People can access your website in various ways. For instance, they can find your site using a search engine or enter the URL directly in their browser. But how can you make a website visible and accessible to all users? This is where website hosting comes in.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting, also known as Internet hosting or website hosting is based on the idea of acting as a “host”, i.e. catering for a guest. So how does hosting a website work?
Any website owner wants their website to be visible online at all times. A web host guarantees that a website can be accessed round the clock. Web hosting provides website owners with webspace; this is mostly paid for. In addition, the host offers the owner additional applications and resources such as email addresses and post boxes and a content management system for creating their website. On technical terms, the webspace and these additional services form the website’s infrastructure.
To illustrate website hosting more clearly, let’s compare it to renting an apartment. The web host functions as a landlord, the website owner as the tenant and the webspace is the apartment itself. The owner rents an amount of webspace from the host. This is then provided to the owner and in return the host guarantees visibility for the website online.
What kinds of website hosting are there?
The website hosting needs of every website owner are different, and that’s why there are wide range of different kinds of web hosting.
The three most widely used types are shared hosting, virtual server/virtual dedicated server and dedicated server/managed server.
Shared hosting is when a single server hosts a large number of websites that share the server resources. The advantage of shared hosting is that it’s very affordable and it’s usually easy to work with. The downside, however, is that each website only has limited capacity, which can lead to a loss in performance when other websites utilize a lot of the shared server resources.
A virtual server/virtual dedicated server/virtual private server is very similar to shared hosting. This allocates an amount of server resources to each website owner, meaning that the activity of other websites on the server won’t affect your website’s performance. When compared to shared hosting, the server offers improved performance and functionality for your website.
With dedicated server hosting , every website has its own server. As a result, the owner has maximum control over the web server. For this kind of hosting, a high level of technical know-how is necessary and prices can rise depending on the level of performance provided by the server. This type of web hosting also offer several hosting service sub-categories. One example is a managed hosting service. Here, the owner transfers the full management of the server, including maintenance and modifications, to the web host service provider.
A newer alternative to these three kinds of web hosting that is growing in popularity is cloud hosting. Your website is saved to the cloud, i.e. a specialized system of web hosting, rather than a physical server.
Cloud hosting is very cheap and is based on a “pay-as-you-go” principle, which means the owner only needs to pay for the exact services they actually use. An additional benefit of cloud hosting is that it offers a highly reliable form of visibility and accessibility for your website. This is due to the fact that the cloud is independent of any specific server or computer center. Instead, it is connected to a number of different computer servers, so service failure is pretty much impossible. Cloud hosting offers a very reputable level of performance because of the infrastructure of the cloud.
Apart from web hosting, there are other hosting service options––for instance file hosting (for files only), image hosting (for images only) and video hosting (video clips only). These kinds of hosting can all be combined with web hosting. Web portals such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Soundcloud are created using combinations of hosting types like these.
How to find the right host for you
If you’re looking for the perfect web host to fulfil your needs, it’s important to compare providers. You should bear in mind what content you want to share on your website, as different content (text, image, video) requires different capacity size. Also, have a think about what your visitors are expecting and whether you need a content management system in addition to hosting.
Once you have a realistic idea of what you require from your host, you can start the search for the perfect website hosting service provider. There are a wide range of options online, including on our special offers.