If you need to have a website up, you will need to get web hosting services. Find out more.
- by Antoniy Yushkevych
- in Web Hosting
So you want to get your website up and running but do not know how? The go-to solution for most websites is web hosting. Today we will find out more about what it is exactly and why it is more efficient than having a server on-premises.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is what allows websites to become viewable on the internet. The files that make up your website can exist independently. They’re only accessible to the masses if you put them on a server that is properly connected.
To use an analogy, think of web hosting as a home. Your website and its files are the stuff that goes in the home. They’re safe and accessible by virtue of being someplace that everyone can access
Web hosting makes use of servers, as we mentioned. These servers store information about a website. Then they make it available to those who want to access it via a web browser.
Since most people or even businesses don’t have servers of their own, they rent out server space from a third-party web hosting company.
A server is a physical computer that runs 24/7, so your site’s files can always be accessed without interruption in service. These servers are loaded with the necessary hardware and software (Hosting Conrol Panels) that your website needs to function.
Your web host is responsible for things like server maintenance, security, and running the right software, so the files on the server can be readily accessed by a website browser, like Google Chrome or Firefox.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
Your website is just a collection of different files. When you create a website you need a place to store all of these files. That place is your hosting company’s server.
On this server, you’ll store your website’s media, files, databases, and anything else required to properly render your website. Exactly how much storage you have will depend on the hosting plan you choose (more on this below).
If you’re just getting started online, then you’ll probably just be renting a portion of a server that you’re sharing with other websites. As your storage and traffic needs increase, then you may need to scale up to renting an entire physical server—or at least using the resources of one, with a cloud or VPS server.
When you sign up for a web hosting package you’ll usually get access to the server via a solution like cPanel. This makes it easy to upload your files to the server. Or, you can install a CMS like WordPress to easily build out your site.
In order to have a fully functioning website, you’ll also need to register a domain name. Once you purchase this you’ll point it towards your server, which lets the web browser know that this is where your files are located.
Then, when a person types in your domain name or clicks on a link to your site, the web browser gets the files from the server and displays them for the viewer. All of this should happen in a few seconds or less. If this process takes too long, then you either need to speed up your website or consider switching hosts entirely.
Web Hosting and Datacenters
Web hosting and datacenters get confused a lot. They’re kind of the same thing. But, technically, they’re different. The term web hosting refers to the service you pay for that hosts your website’s files, so they can be displayed on the internet.
The most crucial element of a datacenter is the network of servers. A server is actually kind of similar to the desktop computer you might have sitting on your desk, only they’re more powerful.
The term “datacenter” refers to the actual technical infrastructure used by the hosting company to provide the hosting service. Beyond servers, this will typically include things like backup supplies, security measures, connection devices, air-cooling systems, and a lot more.
What are the different types of web hosting?
There are multiple types of web hosting you can choose from when uploading a website to the internet.
Many sites share one server and its resources in this setup. It’s a much better way to go than free hosting, though. There is a cost, which is low, but many advantages that come with the shared model.
The primary benefit is the low cost. Expenditures for running the server are spread among the many websites that reside on the server. Shared hosting can be as low as $4.00/month, depending on which service you decide to use.
Shared hosting alleviates you of the responsibility of having to run the server yourself. All you have to do is build and manage your site. The hosting service will handle the administration and technical issues.
Since many sites are sharing the server, the technical support you receive may actually come quicker than using a dedicated host. This is because a problem that can affect one site on the server can spread to others.
Your hosting service does not want to deal with a bunch of pissed off customers if they can avoid it. If something goes wrong, they’re moving right into high gear to find a solution.
Of course, this also means that if something goes wrong with another site, it does have the potential to wreck yours too. This is just one of the downsides of shared hosting.
There’s also the fact that shared resources can slow you down. Your website may run sluggish because some other site is getting swamped. On top of that, you have very little control over the grand scheme of things.
The choice of software, applications, etc. is out of your hands. The hosting service is the big boss, and you’ve just got to ride the waves or find yourself a new host if you’re dissatisfied.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
This why some sites opt for a VPS. It’s like having your own server without actually having your own server. True, there are multiple sites on the server. They are, however, partitioned so that each one has its own operating system, disc space, and bandwidth.
This provides a greater degree of individual control, including root access, without the expense required for a dedicated host. There are advantages to using this type of hosting that go beyond cost, though.
You can set up a VPS faster than a dedicated host. You can “scale up” your resources if you need to accommodate the growth of your site. You also get the support and commitment from your host that you would with a shared server. It’s like having a bit of both worlds.
The main drawback is that you still don’t have the same amount of power that a dedicated server would provide. You can still experience limitations if another site on the server is drawing too much CPU power.
If the hosting service hasn’t allocated resources to each site properly, you could be in for some weird service fluctuations that you wouldn’t get with your dedicated host.
Dedicated Server Hosting
This is where you go “all-in.” You get the entire server to yourself, and it’s yours to play with as you please. You get the maximum level of power. The maximum level of flexibility and control. You can shoulder large amounts of traffic and gain a higher level of stability.
You also have to shoulder all the costs. Dedicated servers will require more overhead and a greater investment of time and money. Having a dedicated server is more complicated, and if something goes wrong, it’s all on you, so to speak.
Still, if you’re going to go all out for your website, this is the way to do it. Many find the reliability, power, and incredible uptime well worth the expense.