Before knowing about “what is web hosting” you must understand that web hosting is a service that is mandatory for anyone with a website. Whether you are a small, medium or large business, availing the facilities provided by a web hosting service is extremely essential. Such facilities may grant you greater control, customization, accessibility, reliability, technical support, and many other features. In this article, we will discuss what is web hosting and understand the different types of web hosting available that will help you make an informed decision. Also, we will compare between free web hosting vs paid web hosting so that you make careful judgments without compromising the experiential quality of the services.
So, without any further delay let us dive into the main topic!
What is Web Hosting?
In simple terms, web hosting is a service that enables an individual or an organization to build a website on the World Wide Web. Technically, web hosting is allocating space on a web server to house a website for the storage of files. These files may include HTML, code, images, CSS stylesheets etc which is viewable through the website via a web browser.
Web server is a computer or a physical space where the contents of the website reside. To have access to the web server, one must have an internet connection. A user is connected to the web server when they are visiting a website.
Web hosting providers provide web hosting services to cater to small blogs, websites or large businesses. This means that the providers rent you space on the web server for your utilization. Additionally, the service should be a secure one so that you stay away from data theft or breach of any kind. It is also the duty of the web hosting service providers to ensure that the servers don’t crash midway thereby providing you with a seamless experience.
Types of Web Hosting and Their Differences
A novice website owner or a beginner might think that all web hosting services are similar. This is totally the opposite as web hosting can be broadly categorized into five types based on the amount of space allotted or the server’s resources, the technology used, management, customization, and other services. These web hosting services are both available in free as well as paid versions.
So, let us read about the five types of web hosting or the different examples of Web hosting and also know their differences:
- Shared hosting means sharing the same server for your website with other websites. The user also shares memory, processing power and space. It is the cheapest option among other web hosting categories.
- Shared hosting is best suited for small or medium personal websites and businesses.
- There is very less configuration and bandwidth involved on the part of the user. Large commercial organizations must not opt for shared hosting as the traffic is intense and going for otherwise will negatively affect the website performance.
- Another advantage of shared hosting is that it doesn’t require any maintenance on the part of the user. The disadvantages of shared hosting is that it cannot be configured as per will and not ideal for large businesses.
Virtual Private Server
- Virtual Private Server or VPS comes between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. This means VPS is better than shared hosting but is less valuable than dedicated hosting.
- It is also known as Virtual Dedicated Server because it acts as a dedicated server to each website present although it is offering services to countless other websites. Medium-sized businesses can exploit Virtual Private Server for their website needs.
- VPS partially acts as a dedicated server at an affordable rate.
- The advantages of VPS include freedom to configurate, lots of space, affordable than dedicated hosting and also flexible.
- The disadvantages of VPS include unused space, requirement of a developer for management and increased overall expenses.
- Dedicated hosting provides different servers for each website. It is expensive when compared with shared hosting services.
- Dedicated Hosting is particularly suitable where there is more traffic and is therefore ideal for big businesses.
- The advantages of a dedicated hosting include complete control over web server, software and security system. Moreover, it allows greater self-service facilities, is reliable and flexible
- It may require technical expertise for management.
- Cloud hosting is the latest hosting version that is quite popular in the market
- In cloud hosting, the virtual web servers are interconnected with one another that provides a better functioning web infrastructure. In other words, if one server is busy, the other takes over maintaining a consistent flow in its operations.
- The advantages of cloud hosting include reliable bandwidth and plentiful disk spaces for unlimited domains. Large businesses opt for cloud hosting services to manage the traffic or the resource-intensive applications of a website.
- There is minimum chance of downtime and hardware failure. The disadvantage of cloud hosting is that it is expensive and root access may be denied.
- Reseller hosting means the user will be providing his own drive space, CPU and bandwidth for hosting his website and sharing it with others.Thus, the user becomes a reseller who will earn some income because of sharing the facilities.
- Reseller hosting enables the user to have his own allotted space which is a major save up on additional space. It is like your own on-site server with some professional support.
- Often hosting providers provide clients with reseller hosting plans that suits their needs. This is particularly helpful when one needs to manage between multiple domains.
- Even users can have their own customised packages for reseller hosting. Reseller web hosting is very beneficial if your website receives high traffic.
Web Hosting and Domain Hosting
- After selecting a domain name, the files containing images, CSS, databases etc are uploaded to the web server. We already know that the user gets to access those files through a website via a web browser.
- The domain is stored in the domain name system that ensures that the website connects to its corresponding server in order to display the results.
- It is the task of the domain name system to locate the domain’s IP address so that the user lands across the right website.
- This is followed by the browser displaying the correct results to the onlooker.
Free Web Hosting vs Paid Web Hosting
Read the differences between free web hosting and paid web hosting below:
- If your website handles much traffic, it is always better to go for paid web hosting services. On the other hand, if your website uses less than 3 gigabytes of bandwidth each month, you can consider a free web hosting service as a viable option.
- As a beginner, it’s always better to start with something cheaper and further invest with expansion.
- There are free hosting providers who offer certain limits on the amount of traffic that can visit your website. In case, you violate the terms and conditions of agreed traffic, they may nullify the contract with you or send you the bill.
- Additionally, the free hosting provider may impose a limit on the size of the files you upload.
- If your website includes high resolution images or requires more uploading size, then the best option left to you is a paid hosting service.
- In exchange of provide free web hosting service, the providers may allow advertising on your website. Sometimes, these advertisements go beyond the limit that leads to overcrowding of the available space.
- Of course, a site with lots of pop ups or commercial banners are a big turn down for visitors.
- Having advertisements is fine because it is a source of profit but too many advertisements is distracting, maybe spammy and gives off a bad website image.
- Before you sign-up for a free web hosting service, have a thorough check-up of any advertising conditions set by the provider.
- As already stated, a beginner should go for shared hosting.
- Moreover, if you are planning to go free, look up for hosting providers that will offer you a shared hosting service.
- As your website grows, you can opt for VPS or dedicated hosting. For that reason, be sure that the hosting providers has upgrade options available.
- Be it free or paid web hosting, it is always advisable to check the uptime and advertised guarantees.
- Since you want your website to operate 24/7, ensure that the connection is stable and the server reliable.
- If any glitches come up, nothing can stop your visitor to switch to a competitor website.
- A paid web hosting service is best if you are looking for enhanced reliability. Also, check up on reviews provided by clients and the FAQ section.
Access to PHP, SSH, FTP, .htaccess etc
- Make sure if you can install PHP without having to take permission from your web hosting provider.
- The greater disadvantage of seeking approval is that the features of your website will not show up until you have the desired access.
- Additionally, you also need to check up if the providers offer you accessibility on SSH, FTP, MySQL, .htaccess etc. These accessibility features are important if you want to have some control over customisation.
- There are free website hosting services that will enable you to edit PHP, CSS and other programming files. However, to have greater control, a paid version is suitable.
cPanel and Add-on Domains
- Look for a control panel to manage email addresses, server configurations or account passwords.
- When your hosting provider has a cPanel, you can work without any technical support devoid of any additional expenses.
- Moreover, look for hosting providers who will offer you addon domains and make your judgement depending on the fee you can pay. Some free web hosting services provides you with 3 free addon domains.
Last but not the least, technical support is important to know that if you come up with issues, their team will be there to help you.
Before going for a web hosting service, measure the different pros and cons of free web hosting vs paid web hosting. If you are desiring enhanced quality, control, customisation and additional features, invest on a paid version. On the other hand, if you are a newbie creating your personal website with minimum images, videos, sounds etc, opt for a free web hosting service. Above all, choose a web hosting service that is reliable and one that will provide you better and guaranteed service.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service of providing space on a web server to store all the files of your website like images, CSS stylesheets, videos, HTML etc.
What is web hosting and types?
The five examples of Web hosting are- shared hosting, VPS, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, and reseller hosting.
What is web hosting and how does it work?
Web hosting providers store the files of a website on the web server. It also ensures that the user lands across the right website with all its contents through the domain name system. The different types of web hosting offer you different features and capabilities.
What is web hosting in PHP?
PHP web hosting is where the PHP which is a server-side scripting language is readable and executional by the web host. Hosting providers must provide PHP installation facilities for websites.