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As someone who knows a bit about tech, chances are you’ve heard about web hosting and you know, from what you’ve gathered, that it is essential. However, do you fully understand what it is all about?
Without hosting, a website cannot be live on the internet. Web hosting solutions are provided by hosting providers who offer the server space and tools needed for a site to be hosted and be available to internet users.
So, if hosting is your site’s house, then a hosting provider can be considered to be the construction team. As someone new to web hosting, how do you pick a host that can be trusted? How many types of hosting are there? If you are looking for answers to these questions, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will be looking at everything you need to know about web hosting.
A Beginner’s Guide to Web Hosting
Just like you need a place to live, websites need that too! Web hosting is where a service provider offers the tools and space required to publish websites live on the internet. Hosting providers are a bit like house builders in the real world. They provide the servers needed to deliver sites to users.
What is a server? A server is a computer that delivers web pages and acts as a storehouse for the data that connects sites to browsers.
Website builder such Wix handle the hosting bit for you, allowing you to publish your site without having to worry about hosting. But that is not the case for bespoke, standalone websites that you have made. These will always require a website host to go live.
Luckily, once you have chosen a hosting provider, things become more straightforward as they handle the rest for you. As such, there is no need to worry about hosting if you are not that technical since the host will manage all technical aspects of site hosting for you. The important thing during this stage is that you know why you need a website host.
Without the server a hosting provider supplies, your website will not be available to web users since it’s delivered to people looking for your site by the host’s server. In simpler terms, your site gets sent to a user’s computer by the server any time anyone searches your site address.
Servers typically have IP Addresses, which are a series of numbers used to identify particular computers.
Here is what an IP Address looks like 86.345.67.8
Not that easy to remember, right! And that’s why domains exist! Domains like www.google.com or thinkbigwebsites.com, are a website’s personalized address. Custom domains help identify websites and inspire trust in people visiting them. It is, therefore, worth getting a custom domain that reflects your site and is easy to remember.
Domains convert an IP address into an “easy to remember” phrase. You can think of them as your website’s street name and house number.
Side Note: To run a website, you will need hosting and a domain name.
The great thing is that you can buy both your hosting and domain name from a single provider, making it easier to connect and manage your website. Alternatively, you could buy your domain elsewhere (like from NameCheap) then connect it to the host you’ve chosen.
Web Hosting Options
There are several options when it comes to web hosting, which can make it hard to pick a provider that suits your needs and budget. In this section, we will be looking at the options available and how to choose the best provider.
Types of Hosting Plans Available:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicate hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Website builder
The best hosting solution for you will depend on the ambitions you have for your site, the service offered by your host, and on your budget.
Website Hosts and Builders
One of the easiest ways to sort your hosting needs is by working with a website builder. Part of the service a builder provides includes hosting and the technical maintenance of your website.
That is why site builders are amongst the easiest and quickest way to build an online presence. At the same time, they’re some of the most cost-effective. A lot of site builders offer free plans, while most premium options are offered for under $20 a month. For instance, Wix has an unlimited plan that costs $10/month, provides a solid 10GB storage, and no caps on bandwidth.
Furthermore, with site builders, you get lots of features that’ll help grow your website. Some of the most popular site builders in the market include Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace.
Having hosting included allows you to focus on running and designing your website. All there is left for you to do is create your site, click on publish, and your website goes live. That is it!
Who are Site Builders Best for: anyone with little tech experience looking to get a site up and working in no time.
Shared Web Hosting
What’s hosting when it is shared? The clue lies in the name. Under this option, you use one server with a host of other websites. Since you share the server with other users, this is one of the cheapest options available.
The downside of this option is that site performance can be affected by the website you share the server with. If they use a lot of technical resources, your site’s performance could slow down.
However, there is no need to worry. The company hosting your site will monitor this to ensure that each site gets the best out of the plan. As such, you must choose and work with the right provider; someone you can trust to manage your site’s hosting plan well.
Most hosts offer this form of hosting. Some of the most popular providers that offer shared hosting plans include HostGator, GoDaddy, SiteGround, and BlueHost.
Who is Shared Hosting Best for? Shared hosting is best for people just launching their web page or small business online, or who run small websites with modest traffic and want to keep costs down.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated web hosting is where you’re the sole tenant of a host’s server. With this option, the performance of your site will not be affected by others, and you also enjoy better security and features tailored to meet your needs.
Dedicated web hosting is far more superior compared to other options, and it shows since dedicated hosting plans are quite expensive. This option is typically used for exerting a higher level of control since you are the only one using the server. Better uptime and security are other benefits of using this hosting.
This option is perfect for you if you require a lot of disk space – like if you have a significant email database. While for example, HostPapa and iPage do not offer dedicated hosting, all other brands mentioned in our top list do.
Who is Dedicated Web Hosting Best for? It is best for websites that are growing at an unprecedented rate. If you are an online store or business that is generating robust virtual sales and footfall, dedicated hosting is what you need.
VPS Web Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is where you share a server with other users but get your own dedicated space within the server. While the hardware (the server) is split with other sites, you get your own personal computing resources.
It is a good halfway point between the more expensive dedicated hosting and the cheaper shared hosting options.
The great thing about this option is that you can upgrade your website’s storage and bandwidth without spending a lot to get more control and flexibility.
Hostgator and Bluehost both offer virtual private server hosting at reasonable prices. GoDaddy isn’t that far off cost-wise.
Who is VPS Hosting Best for? This option is excellent for growing websites. If you are looking for a dependable hosting option that is more advanced than the shared hosting package but are not ready to commit to the dedicated hosting plan, then go for VPS hosting.
Under cloud hosting, the resources your website requires to operate are spread across a collection of servers, commonly referred to as “the cloud.”
With this option, the chances of experiencing downtimes due to server malfunction are minimal. If one server fails, another one steps in. Also, extra support allows you to handle large volumes of traffic without experiencing bandwidth issues.
Cloud hosting is, arguably, more reliable than dedicated hosting.
It is worth noting that not all hosts offer cloud hosting. However, amongst those who do, our top picks would be Bluehost, HostGator, and SiteGround.
Who is Cloud Hosting Best for? If you are a fast-growing website experiencing lots of traffic, then this is a great option.
One thing about web hosting is that every site needs it.
Be it you are a one-man-army photographer or a multinational online giant, as long as you have a website, it will need hosting.
With so many options, there is no shortage of options. However, it can be hard knowing where to start, especially if you are not that tech-savvy in that case give South Florida Web Development a call.