Web hosting is one piece of the puzzle that is your online web presence. When we get this question, we find it helpful to use the ‘house’ analogy. Think of your domain name (example.com) as your home or business street address. Your website, then, is the home or brick-and-mortar building. Finally, your hosting is the plot of land where that home or building live. Let’s expand on this a bit!
Table of Contents
- Web Hosting Providers
- Benefits of a Hosting Provider
- Web Hosting Types
- Which Option is Best for Me?
Web Hosting Providers
Web hosting providers offer an internet hosting service that hosts websites or web applications on their infrastructure. They also provide the resources needed to build and maintain those websites or applications. Such capabilities include storing the files and data that comprise a website and making those files accessible to internet browsers for the purpose of displaying the site.
Another resource web hosts can offer is the ability to install top-shelf applications, such as WordPress, on their server infrastructure for you to start using. Essentially, hosting providers are responsible for maintaining stable, performant, and secure data storage spaces that hold the files necessary for your site to work properly.
First, a space is logically allocated for each website. If you read our previous post, you’ll know that each website is uniquely identifiable by its domain name. Once a domain’s DNS (domain name system) settings have been updated to point to the IP address of your new hosting space, the site can be accessed by any internet browser.
Benefits of a Hosting Provider
Running your business is already stressful and challenging enough without throwing building and managing a website into the mix. Leave that portion of running your business to a hosting provider. Depending on the hosting plan you purchase, a web host will give you peace of mind by offering nightly site backups, maintenance plans, proactive threat blocking, the capacity for high-traffic sites as your business grows, and top-notch security.
Web Hosting Types
Web hosting comes in a vast variety of formats. The most common types include shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS (virtual private server) hosting, cloud hosting, and managed hosting.
Shared hosting is by far the least expensive option in terms of hosting your site. It’s a commonly chosen option for new or smaller websites that don’t necessarily experience high web traffic. Due to its cost effective nature, loads and loads of websites, sometimes thousands, will share the same single hosting space on a server. This means each website is sharing all the resources and bandwidth of that hosting space. Therefore, if one website sees a surge in traffic, all resources have now been allocated to that single site, causing the remaining sites to either slow down or crash.
Dedicated hosting is a top-tier hosting option that allows you to lease an entire private server, or servers, giving you exclusive access to its powerful hardware and full control over its configuration. This means the hosting provider handles the resources and maintenance of the hardware itself, while the site owner is free to install any applications needed and is responsible for maintaining the website. A huge benefit of dedicated hosting is that you’re not sharing that server with anyone else. As a result, your site will be highly performant and quick to load while receiving the highest level of security.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
VPS hosting is a well-suited option for sites that have outgrown shared hosting but are still not at the growth point where they need a dedicated server. A set up from shared hosting, the portion of the shared server you lease is closed off and virtually separated from other sites, reserving that partitioned space just for you. Thus, you won’t have to worry about a surge in traffic on another site slowing yours down or potentially being infected by a neighboring site’s virus. However, with an increase in security benefits also comes a higher price tag than that of shared hosting.
Rather than having a virtual server stored in one computer or piece of hardware, cloud hosting is disbursed over an entire network that makes up the “cloud”. Think of multiple, allocated VPSs. “The Cloud” is something you may not be new to. Think of how Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box operate – an online space that houses your files. Cloud hosting operates very similarly. A site on a cloud server will experience nearly zero downtime and is very easily scalable. Operation giants, like Netflix, rely on cloud hosting to efficiently run their operations, just to give you an idea of its power.
Managed hosting is a form of shared hosting best fit for site owners who’d rather have someone else maintain their site for them. With this option, professional setup and ongoing site maintenance is included and performed by a dedicated team, making this a worry-free option for those interested in deferring site management tasks. Managed hosting aims to make your life easier, keeping you focused on your business, while your dedicated support team manages all your site updates and security fixes. Some hosting providers offer managed hosting services for specific platforms, like WordPress.
Which Option is Best for Me?
When choosing your web hosting partner, ensure you choose a plan that caters to the specific needs and goals of your site and business. Some essential factors to keep in mind or discuss with a potential web host include:
- knowing the type of website you have, or plan to have
- if the web host provides access to the possible applications you might need, like WordPress
- knowing what your budget is
- the expected traffic your site might experience over time
- their percentage of uptime
- their level of security and monitoring
Do your due diligence and choose a hosting provider that will partner with you and your business while keeping your data secure and can offer seamless scalability as your business grows. Partner with Peasy today!