Web hosting can be explained as the process of buying or renting cyberspace to host a website on the World Wide Web.
It is the job of the hosting service provider to house web content like CSS, HTML, etc., on the server, such that they get their online visibility.
Definition of Web Hosting
The definition of web hosting states that it is a process in which a hosting provider assigns a web server space for a website to store its files like codes, images, etc., improving their online visibility.
How much space will be allocated to your website depends solely on the type of hosting service you buy or hire. There are five major types of website hosting available-
- Reseller hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Shared hosting
- Cloud hosting
How to differentiate between the categories of hosting services? Simply check the server technology in use, the management support given by the service provider, and the additional hosting services in offer.
Understanding the basics of Website hosting and servers
Before we proceed with the heavy details of what is web hosting, let’s first understand what a server means.
A server can be defined as a system, very similar to a computer, that helps in connecting different web users or internet surfers to your website from anywhere across the globe. The hosting providers who share the server space with you for your website offer you a wide range of hosting facilities. From small blog posts to website operations of large companies.
In today’s world, your business success is completely dependent on your online presence. And, you need a trusted web host to grant you online visibility. You will come across hundreds of web hosts near you with hundreds of hosting solutions, from free and limited versions to expensive ones. The way you prefer to utilize your website and the audience you wish to target will determine the type of web host you hire.
How fast your website loads determines how much web traffic you will have. If you have a slow loading platform, you will soon start losing visitors. A web host can solve this issue. Consider your website performance and speed while choosing a web host.
Furthermore, the type of website hosting support you get depends on how well versed you are with website handling. We typically recommend hiring a dedicated server for companies who seek 24×7 assistance and high security.
How do web hosting services help a website?
A website typically comprises files like codes, images, data, etc. When you upload these files on a web server, it allocates its resources like bandwidth, RAM, cloud space/hard drive space to your website as a part of the website hosting support.
All server resources will be allocated to your website completely depending on the hosting plan you have chosen. So, how can you choose the right website hosting plan for your online business?
While choosing the right hosting services for your website, you need to focus on these questions-
- How much bandwidth and storage do you need for your website to operate smoothly?
- Are you open to a shared server, or do you need an exclusive server?
- Do you expect a lot of web traffic?
- What is the size and type of your business?
- What are your expansion plans?
- How much are you willing to pay for a stable website?
Once you have answers to these questions, choosing the right type of hosting will become easier. As mentioned earlier, there are four categories of web hosting services available around us. We have described each of them to understand better what to expect while choosing a hosting plan.
Types of web hosting services
There are four major types of web hosting services available around us. But, with the advancement of technology, there has been an addition of a new category.
When your website shares a server with other websites, it is called a shared hosting service. Shared hosting is the cheapest version of hosting services provided by every web host. If you are not expecting high web traffic anytime sooner, this is the best solution for you. Moreover, you can set up shared hosting more easily.
Shared hosting is ideal for small or medium-sized businesses and personal websites.
When you get dedicated hosting servers, you get your website a dedicated or managed server exclusively to yourself. It might be an expensive solution to hosting, but it allows your website to have more online traffic and better server control. Dedicated hosting is ideal for big-sized company websites. Some of the features that make dedicated hosting the best solution are-
- Entire server access with data center support for the website
- Higher administrative benefits for self-service severs
- Better security system, software, and server control
However, dedicated hosting is not meant for people who are new to the concept. You need to be technically sound to handle the server alone.
VPS hosting or Virtual Private Server hosting is also known as Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS), is a virtual server that appears to be a dedicated one for a website. Whereas, in reality, multiple websites are using it. However, there is a mild difference between VPS and shared hosting. VPS grants users complete control of the virtual server, very much similar to dedicated hosting.
It is a suitable solution for smaller businesses seeking the flexibility of dedicated servers at a cheaper price.
4. Reseller Hosting:
Reseller hosting allows the server account holder to host the pre-allotted bandwidth and hard drive space to another website on a third party’s behalf. Here the original owner of the server space is known as the reseller, and that person is eligible to resell the unused share of his/her server.
The reseller hosting option is great for smaller businesses or companies that require multiple domain access.
Cloud hosting is a rather new form of web hosting in the market. If you have an interconnected web server with flexible, economical, and trusted website infrastructure, you can operate cloud hosting. Large businesses prefer cloud hosting over other forms because of the availability of unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth support. However, it can be a costly solution.
Why should you pay for web hosting services?
A website needs a server for its operation, and you need a reliable solution for this. Nothing works better than a web hosting service. There are several reasons why you need to purchase web hosting services.
1. Reliability and chances for a better uptime: Paid or free, reliability is essential irrespective of the nature of hosting services. You need a trusted service provider who will be available for your assistance 24×7. When we say reliable, we also mean a stable network. Hence, with reliability comes a high-performing website that has high uptime as well.
However, speed and customer support for website hosting are only available when you get a paid hosting service. Hence, paid services are better when it comes to reliability and uptime.
2. Bandwidth and traffic: Free web hosting services come with bandwidth limitations and the number of visitors per hour restrictions. If you want unmetered bandwidth with unlimited web traffic, you need a paid service.
3. PHP, MySQL, SSH, FTP, .htaccess: PHP assists with the implementation of new features to your website. “.htaccess” files on your server helps in the modification of website error pages. SSH is useful for maintaining your database. Finally, the FTP method helps in transferring web pages and files from local to web host’s computer. All these services are not usually available with free hosting servers.
4. Control Panel: If you want to have complete control of your website, you need control panel access. You can enjoy that only with a dedicated or VPS server. Both the options are expensive and paid.
5. Hosting Multiple Domains: Free web hosting services usually provide you with one domain name. But what if your business calls for more than one domain? That is when you need a paid service to assist with multiple domain hosting.
6. Cost and revenue: Website hosting provides you services equivalent to what you paid. Free hosting will cost less but limit your web traffic, limiting your revenue in the long run. Whereas paid hosting ensures that your website performs exceptionally well and attracts more visitors, resulting in higher revenue.
7. E-mail service: A free hosting service will allocate a random e-mail id against your domain. If you want a professional solution, you need paid hosting.
8. Technical support: Generally, every type of hosting service comes with an option forx7 online chat support for emergencies. If you are new to this, you will require technical support to operate your website, even if it is not an emergency. Paid hosting services usually provide website owners with on-call support for any technical needs.
Free web hosting costs more
Free web hosting, as mentioned earlier, comes with certain limitations. If you are a startup with low web traffic and revenue expectations, this might be an ideal solution for you. You can even take free hosting services for a trial period. But in the long run, free hosting costs more.
Do you want to know why? Here are the areas where you end up paying more when you plan an expansion.
Bandwidth allowance is usually low and limited in the case of a free hosting service. Once you limit the bandwidth, you limit your data transfer allowance for your visitors while browsing your website. In fact, with low bandwidth comes low storage. Free hosts also have specifications on the maximum size of the file you can upload and transfer from your website.
If your website storage and bandwidth needs are more, you will soon need to spend more on hiring additional services to meet the website need.
Though all free web hosts don’t litter your website with advertisements, many do so to cover their expense for the free server space. Too many advertisements and pop-ups are likely to upset your online visitors. You can check with your web host before hiring their services if advertisements are expected in exchange for free service, or else, you might need to pay more and upgrade to a paid version later.
Options for upgrading
With free hosting, you need to upgrade your hosting plans to a paid one with your website growth. The more your business grows, the more server space you need. Check with your web host in advance if they offer room for growth or upgrading your hosting plan.
In today’s world, every website requires a strong web hosting solution for better performance. You must choose your web host wisely and understand how hosting works. Ensure you have a clear understanding of your business needs to determine the type of hosting service you need to hire or buy.