Web Hosting is a service which lets you publish your websites or web pages on the Internet. It connects your website(s) to the Internet so that it could be accessible by anyone from anywhere in the world. Web Hosting is also simply referred to as hosting. As you know, hosting means to host something. In this case, it means to host your website or other applications on a web host which is also called a web server.
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Web Server & Hosting
A Web Server is nothing but a physical server which is connected to the network and is able to do the things like storing the website(s) data or doing computational & processing tasks with that data. Whenever we type the URL of some website in the web browser, the domain name is translated to the IP address of the webserver by the DNS. Then the request is sent to the server via that IP address. Now the server responds back and sends the associated webpage to the URL, back to the browser, from where the actual request came. This is how the web server works. This service provided by the webserver is known as web hosting or website hosting.
Therefore, whenever we talk about web hosting, you should implicitly understand that we’re actually talking about a server which is connected to the Internet and is capable of providing several services.
Services of a Web Hosting
A Web Hosting can provide multiple features as per the specifications of the webserver. The most common services which we can expect from most of the web hosting services are briefly discussed below.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is the most common protocol used worldwide to transfer files from between a local computer server and a web server. The files of a website stored on a local computer can easily be transferred to the webserver with the help of FTP protocol. It usually works at port 21. FTP has another version, which is known as SFTP, here S referred to as Secured, therefore it becomes, Secured File Transfer Protocol. It usually works at port 22.
Websites usually have to store data in databases. Therefore, it’s necessary for a web server to provide you the facility of databases. Databases are nothing but a collection of data in a structured way so that the data can be access, updated/modified or deleted anytime in simple request procedure(s). The most popular Database, used by the web servers is MySQL.
Email accounts are the third major feature which should be included in a web hosting service. You might have seen professional email addresses like email@example.com. It’s obvious that these type of domains can not be created using services like Gmail, Yahoo by default. It can be easily created with web hosting services. Further, web hosting servers offer different types of Email protocols like IMAP or POP3 to send and receive emails.
These are the most common features of a web hosting which you’ll get in just every web hosting service. But these days, web hosting providers have much more to offer to you to beat the competition.
These additional features include, GUI (Graphical User Interface) based Control Panel, One-Click Applications Install, Database with Wizards, SSD Storage, Unlimited Bandwidth, Multiple Domains, Sub-Domains, 24/7 Support & much more.
Types of Web Hosting
There are different types of web hosting services available for different requirements of websites and applications hosting. The most common types of hosting are briefly discussed below.
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
It is the most common type of web hosting. In these multiple websites are hosted on the same server, sharing the same hardware resources. That’s it’s called a shared server. Performance is not that great in shared hosting but as we’re hosting multiple websites with common resources, it is economically cheaper than the other types of hosting. It is good for low to medium traffic websites.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. In this type of hosting, a full-fledged web server is virtualized and divided into multiple sub-server, each of which is called as a VPS. In VPS, you get some part of the server resources, but that part remains dedicated only towards you all the time, unlike shared hosting in which the resources depends upon the availability and share of usage by other sites. Therefore, VPS is better than Shared Hosting and obviously costlier than it. It is good for medium to fairly high traffic websites.
Dedicated Server Hosting
In this type of hosting, the complete full-fledged hardware server is allocated to you and this is the only type of hosting, in which you can get the maximum control over the server. This type of server is run those web application which highly resources intensive or those websites which get huge amounts of traffic volumes. As you get high resources and that too dedicated all the time, it is like renting a server for you, it is obvious, the most costly type of hosting.
This is the latest type of hosting which is widely used today. It has got the benefits of all other types of hosting. In it, you somehow, get virtualized dedicated resources with features like multiple-data storage locations, data redundancy, and super-caching power. Other hosting types are basically billed monthly and the monthly cost if fixed whether you use the webserver or not. Cloud Hosting has opened a new door of opportunities as it says, pay for what you actually use. It’s based on hourly rates.
But it has been observed that different companies have different features and technologies used for their cloud hosting fracture. Therefore, it can’t be defined exactly the same for every hosting company. But yes, one thing is sure, it has got more power than shared hosting & better flexibility than VPS Hosting.
There are also several other types of common hosting options.
- Reseller Hosting. In this type, the customer itself becomes a web host and can offer hosting options to its own clients & customers.
- Enterprise Hosting. For the requirements of huge companies, the hosting providers can offer customized hosting plans as per requirements.
WordPress is the most popular CMS and is used by almost 30% of the whole websites of the world. That’s the reason many hosting companies have started to offer specialized and optimized web hosting for WordPress. Likewise, some of the hosting companies have started to offer hosting services specialized for other popular applications like Joomla, Magento, Drupal, etc. Various user-level management features like automatic WordPress backups are included as additional services with this type of hosting.
Commons Terms Used With Web Hosting
There are a few terms which are related to hosting & you must know about them.
It is the time for which a web server is up & running on the internet. It is measured with the help of a website running on the server and defined as the time for which a website remains accessible from anywhere in the world for a given time period. Usually, it is measured for the time period of months.
If a website on the server remains live 728 hours in a month out of the total 730 hours, then the uptime will be 99.73% (728/730*100). The average good standard of uptime in the hosting industry is 99.95% or above.
It is the limit upto which a web server can take or put the data onto the network i.e. on the Internet. If a web hosting offers a bandwidth of 1 TB, then it means you can upload or download a maximum of 1 TeraByte data from the server for the given time period. After the bandwidth of the server extinct, you won’t be able to connect to the websites on the server. Usually, the bandwidths are unlimited or so high that it never extinct, but exceptions may be there.
OS & Control Panel
Most of the hosting companies offer GUI based control panel to let you manage the various services of web hosting. The most popular control panel for Linux web servers all around the world is cPanel and for Windows-based servers is Plesk. There are many more free & premium control panels available. As in the world of Personal Computers, Windows has the major share when we talk about OS (Operating Systems) but in case of web servers, Linux Operating systems like CentOS & Ubuntu keeps the major share.
Web Hosting Providers have multiple physical web servers. Those physical servers are fixed in racks and those racks are placed in a Data Center. Therefore, A Data Center is a physical location, somewhere in the world where the hosting provider keeps its physical machines or the web serves. Different companies have their data centers at different locations. Even many companies have data centers in multiple locations throughout the world. Hosting companies even give you the choice of a data center for hosting services. The reason being, nearer the data center, is to your website visitor, the faster your website will be loaded. That’s why if you are focusing on a particular country for your website audience, you should choose the hosting which offers the nearest data center to the country.
Best Web Hosting Providers
As the number of internet users is increasing day by day, more and more people are willing to create their websites and blogs. To fulfill the web hosting needs of these people, more and more web hosting companies are into the market and they are competing hard to get the spot of web hosting providers.
We’ve reviewed a lot of different Web Hosting companies on our blog, WTMatter. And as per our reviews, we found the following mentioned Web Hosting Companies to be the best.
- Hostgator (Review)
- Dreamhost (Review)
- Bluehost (Review)
- Godaddy (Review)
- Siteground (Review)
- Hostinger (Review)
- Cloudways (Review)
Web Hosting – Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most common questions related to web hosting are answered below.
Do you really need to be technical to set up a website or a blog with Web Hosting?
Not at all. These days things have been made simpler, thanks to the advancements in Information Technology. There are simple blog & website management software like WordPress available which you can install on your hosting service within a few clicks. We’ve shared a detailed tutorial for that too, which you can find out at the link given below.
How to know which type of Hosting is required to you?
This is one of the most common questions among the beginners. Choice of the type simply depends upon the use. In the case of websites & blogs, use simply means the amount of expected traffic. If you are just starting a blog, then you should go with Shared Hosting. This type of hosting is capable of handling around 10-20 visitors at a time. On average, for a basic WordPress blog, shared hosting starter plans can handle around 30,000 visitors per month. But this figure will be different for everyone as every blog or site is different in itself.
Therefore, the perfect way is hit and trial. Most of the hosting companies offer money-back guarantees of some period, mostly 30 days. Start with shared hosting, when traffic increases shift to VPS. In case you are not satisfied, switch somewhere else and get the money refunded back.
To migrate your WordPress site from one hosting to another, you can follow this guide.
If you still have any questions about Web Hosting, please feel free to ask us via the comments section.