosting, it is great for people who want to grow eCommerce websites and sites with lots of traffic.
All of this gives you more options. When other websites start to take up server space, it won’t encroach on the performance of your site. As you also get root access to the server you get a much higher level of customizability.
The only downside is that it can be technical. This means you may have to hire a developer to organize and run it for you increasing costs further.
Dedicated hosting provides a private server to each website that is for its sole use. As the server is not shared, it gets all the resources available. You can choose the operating system, and software, configuring it to your own desired specifications.
The larger number of resources and ability to configure make it great for big businesses that require lots of resources for increased amounts of traffic. Its biggest downside is that it is a very expensive option. Though you will get some help from the host, you will also need to hire someone to deal with the technical aspects bringing the price up further.
What Is a Domain Name?
While a website’s files exist on a server, those files need something to mark them as the specific website. This is so people can find the files and websites they need. A domain name serves this purpose and is the website’s digital address or identity.
Choosing the right domain name is an art in itself. There are several extensions such as .com, .org, and others. The rest could include the name of your business, but other words such as locations and product types may also be included.
A domain name will need registering separately from the hosting plan you buy. Luckily, the best web hosting will also be able to supply and register a domain for you.
What Should the Best Web Hosting Offer?
Unfortunately, not all web hosting services are created equal. Some have better customer service, and security or may offer more services. Below is a range of features that you should look out for.
- Fast Uptime Speeds
- 23 Hour Support
- Email Accounts
- SSL and CDN Integration
- Control Panel
Specialized forms of hosting may also be on offer, such as cloud or dedicated WordPress hosting. Do your research before signing up as hosting can have a huge impact on how your site operates.
Finding the Best Website Hosting
Now you can answer the question “What is web hosting?” you need to search for the best option. Check online reviews and speak with a customer service representative from potential companies. Don’t just go for the cheapest option.
Levine’s Web Hosting should be your first stop. We offer shared hosting in a range of price plans to suit all budgets. Contact us here to discuss the best one for your needs.