Last Updated on by Hema Mehta
If you are not well familiar with the terms, types, and processes related to web hosting, you may be confused. It may lead you to a wrong decision while hosting your website. Don’t worry; you are not alone. All beginners face the same types of problems. Therefore, I’m writing this to help the beginners of web hosting and web design. This guide can help you in finding answers to the following questions.
- What is web hosting?
- What is a server?
- Can I use my computer as a server?
- What does it mean by a web hosting service provider?
- What are the different types of web hosting?
- What is a web hosting plan?
- How to choose the right web hosting plan?
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows you to publish your website or webpages onto the internet. It is also the action of housing or storing a website to a server. After you host your site on a server, all the files (pages, text, images, graphics, videos, etc.) of that website will get published on the internet. All the users of the internet can access them. Whenever you add a new item to your website, it will be automatically uploaded to your server.
You may wonder around the term server.
What is a Server?
A server is a dedicated computer bigger than the PC and very powerful in terms of memory, processor speed, security, and uptime. It’s often referred to as dedicated since it hardly performs any other task expects the one assigned to it. It operates some complex tax that a general computer can’t do. Like a PC, it consists of OS, hard drives, RAM, processor, and numbers of software. Everything of a server has its specific capabilities, high performance, and dedicated assignment.
Can You Use Your PC as a Server?
You may ask – may I use my computer as a server? Yes, you can. However, you require a lot of arrangements. Such as a great deal of technical skill, a lot of additional software, a high performing processor, infrastructure like the cooling system as well as keeping your computer never power off.
How a User Find a Website Stored in a Server?
When you type a URL (unified resource locator), for example, https://www.businesskrafts.com/blog, in the URL bar of a web browser, the browser locates the server and ask it to deliver the required files. When delivered, the browser displays the files on its screen. So the pages and content therein of a website are accessed by a user.
A URL is also known as a web address. A URL corresponds to a string of numbers, which is known as the IP (internet protocol) address. For example, the IP address of www.businesskrafts.com is 188.8.131.52. Since an IP address is not easy to remember, we use an alphanumeric name, that is, the URL or web address for finding a website or webpage.
A URL contains a domain name. The domain name for https://www.businesskrafts.com/blog is businesskrafts.com. /blog stands for the path. https:// is the prefix that stands for the type of the website. www informs that the website is available on the web.
Who is a Web Hosting Service Provider?
A web host or web hosting service provider is a company that owns a number of network servers along with infrastructural setup and technical team to handle a set of complex and specialized tasks including storing, maintenance, scanning, security, back up, uptime guarantee, etc. For example, Godaddy is a web hosting service provider.
What are Different Types of Web Hosting?
It’s most crucial to know the exact meaning of different types of web hosting so that you’ll not be confused while selecting a type for you.
The primary types of hosting are many. The most notable are:
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- Colocated or Colocation Hosting
- Self Service Web Hosting
However, based on the operating system of the server, each type of hosting is further divided into two categories. Those are
- Linux Hosting and
- Windows Hosting
Again, on the basis of the support services, you may divide all hosting types and categories into
- Managed Hosting and
- Unmanaged Hosting.
Now, I’m providing with meaning and features of each type of hosting.
In a shared hosting environment, you and a number of other website owners share a common server. Since a server and maintenance cost is shared by many website owners, it’s affordable by all. However, since many websites share a single server, you might suffer from the slow loading of your website.
The best thing of shared hosting is that it’s the cheapest option. Since several hundred or thousand websites share a single super server, not only the cost of the server, but also the expenditure towards keeping the server up-to-date, malware free and secure, etc. are divided. You may register for a shared hosting plan at just $ 2/month. Depending upon your requirement it may goes up to $10/month.
The second good thing is that in a shared hosting environment the web hosting company takes complete care of setup. You have to do little with configuration so can spend much time in building and designing your website.
The biggest downside of shared hosting is the ‘bad neighbor’s effect’. Using heavy amount of resources of a server such as of processor and memory and faulty configuration of website by any other user can adversely affect the speed and performance of your website that will lead to bad user experience. How much big in figure it may be, a server’s resources, such as, RAM, ROM, processor are always finite. While those are shared among 4000 or 5000 websites, some latter added websites might not avail sufficient resources to run properly
Who Should Prefer It?
Shared hosting is best suitable for beginners, static small website owners, hobby blogger and those are in tight budget. A new website generally doesn’t get much traffic at the initial stage. By preferring for a shared hosting plan, you can shave considerable good amount of money and time. By opting for shared hosting, you’ll be free from set up headache. You may upgrade your hosting plan to any other type of web hosting at any time you wish.
In a dedicated hosting environment, you have an entire server all for yourself. There’s no other who shares with you. Being the single user of the server, you’ve to bear all the expenditure. In return, you’ll enjoy complete ownership and very good speed.
The biggest advantage of dedicated hosting is that you are your own boss. There’s no fear of bad neighbor since there is none. No other website will be a security risk or other issue for you. You can have control over management of the server issues and customize in accordance to the need. You can freely choose the OS and other software for your convenience.
A dedicated hosting plan obviously cost a lot. Small businesses can’t afford such expenditure. Besides, since you have to manage most of the things in a dedicated hosting environment, you should have good technical skill or hire skilled professional to do everything required.
The biggest issue in dedicated hosting is that when the server faces technical problems or fails, your website will go down. You don’t have any other server to transfer your files immediately
Who Should Prefer It?
Dedicated hosting is suitable for big businesses with heavy volumes of traffic.
VPS stands for the virtual private server. In this environment many virtual rooms are created in a single server and each one allocated to a single user. Though in a VPS hosting plan a single server is shared among many websites, all websites enjoy their separate and private boundary of using spaces and resources. It’s a balanced way between the shared and dedicated hosting.
There are many advantages of VPS hosting. Even after sharing, there is no issue like bad neighbors’ effect. The resources and spaces for which you are paying are completely yours. There is no other one to use or steal your resources. If anyone cross the limit, his/her website will be down, not yours.VPS is usually limited to 15-20 websites. Hence, load on server is limited.In VPS type, you can enjoy more flexibility and customize your environment. In shared hosting it’s not possible since your customization will affect other’s settings.
Most important thing about VPS is that it’s scalable. You can add more resources to your website if you require.
The down side of VPS hosting are few. First, it cost higher than the normal share hosting and second, you need proper knowledge and skill to handle your VPS account or, otherwise you may be in trouble.
Who Should Prefer It?
If you have the money and required knowledge of the customization and set up, you should update for VPS hosting. At the lowest tier, you may get a VPS plan at around $20/month that may go up to $200/month for the highest tire. Second, when you start getting good amount of traffic, you need to update your shared hosting to VPS hosting.
In a cloud hosting environment, hundreds of individual servers work together so that it looks like a giant single server. If the need for a website grows, it can access more hardware and technical facility in cloud-based hosting. This fairly new hosting technology facilitates speed as well as zero off-time for the website owners. Both shared hosting and dedicated hosting services are available in a cloud environment.
- Guaranteed up-time, high level security, flexible scalability and pay per use are the four big advantages of cloud hosting.
- Since many servers are connected to a single system, fault in a single server will not affect your website.
- In case of a security issue like hacking attempt, the server in a cloud system is overwhelmed by a ton of parallel request until it crashes. Hence, speedily and effectively, it can challenge any security issue.
- You can enjoy better scalability in a cloud environment in comparison to VPS. In the latter type, scalability is limited to existing capacity of the server. But in the cloud system, new servers can be added at any time and hence, you may scale to any requirement.
- Lastly, cloud account allows you to pay in accordance your actual use of resources. It’s metered.
- It’s easily predictable that the traditional dedicated and VPS environments will be replaced by cloud environment within few years. Cloud technology is rapidly growing.
Unpredictable cost while scaling to higher usage of resources is the only down side of cloud hosting. Many times you may not predict how much to pay for an upgraded plan in advance.
Who Should Prefer It?
Those who have VPS accounts may transfer to cloud accounts at any time. If your website is on a shared server, after good amount of traffic growth, you may upgrade to a cloud based server. In fact, cloud is the next generation technology.
In colocated or co-located environment, you have to purchase your own server and house it at a hosting service provider’s location. While in all other cases, you are the tenant of a server, in the present case you are the owner. Colocation hosting is similar to having a dedicated server, except that you own the hardware. You’re responsible for your own server software, data storage, backup procedures as well as security.
An advantage of this type of hosting service is you have full control of the web server. You can install any scripts or applications you need. In a collocated environment you are the real owner of the server. Since it’s your own server, you can do whatever you like without restriction, including upgrading the hardware
In a collocated setup, your responsibility is far higher than any other type. . If hardware fails, you’re responsible for replacing it and getting the server back up. The web hosting service provider will only provide you additional technical support.
Colocated hosting may be more expensive than other forms of web hosting, especially in the investment in hardware and management. The cost can fluctuate wildly as it is generally connected with the amount of data traffic.
Who Should Prefer It?
It is suitable for big businesses with multiple websites, heavy traffic and adequate fund to invest
Self Service Hosting
As the name implies, this is a self-controlled form of hosting. It’s a little different from the colocation hosting. You have to buy your server, install the software, ensure backups, and provide a cooling facility, and so on. You require your own data center, space, hardware, software, staff, and everything. It’s pretty much like having your own dedicated server.
The obvious advantage of the self service web hosting is that you don’t need to depend on any other company to host and look after your websites. Everything is under your own control.
You need lots of investment and expenditure in terms of infrastructure, resources, management and staffing.
Who Should Prefer It?
If you are the owner of a massive website and generating huge amount of revenue like the giant Amazon, you can go for self service hosting and otherwise not.
Choosing OS of Server
On the basis of operating system (OS) of the server, there are two types of hosting, viz., Linux hosting and Windows hosting. There’s no big difference between the two, both perform equally. However, on the basis of scripts and database languages, both are different.
If you need special Windows languages such as ASP, VBScript or MSSQL, you have to choose Windows hosting. Windows also make it possible to execute conception framework, such as, .NET or SharePoint.
Linux server is more popular than the Windows server. It’s because, Linux is cheaper, supports most of the popular development tools, and easier to configure. If you want to use PHP, Perl, or MySQL, Linux is the OS of choice because it’s well-suited for blogs, content management systems, online stores, and forums. Almost all shared hosting service providers use Linux.
Managed Hosting Vs Non-managed Hosting
While you choose a managed hosting type, the hosting company takes a lot of burdens off from your shoulder. This type of package comes with various services such as automated backups, malware scanning and removal, status monitoring, security sweeps, and more. These additional features are management services. In other words, managed hosting refers to a hosting plan that comes with a number of additional benefits or services. While an non-managed hosting plan lacks this type of service.
How to Choose a Hosting Plan
Web hosting service providers offer varied plans in different price ranges. Prices depend upon the type of web hosting, included features and additional services.
The most basic plan comes with a free tag. It means you don’t need to pay for it. With a free hosting plan, in fact, you are not building your own website, rather creating some pages on the service provider’s website. For example WordPress allows you to build a free blog with a subdomain, such as, your_name.wordpress.com. In this case, you are just adding pages to the website of WordPress without your brand identity. Your website with published with brand tag and advertisement of the service provider. Only if you will be willing to pay, you can use your own domain and have your website. For professional and business purposes, free hosting or website plans should be best avoided. But, if you are just a hobby blogger and don’t have any future plan to monetize your website or blog, you can go for a free offer. While choosing a web hosting plan, you should consider the following factors:
- How many bugs you can spend annually?
- What’s your technical skill level in building a website?
- How much time you can spend on your website?
- Which type of website you are going to build?
- How much traffic do you expect?
- What’s your goal?
Let’s take few examples.
Let me assume that you can spend up to $50 annually, but you lack the technical skills to build and design your website. You want to showcase your small business on the internet for annually approximately 50,000 traffic, but you can’t give much time to look after the complex issues of your website due to your other responsibilities in your business. In such a case, you should better prefer a web site builder plan.
A website builder plan comes with hosted features with hundreds of design templates that you don’t need to bother about hosting, resolving issues, and coding. Easy drag and drop tools with many exciting features so that you can completely enjoy your web building exercise. The limitations of a website builder don’t necessarily affect your goal and traffic.
Your budget is not high, you expect your traffic will grow as time goes and you possess some skills in building a website, then you can consider for a shared Linux hosting plan. Shared Linux hosting is suitable for all beginners with the little bent of technical know-how. Linux hosting is cheap, stable, and flexible. You can upgrade your shared hosting to VPS, dedicated or cloud hosting at any time. It’s a good idea to start with the lowest tier.
If you are a niche blogger and want to monetize your website with the gradually growing popularity of your blog, it’s advisable that you should go for a managed WordPress plan. The term ‘managed’ refers that installation, back-up, updates, security, and few other features that are managed by the service provider. WordPress is the most powerful free software for blogs. You just need to register a domain, purchase a managed hosting plan and install WordPress in a single click. You may install any from thousands of free or paid themes, plug-ins and tools. Starting from a lowest tier, you can upgrade your plan at any time. Depending upon your budget you may use many free services or purchase some premium plug-ins. You may start a professional WordPress website at monthly cost of approximate $5.
If you are not sure yet or thinking of some other goal, let our team do everything for you, starting from planning, hosting and website building up to maintenance. We guarantee lowest pricing, best services and 100% security.
If you are planning for a mega project like Amazon or Google, you should have a highly skilled and efficient team of your own.