For people who are techies but unfamiliar with web hosting, it can all seem very confusing at first. We understand this loud and clear, so this article will breakdown what hosting is, the types of hosting available, and how to choose between them.
Web Hosting 101
Every website requires a place to get hosted. A physical web server and server software are needed. The website’s files are stored on the server. The web server retrieves them when receiving a request to do so.
The hosting company has access to the data center where the servers are. They are hooked into one or more fast backbone connections to the internet. This ensures that the site stays online reliably.
On the domain record, the server’s IP address is present and recorded in databases around the web. When a visitor types in the website address, the nearest database is checked to locate the appropriate data center. Ultimately, it will reach the correct web host and eventually the folder where the website’s files are stored. These are then sent across the internet to the visitor’s browser.
This is mostly done seamlessly behind the scenes for you. Considering the technology at work, web hosting is provided at a very affordable price.
Web Hosting Plans
Broadly speaking, web hosting is offered in one of three types:
Shared hosting is like it says. This is where a server is set up to host hundreds of different sites for many different customers.
If you read Hostmonster reviews about their shared hosting plans, you’ll see that they have three shared hosting plans from $4.95 to $6.95 a month. These have unlimited bandwidth to host an unlimited number of sites, and in some cases, unlimited storage space too. Hostmonster provides real value for money at these prices.
What the Hostmonster reviews might not make clear is that each site receives a small amount of server resources, which means that sites don’t load as fast. However, for sites with a small amount of traffic, this is still perfectly adequate.
A virtual private server hosting plan clearly defines what server resources your plan receives. This is adjustable as required. While bandwidth is bundled in, it’s sometimes necessary to pay for more. Costs are higher due to better performance both through the use of quicker server hardware and fewer websites being hosted per server.
A dedicated hosting plan provides a single server for one customer. It ensures controlled performance because no other customers use the server. It’s the most expensive hosting option for most web hosts.
How to Choose Between Plans
Websites that only receive a few thousand visitors a month will usually be happy with a shared hosting plan. They won’t be the fastest loading site, but that’s okay.
For websites that are getting busier, need more technical capabilities or advanced features, then VPS hosting has a lot to recommend it. It’s several times pricier than most shared hosting plans, but it’s usually quick like a fox.
Dedicated hosting is a choice for corporations that don’t want anyone else on the same server and those who wish to avoid performance disruptions. It gets very expensive for busy websites though.
Ultimately, most young websites find shared hosting adequate early on. Companies may opt for VPS hosting to be prepared for a traffic burst following a marketing campaign. Dedicated hosting is rarely needed and when it is, businesses know it.
These three types are the basic or rather main hosting plans which are widely used. However, there are a few others such as cloud hosting, reseller hosting, and managed hosting that are worth mentioning.