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What Is Web Hosting and How Does it Work?

The internet is a vast and widespread force, but many still don’t know even the basics of how a website works and how it’s “stored.” This guide will take you through what website hosting is and how it works, breaking down the different components of the process and giving you multiple definitions and information along the way.

  • Web hosting refers to the process of renting or buying space to host a website
  • There are three main types of web hosts: shared, VPN, and dedicated
  • Web hosting is either free or paid, depending on your businesses’ needs

What Is Website Hosting?

In short, website hosting is the process of renting or buying space in order to “construct and store” a website on the internet. Every part of a website, including its HTML, CSS, images, and videos, must be stored in a server so people can visit websites and browse around their pages. A server is a computer which connects users to your site from anywhere in the world.

Servers are usually stored in centralized locations in extremely secure and precise sites so as not to be interfered with. Anyone who wants to create a website must find a reliable server to host the site before it can officially be created.

This is not too difficult, as there are hundreds of web hosts available which provide thousands of different services. These can be paid for or used for free with a limited range of features and storage, so it’s important to know your budget before you choose a web host.

Types Of Web Hosting

Servers have a limited number of resources in limited amounts, including RAM, hard drive space, and bandwidth. These resources are divvied up to the different sites which user the server to exist. Choosing different web host services should be done after you know how many resources from the server you’ll need and how much you’re willing to spend on such resources, as there are three different web hosting types with three varying degrees and features and functions.

1. Shared Hosting. Shared hosting is best for small scale businesses because it offers a limited amount of space and resources. Under shared hosting, your company will share your sever with a number of other companies, meaning the server will not offer as much speed or as many features as larger companies will need for their websites.

2. Virtual Private Servers. A virtual private server, or VPS, offers an upgrade from shared hosting. These servers allow users to be isolated from each other and remain private, increasing speed and quality. You can customize this server to your liking and rearrange certain features until you’re satisfied with the way the server operates.

3. Dedicated Servers. This is the most expensive option, but it’s also the most comfortable and well-maintained. This option is usually reserved for fairly large websites who desperately need optimum performance and high-quality server functions day in and day out. You control this server entirely and have much more storage in this option than the other two, but it’s only worth investing in if you absolutely need all the space.

Choosing A Web Host

There are many factors you should consider when choosing which web host will work best for your company, but the primary factor, for many companies, is cost. There are free web hosts you can choose, but these are free for a reason: you’ll have limited access to bandwidth allowance which will limit the number of visitors you site can comfortably host per day.

Many free web hosts also require you to host advertising of some kind to help pay for the costs of their hosting job. If your company is quite small and just starting off, this option may still be worth it for you.

Choosing the latest and greatest server won’t do you any good if you can’t adequately use all the space, and costs will add up fast. You can always upgrade later if you need more room or if you believe the extra quality is worth the extra payments.

Paid Web Hosts

As you might expect, the more money you pay for your web host, the more traffic the host will allow and the easier it will be to manage with a large of amount of traffic over a longer period of time. Paid web hosts provide a greater comfort in reliability; your site will almost never be down for maintenance or other reasons, and when it is, the host will be working around the clock to rehost it as quickly as possible.

More money also means greater access to basic website features like video and images. Without the proper host, these elements can take up too much space, bogging down load times on your site, but this generally won’t be a problem when paying for a web host. You’ll also receive what’s called a “control panel” which allows you to manage your website hosting for yourself. For example, you can perform simple and quick everyday maintenance, avoiding the time-consuming hassle of tech support.

Other Options

Finally, there are two more types of hosting which have become more popular in recent years: cloud hosting and reseller hosting.

Cloud hosting is a service which operates across many web servers and offers affordable, scalable, and reliable web infrastructure. This is a great and cost-effective method for hosting sites with a large number of content assets like images and videos.

Reseller hosting is when the buyer of the web hosting sells to third parties, giving them the remaining space on their server. This is a good method to use if your company has more space on the server than needed but you still like the quality and service.

Final Thought

Web hosting can be a complicated process to wrap your head around, but it’s really quite simple. You should familiarize yourself with the types of web hosting and the costs associated with them to determine which is right for your company.

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