Many people have heard or read about web hosting, but aren’t sure exactly what it is. In this article, we will discuss the various aspects of web hosting, and refer you to a useful web hosting infographic to make everything clearer graphically!
You can see the infographic here: http://www.100webhosting.com/introduction-to-web-hosting-infographic/. Do click on the infographic to view it in its full resolution completely.
The Internet and the World Wide Web
Before we discuss websites and web hosting, it’s worth making a few comments about the internet and the World Wide Web (WWW). The internet is the sum of computer networks, which includes public, private, corporate, governmental and academic, that share information with each other. The World Wide Web refers to the many websites that exist on the internet.
Web Hosting: A Simple Definition
The simplest explanation of web hosting is that it’s a service that makes a website available to people who have internet access. When you go online and browse various websites, each site you visit has web hosting of some kind.
Websites run on servers, which are up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Servers are computers that store large amounts of information.
Unlike a conventional business, which is open for certain hours and closed for others, a website is meant to be online 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
There are many companies and even private individuals who offer web hosting. While the better known web hosting companies are very popular, many web hosts are small operations run out of people’s basements and small offices.
Web hosting also comes in many forms, which we will take a look at next.
Different Types of Web Hosting
If you are looking for a web hosting plan, you have to choose the kind that will be suitable for you. As you can see in the web hosting infographic designed by 100webhosting.com, you have a few choices on the web hosting types.
Shared Web Hosting
This is the most common hosting type, at least for individuals and small businesses. It’s also the least expensive, usually costing around $5 per month or less. When you get shared hosting, you are sharing the server with other users.
As the infographic illustrates, having shared hosting is like living in an apartment building as opposed to owning your own home. You are sharing many facilities with 0ther people. This keeps the costs down, but it also means you are limited in some ways.
For example, with shared hosting you are dependent on one server for reliable and secure hosting. If there’s a problem with the server, it will slow down every site that shares it, including yours!
With shared hosting, you don’t have root access in case you want to make changes to customize your site. This isn’t a problem for beginners, but at some point you may want to upgrade your hosting. Fortunately, most web hosting companies make it easy to upgrade to more advanced plans when the need for this arises.
Virtual Private Server
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a more advanced type of hosting. If shared hosting is like living in an apartment house, having a VPS is more like a townhouse where you have more privacy yet you are still sharing the building with your neighboring houses.
With a VPS, you are using a partitioned server with a section that is your own. So it is not literally your own server, but for all practical purposes you have a part of it to yourself. This makes VPS hosting more expensive than shared hosting, but less costly than having a dedicated server.
The advantages of VPS hosting are that you have administrative access to your hosting account, so you have more power to customize your site the way you want it.
The main disadvantage to this type of hosting, aside from the cost, is that you are still sharing hardware assets with other users on the server.
Continuing the analogy with a living situation, having a dedicated server is like having your own private, detached home. In this case, you have an entire server to yourself, and you are not sharing any resources with other clients.
While this option gives you the most privacy, security and administrative powers it also means you need a lot of technical know-how to take advantage of this (or you have to pay someone who can run the server for you). The other downside is that this is the costliest type of web hosting!
Still another alternative that is becoming popular today is cloud hosting. This type of hosting has many of the advantages of a dedicated server or VPS at a lower cost. Cloud hosting uses the resources of a group of clustered servers.
It is more secure than shared hosting, and also more reliable. Clouds also make it possible to accommodate changes in data, traffic and other resources you require. Cloud hosting is the newest type of hosting, and not all web hosts offer it. Yet it’s worth looking into if you want a flexible and secure type of hosting.
Choosing the Right Web Hosting For You
There are many choices available when it comes to web hosting. I hope the above explanation and awesome infographic from 100webhosting.com have given you a general idea of what you can expect from the most popular types of web hosting.
If you are starting a new site, you may want to start with an inexpensive shared hosting plan. You can always upgrade your plan later on if your site grows or gets busier.
On the other hand, if you are starting off a business or website with ambitious plans, you may want to start right away with VPS, cloud hosting or a dedicated server. You have to choose the web hosting plan that’s appropriate for your needs.