Web Hosting Explained – Beginner’s Guide to Websites

These are exciting times where people can survive without food but they can’t without internet. Internet is becoming the basic need of youngsters all over the world. It is interesting to note here that there are over 700 million websites. According to WorldWideWebSize, the indexed web contains at least 4.8 billion pages. (as of 16th October, 2016). If you want to join this club and intending to learn how you can set up your own website, you are at the right place.

For a live website, you will need two basic things:

1. Domain name
2. Web hosting

Read: Domain Name Explained – Beginner’s Guide to Websites

In this guide, I will explain everything you need to know about web hosting.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a service that allows users to share web pages over the Internet. Web hosts are companies that provide digital space on the Internet for websites. When an individual creates a website and wants others to see it, he/she will need to publish it with a web hosting service. This is done by uploading your website files via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) on your web server to process them.

These web servers are basically computers with special software that runs 24/7 to ensure your website stays online. The web hosting companies, therefore, charge you to cover up their cost that includes electricity, hardware, maintenance, etc.

Types of Web Hosting:

There are many types of web hosting companies providing different types of services with a variety of hardware specs and features.

1. Shared Hosting

This is the most popular type of web hosting used most commonly by beginners and some medium web runners. Shared hosting is the cheapest and least reliable mode of web hosting. It is a service where one web server is shared between many customers including all resources such as memory, CPU, bandwidth and disk space. Since the server is being shared by many people, the expenses of that single server are also shared among them. Hence, it is the most cost efficient method with minimum cost.

Here are some pros and cons of Shared Web Hosting:

Pros:

– Cheaper: No need to pay for the whole server
– Easy to use: Nearly all hosting companies provide pre-configured software with most popular options
– Best for creating static websites

Cons:

Bad Neighbor syndrome: If one site consumes many resources it may affect all other sites including yours.
Security risks: If one of the websites gets hacked or infected, then there is a possibility that the other website will also be infected. For example: If there is a DDoS attack on one of the websites, then the rest of the sites will suffer too because they share the same computer.

2. Dedicated Hosting

This is the opposite of shared hosting to an extent. In dedicated hosting, you get your very own web server with all it’s resources. This gives maximum performance and a secured environment to you with complete authority, so that you can configure it as you like. You can install any software and can have as much security as you want.

Here are some pros and cons of Dedicated Web Hosting:

Pros:

– Maximum performance
– Secure environment
– Flexibility
– Full control

Cons:

– Technical knowledge is required
– You will be responsible to manage and customize the server
– More expensive

3. Cloud Hosting

The Cloud hosting utilizes a network of servers to provide the hosting environment instead of relying on a single server. Cloud hosting lies half way between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, yet has some good functionalities as well. The users still share the physical server hardware with others, but each account gets special virtualization technology, meaning dedicated resources and can be configured almost like a fully dedicated server.

Here are some pros and cons of Cloud Hosting:

Pros:

– Dedicated resources with dedicated bandwidth, CPU and memory.
– More reliable – Cloud Hosting provides faster recovery times
– Freedom to configure your server

Cons:

– Less control
– Needs a higher level of technical expertise
– A bit expensive

4. VPS Hosting

A Virtual Private Server is a virtual machine running on a real computer.  A single computer can have several VPSs, each one running its own operating system, and customers have superuser level access to that OSS instance, so they can install almost any software that runs on that OS. The VPS Hosting is often chosen by small businesses that need a customized website but cannot afford a dedicated server. The hosting software for each VPS may have a web server, an FTP, a mail server and special applications for special activities.

Here are some pros and cons of VPS Hosting:

Pros:

– Cost saving hardware
– Ability to isolate applications within one virtual server
– Increased privacy and security

Cons:

– Limited processor time, memory and disk space.
– Needs prior technical expertise

 

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