What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet.
A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for your web site or web page to be viewed on the Internet.
Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through a browser.
Most hosting companies require that you own your domain in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain, some hosting companies will help you purchase one. However, I personally feel it is best to register your domain somewhere else than with your hosting company, just in case there might be problems later.
Types of Web Hosting Services
There are various types of web hosting services available to host your website. Before signing up for web hosting services, it is important to understand what kind of service your website needs, the kind of server your business needs, and to consider the budget you can afford.
Hosting options available are:
- Website Builders
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
- Cloud Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Collocated Hosting
Website builder services cater to beginners who need to host a website, but lack the technical skills and knowledge to build one. Website builder services typically provide you with an online browser-based interface to build your website, and also host the website for you without any additional setup. An example of this type of service would be LunarPages.com.
In a shared hosting environment, your and other website owners share one server. This includes sharing the physical server and the software applications within the server. Shared hosting services are affordable because the cost to operate the server is shared between you and these other owners. There are, however, a number of down sides, such as being slower. However, this is the way most people go when they are first starting out, because it is very inexpensive. Web Hosting by FatCow is this type of service.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
VPS hosting = Shared Hosting + Server Root Access + Dedicated Resources + Isolated Environment
In VPS hosting, each account is hosted on a virtual private server on a more powerful hardware. A physical machine is divided into several virtual compartments, and server software is setup on them separately, making each unit capable of functioning independently.
Virtual private servers are different from dedicated servers in that instead of running one hosting account on one server, virtual private servers share a single server. But each account is partitioned from the others, so other accounts on the machine won’t affect the performance of yours. That means you get exactly the same system resources you pay for (CPU, RAM, disk space, etc), yet you get complete root access to your server as if it were your dedicated server.
VPS hosting gives you complete control over your server and almost the same benefits of the pricey dedicated server. This way, you can get a virtual dedicated server for a much cheaper price and get higher performance for your website than a shared server. Interserver VPS Hosting is an example of this kind of web hosting.
Cloud hosting is the latest form of hosting that has become extremely popular over the past few years. The main concept of cloud hosting is “Divide and Rule” – the resources required for maintaining your website are spread across more than one web server, and are rendered on an as needed basis.
This greatly reduces chances of any downtimes in case of a server malfunction. Another noteworthy aspect is that cloud hosting allows you to manage peak loads easily, without facing any bandwidth issues, since another server can provide the additional resources in such a case.
Your website doesn’t rely on just one server, but rather a cluster of servers that work together and are collectively known as “the cloud.” Siteground offers this type of web hosting (as well as Shared Hosting).
In a dedicated hosting environment, you have the entire web server to yourself. This allows for faster performance, because you have all the server’s resources for your domains, without sharing with other website owners. However, this also means that you will be responsible for the cost of server operation entirely. This is a good choice for websites that requires a lot of system resources, or need a higher level of security.
For those of you who don’t feel confident in your ability to maintain the technical issues that may come up on a dedicated server, you can usually get a managed dedicated server for an additional fee. This way you have all the advantages of a dedicated server, but someone more expert will handle security updates and other technical issues for you.
In this type of hosting, you will purchase your own server and have it housed at a web host’s facilities. You will be responsible for the server itself. An advantage of this type of hosting service is you have full control of the web server. You can install any scripts or applications you need.
Your server will be kept in a climate controlled building with backup power and security.
However, you need a high degree of computer expertise to be able to handle routine security and updates or to troubleshoot when problems arise.
There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of web hosting companies out there, making it a tough job to choose the best one for your web site running on WordPress. You might as well start your search for reliable webhosting with the top 3 web hosts recommended for WordPress by WordPress themselves.