What exactly is web hosting and how to choose the best hosting provider?Visual Media Factory
Web hosting is a service that allows you to access your website or web application over the internet. It’s also one of the most important aspects to think about when creating a website. Web hosting is typically provided by web hosts, which are companies that maintain, configure, and run physical servers on which websites are hosted.
When you buy a hosting plan from a web hosting company, you are renting server space to store your website’s data, such as HTML and CSS files, media content, and other documents. While web hosting may appear to be a complex subject, this article will help you better understand its concepts and intricacies.
We’ll begin by looking at how web hosting works in more detail. Then we’ll go over some of the most common types of web hosting and what to look for in a web hosting service.
How does web hosting work?
Web hosting is provided by web hosts who rent out their computing servers, as previously stated. These businesses also provide the software, services, and connectivity required to launch a website. A server is a computer that stores and distributes your web files over the internet.
Although any computer connected to the internet can be used as a server, most users will find the configuration process to be difficult. That is why, rather than having an in-house dedicated server, many website owners and businesses prefer to use a web host’s server space. However, purchasing website hosting alone will not make your site accessible to visitors. You’ll need a domain name in order for people to find your website.
Domain hosting refers to the hosting and management of domain names. Domain hosts, also known as domain name registrars, provide it. The address of your website is determined by the domain name. To visit a website, users type the domain name into the address bar of their web browser.
Domain name system (DNS) records are used by domain hosts to connect your domain to your site’s internet protocol (IP) address – a unique address assigned to a physical server that looks something like this: 126.96.36.199.
IP addresses are used by computers to identify each other online, but remembering and using these numbers to access a website is difficult for humans. People can load a website in their browser without knowing its associated IP address thanks to DNS.
A domain name, in addition to serving as a website address, can also be used to support a site’s branding – it’s the first thing people see when they visit a website. As a result, it’s critical to devote some time to selecting a domain name that is appropriate for your project or business.
Here are some suggestions for selecting a website’s domain name:
- Choose a short, easy-to-remember name.
- Ascertain that a domain is simple to spell and pronounce.
- Use a well-known top-level domain (TLD) such as .com.
- Don’t use hyphens and numbers.
- To get more domain name ideas, use domain name generators.
Web hosts that also provide domain registration services, such as Cloudways, Contabo, Hostinger, and GoDaddy, can also sell you a domain name. You can use the ICANN or WHOIS search tools to look up already registered domains. You can manage both services under one account if you buy a domain name from your web hosting company. As a result, there’s no need to be concerned about changing your domain’s nameserver settings.
Why is a good web hosting provider important?
Web hosting companies are responsible for maintaining and keeping their servers up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure that the websites they host perform well. Having a site with excellent uptime can help online business owners increase sales and improve user experience. Using a good web hosting service can also help a site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The web host you choose can have an impact on the speed of your site, which is one of the most important factors in how search engines like Google rank web pages.
Purchasing a web hosting plan is also more cost-effective than having an in-house dedicated server because website owners will save time and money by not having to maintain physical hardware or hire a developer. Many web hosting companies also provide an easy-to-use control panel. Website owners can use this tool to easily manage their site and hosting service, as well as manage domain names, install applications, and upload website files.
Different Types of Web Hosting
Shared, VPS, cloud, reseller, WordPress, and dedicated hosting are among the various types of hosting services available. Each hosting type caters to different needs, and which one you choose will be determined by a number of factors including the type of site you have, your technical knowledge, and your budget. Let’s look at an overview of the most common hosting types to see which one is the best fit for your website.
Shared hosting is a type of hosting in which multiple websites are hosted on a single computing server. This service is a popular choice for new websites because it typically provides cost-effective hosting solutions that are also relatively simple to use. The number of websites that can be hosted on a single shared server can range from dozens to hundreds. These websites have access to the same server resources, such as disk space, random access memory (RAM), and CPU power.
Users will share the same main directory – a folder where web content and other files are stored – but they won’t be able to see each other’s data because they don’t have root access to the server. However, without root access, a website owner will be unable to perform certain tasks, such as modifying server-wide configuration files or installing software required for a specific project.
A site builder, databases, FTP accounts, and other additional tools provided by the web hosting provider are usually included in a shared hosting solution.
In addition, shared web hosting providers will manage your server configuration and tasks such as software updates and security tools. This allows you to concentrate on developing and growing your site rather than on keeping it up to date. Setting up this type of hosting is simple and straightforward, so getting started won’t take long.
Website owners can use this service to install and host multiple sites on a single account, which is ideal for managing multiple site projects. The number of websites they can manage on each account, on the other hand, is determined by the web hosting service provider and plan they select.
Reasons to consider a shared web hosting service include:
- Low upkeep – the web host will handle basic server maintenance and monitoring so that website owners don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of hosting.
- Cost-effective – because multiple users share a single web server’s resources, server maintenance fees will be evenly distributed. That is why the majority of shared hosting plans are inexpensive.
- Support dynamic websites – to create dynamic websites, a shared web server can run programming languages like PHP, Perl, and Python. eCommerce stores and social media platforms are two examples of dynamic websites.
Before purchasing a shared hosting plan, there are a few disadvantages to consider, such as:
- Vulnerable to security issues – when using this type of hosting, website owners will share both resources and vulnerabilities to hacking attempts. If a hacker takes down a server, all websites hosted on that server will be impacted.
- Unstable site performance – high traffic surges on other websites you share a server with can also cause your site to slow down.
If you want to start a blog or a small business website, this is the hosting option for you. This service is typically offered at a low cost and is very user-friendly.
VPS hosting is a type of web hosting service that allows multiple accounts to share a single server while providing dedicated resources to each user. Website owners can install their own operating system (OS) and software on a VPS. This is due to the fact that VPS hosting providers use a hypervisor to create a virtual layer on top of their server’s operating system, dividing the server into multiple partitions.
VPS hosting comes in two forms: unmanaged and managed.
When you use an unmanaged VPS, you are in charge of configuring and maintaining the server yourself. You’ll also need to monitor security threats, install and upgrade software, and back up services, among other things. If you want to create a WordPress website, for example, you’ll need to install server-side technologies like Apache or LiteSpeed.
Unmanaged VPS is a good choice for web developers or website owners with a technical background because it requires users to run and maintain a server themselves.
A managed VPS plan will be more beneficial for those with no technical knowledge because the web host will be the one who maintains and keeps the virtual server running. Managed VPS plans, on the other hand, are usually more expensive than unmanaged VPS plans. If you want a more reliable service than shared web hosting, regardless of the VPS hosting type, consider this service.
The performance of your website will not be harmed by the activities of other users on the same server when you use VPS hosting. Users will not compete for computing power because each account will have its own server space and storage.
Here are some more reasons why you should use a VPS:
- Users will have root access, which means they will be able to modify the server and install any software that suits their hosting needs.
- Highly scalable – a VPS web hosting plan can easily be scaled up and down without affecting the server’s functionality.
- Secure – website owners have more control over their server’s security, including the ability to install additional security tools and firewalls. Using a VPS also reduces the risk of a site being hacked by someone attempting to hack into another user’s account on the same server.
Before purchasing a VPS hosting plan, you should think about the following disadvantages:
- More expensive – This service is more expensive than shared hosting because it provides better performance and greater control over your resource limits.
- Technical knowledge is required – managing a VPS is more complex than managing a shared hosting account, and it necessitates a technical understanding of server management and command lines.
- VPS hosting is a great option for those who want complete control over their server environment and don’t want to rely on other people.
If you want to use a VPS but lack technical expertise, consider hiring a developer to keep your website up and running.
Cloud hosting is a type of hosting that makes use of multiple web servers to ensure maximum uptime and performance. This service provides superior availability when compared to other types of web hosting plans because it is capable of distributing web files across multiple virtual servers. Cloud web hosting also handles traffic surges much better by utilizing untapped resources on other web servers.
Many cloud web hosting services offer simple server management, allowing users to quickly scale and monitor hosting metrics like data transfer, disk usage, and CPU utilization.
There are numerous benefits to using cloud hosting, including:
- When using a dedicated server, your website can go down immediately if there is a sudden increase in traffic, a hacking attempt, or a hardware failure. When you use cloud hosting, however, if one of your physical servers goes down, another one will automatically take over and keep your website up and running.
- Backup and disaster recovery – cloud web hosting can back up web files automatically, reducing the risk of data loss.
- Scalable – without being constrained by physical hardware, this service can expand your resources to meet your current needs.
There are some disadvantages to cloud web hosting to consider:
- Cloud hosting plans are more expensive than shared and VPS web hosting plans. Many web hosts provide low-cost cloud hosting plans.
- Confusing prices – some cloud web hosting service providers allow customers to pay only for the resources they actually use. However, this makes estimating the true costs of using this service difficult.
- Cloud hosting is a good choice for medium to large businesses that require a lot of performance, bandwidth, and uptime.
This service is also beneficial for website owners who experience high traffic volumes, which cause their sites to slow down.
What to look for in a web hosting service?
It’s also critical to look for a web host that offers the best features for your site before purchasing any of the hosting services. Here are the most important factors to consider when selecting a website hosting provider:
Site speed has an impact on user experience; approximately 40% of visitors expect a website to load in less than three seconds and will leave if it takes longer. Choose hosting companies that provide fast servers, as this will help your website load faster. Also, look for hosting companies that have data centers near your visitors, as this will help your web pages load faster for them. To determine how distance affects loading speed, use tools like GCP Ping.
Choose a dependable web host that offers an uptime guarantee, which guarantees that your site will be accessible for a certain percentage of the time. Many web hosting companies claim to have a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Also, look for a hosting provider that offers uptime monitoring tools that can notify website owners if there is a problem.
To keep their websites safe, site owners should choose a web host that offers the necessary security features. Keep in mind that the security tools you’ll need will differ depending on the type of website you have. For example, if you create a WordPress site, having a spam prevention tool to remove unwanted comments from your page can be beneficial. To protect data and visitors’ personal information, make sure your hosting service provider offers SSL certificates.
To improve its functionality, a website may require additional tools or services. As a result, look for a web host that provides a variety of add-ons, such as antivirus software, email accounts, content delivery networks (CDN) like Cloudflare, and additional bandwidth and storage.
If you’re a beginner with no prior web development experience, look for a hosting service that offers 24/7 support. When a technical problem arises, website owners can seek assistance from experts. In addition, a web host should provide an extensive knowledge base or educational blog to assist users in learning about various web-related topics.
Remember that hosting is an ongoing expense, so take the time to find a service that gives you the best bang for your buck. If you’re still on the fence about buying a hosting service, look for one that offers a money-back guarantee. This allows you to evaluate the web host’s performance and request a refund if you are unhappy with the service. Your web hosting provider should also provide room for expansion, allowing you to upgrade to a plan with more resources without affecting the performance of your site.
Because there are so many web hosting companies to choose from, look for one that offers fast servers, an uptime guarantee, security tools, a variety of add-ons, 24/7 support, and reasonable prices. We hope that this article has provided you with a better understanding of web hosting and why you need it.