22 Aug What is Hosting? Everything You Need to Know
Building a website is kind of like designing a store. You figure out which items you want to display prominently, where your logo is going to be, what colors you’re going to use – things of that nature.
Hosting a website, on the other hand, is like deciding where that store is going to be; the location you’re going to rent. You could decide to run your store from your own home, but that brings up several problems. Your home might not be big enough. You might not have the technical know-how to turn your home into a store. You might not be comfortable with total strangers having access to your personal space.
These analogies work perfectly for why you don’t want to host a website on your own computer.
Web hosting companies handle all of the concerns listed above, for you. They’ll make sure server space is properly set up so people can access your website quickly and easily. They’ll integrate security features to limit would-be hackers’ ability to steal valuable information. They can scale up the amount of storage you have if you’re hosting a lot of files, and can increase the amount of data transmitted from your website to your users, or vice versa. That last point is called bandwidth.
The Different Types of Web Hosting
Shared hosting is like getting a booth at a trade show. There’s a lot of noise around you, and some of your neighbors might get annoying. That’s because when you use shared hosting, you’re sharing server space with a number of other websites. Should one of those websites get a spike in traffic, it will affect the speed at which your website can be accessed. This is the least expensive option, and it’s a good pick if you don’t expect very much traffic. On the flip side, if traffic starts picking up later, shared hosting can be far too slow.
A VPS is more akin to renting a space in a strip mall. You’re sharing a space, but it’s mostly private, and your neighbors’ actions won’t really affect your store unless they get so much traffic it fills up the parking lot and jams the entryways. In a VPS, while you’re sharing server space, each website is allocated its own resources separate from the others. That generally means more bandwidth and storage, and that traffic spikes to another website on the VPS are less likely to negatively affect your website. In terms of price, VPS is the middle ground.
A dedicated server, then, is like having your own store. All resources are allocated to you, and there are no neighbors using the same resources. This, of course, is the most expensive option, but it’s perfect for large websites that expect a ton of traffic.
While those are the three main types of hosting, there are a couple of other types that are worth mentioning: First, you have the choice between managed and unmanaged hosting. Given that you’re reading an article about what web hosting is, chances are you’ll want a managed account. Managed web hosting helps you protect your network security and ensure that everything is set up properly. Of course, managed hosting is more expensive, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s more than worth it.
Yet another type of hosting is cloud hosting. This is kind of like shared hosting or a VPS, but your website is actually hosted on multiple servers. Cloud hosting is scalable, because as you need more resources, your site can get those resources from another physical server.
Qualities to Look For in a Web Hosting Company
There are a lot of different features a host might have. You want enough storage space to host all of your files. You want enough bandwidth so your clients can connect with you without their speed slowing to a crawl. The server’s location can be relevant if most of your customers are in a certain area – the closer they are to the server, the faster the connection. You’ll also want to check the server’s hardware – things like solid state drives (SSDs) can really help speed things up for your clients.
You’ll also want high-quality support – depending on the nature of your business, 24/7 support may be necessary. When you’re not sure how much storage and bandwidth you need, talk to the support team before signing up for a plan, and compare the recommendations you get. You’ll learn something about hosting and who has the best support.
Of course, you’ll also want to find the company that gives you the features you need at a reasonable price. You might opt to engage in B2B bartering if you can find a local web hosting company for a business that’s mostly serving customers in a particular area. Otherwise, simply shop around for the best deal.
No matter which option you choose, the professionals at Odd Duck Media can assist with helping you get the perfect hosting plan for your business needs. Just contact our team today to learn more about our options.