Web hosting is one of the most important aspects of building a website. However, it’s also the most underappreciated. But what does hosting a website mean exactly?
What is Web Hosting?
Hosting a website means providing the necessary technology and services to a website, making it available over the internet. Without it, your site won’t be seen or accessed by users. This works by storing your data on special computers also called servers. So when users want to see your website, they simply need to type your domain or address into their browser. Then, their computer or mobile devices connect to your server and your website’s pages are delivered to them through their servers.
You see, everything on the internet lives on a server from blog articles to podcasts, videos, online games, tweets, and even Netflix’s movies. You can access all these because a business owner or a company is paying to keep them up and running. So if you’re planning to build your website, you also need to choose a web hosting provider and pay a necessary amount to keep it accessible to your visitors.
Now, here comes the problem. Many service providers know how to host a website. Thus, making it difficult for you to find exactly what you are looking for and what your website needs. This is why in this article, we will discuss all you need to know about web hosting before you sign up with a particular service provider.
1. There are different web hosting types
When looking for a web host agency, you’ll find terms such as Shared, Dedicated, VPS, Cloud, and WordPress. These are the common web hosting types and they are very different from one another. Let’s take a closer look at all of them below:
- Shared hosting is the cheapest service available. This is why most small businesses turn to this type of hosting. Here, your site shares a server and all its resources with other websites. The downside is that since you’re sharing a server, your website can’t handle surges in traffic. So expect it to go down whenever there are too many people on your website or the other sites in your server.
- Dedicated Hosting is the most expensive type of hosting because you will have the server all to yourself. Thus, you can take advantage of its full power and have access to full storage and customization. This is perfect for large companies that expect high levels of traffic and usage. However, take note that you need to have a superb understanding of installation and management to run your website with a dedicated host.
- VPS or Virtual Private Server is the middle ground of dedicated and shared hosting. It’s similar to shared hosting as you still have to share a server. However, there will be fewer websites you’ll share resources with. Thus, you can handle traffic, have more storage, and enjoy more customization without the hefty price tag of dedicated hosting. But do note that other sites can still affect your website’s performance.
- Cloud hosting is a fairly new service that not many providers can offer. This type of hosting requires having multiple computers working together to make one giant server. So the more you need from your website the larger your cloud gets, making it ideal for constantly growing businesses.
- WordPress hosting, by its name, is a service that allows you to build your site according to WordPress’ standards and requirements.
Now, there are other types of web hosting and these are just the most common ones. Knowing the differences among these hosting services is important so you know which one best applies to your website’s needs. If you’re only starting and not expecting too much traffic, shared is your best option. On the other hand, if you’re already established and need a hosting service that can handle heavy usage and traffic, dedicated hosting is for you. Or, if you’re lacking the technical knowledge to install and manage on a web host, we recommend VPS.
2. How much does it cost to host a website?
Another thing you should know about is the cost to host a website to avoid overspending. Here’s a quick guide on the cost of web hosting services according to Website Builder Expert:
|Web Hosting Type||Average Cost per Month|
|Shared||$2.75 to $15|
|Dedicated||$80 to $730|
|VPS||$5 to $80|
|Cloud||$4.50 to $240|
|WordPress||$4.99 to $290|
3. Bandwidth is not the same as data transfer
While frequently used interchangeable, bandwidth and data transfer do not mean the same thing in web hosting. Bandwidth refers to the total amount of transferrable data at a single time. On the other hand, data transfer is the actual amount of usable data over a specific time – which is usually a month. For example, a web host can have a 5 GB bandwidth max. But depending on the hosting plan you choose, your site may only be allowed 1 GB of monthly data transfers.
Knowing your website’s data limitations is a must before signing up with a web host. This is to avoid getting your site slowed down by your host or getting charged with penalties when you exceed your allotted monthly data transfers.
4. SSD and HDD
When you sign up with a web host, here are two terms you’d often encounter. For shared hosting, it’s highly likely that you’ll receive a space on a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) server. What makes an HDD-based server great is that you’ll have more storage for a cheaper price. On the other hand, as your business grows and your needs increase, you have to sign up with more powerful hosting services such as dedicated and VPS. These services will then let you choose whether or not you want to build your site on a solid-state drive (SSD).
Servers on SSD are incredibly fast storage units. However, this is still pretty expensive that’s why such servers usually carry a small amount of storage compared to that of HDDs. So don’t be surprised when you don’t see 1 TB SSD servers.
Now that you have an idea of some of the most important aspects of web hosting, you can finally choose the right provider for you. If you don’t know where to start your search, we can help you. Stowell Agency offers hosting and maintenance services in Florida. We can also guide you towards your website-building and other digital needs.
Also, if you have a website that you like to use as a basis for your site, you can check out their web host provider. Wondering how to find out what host a website is using? You can use Hosting Checker.