Web hosting is a service that allows individuals and/or organisations 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 the website or webpage 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 the browser.
Though there are a few different kinds of web hosting, in general they all serve the same purpose, to make computer files accessible to the internet. This is the “living space” of your website. Just like there are different types of living spaces for people, such as houses or apartments, there are different types of hosting for your website, below we’ll discuss the most common types of web hosting and relay them to this living space analogy.
There are different types of hosting servers available, they are:
Think of a shared hosting account akin to an apartment block where multiple websites live. When you get a shared hosting account you are essentially leasing an apartment (or Hosting space) on a company’s server (in their building). When you lease that space you now have a spot for your website files to live. In order for someone to view your website files, they have to live in a web visible server. A shared hosting environment is an economical solution for personal and small business websites. Each environment will have its own pros and cons.
Virtual Private Server
If Shared Hosting is the apartment living of the hosting world, then a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is the Town house of the hosting world. While you still share a building, you don’t have near as many “neighbours” and you maintain the property yourself. What this means is that you control the website as well as the server itself. There are different settings or configurations for the VPS that take more advanced knowledge in order to operate. While these skills can be learned, it is best for a veteran Server Administrator to set up and run your server.
This environment is best when you need to control more aspects of your server than you have available to you in the apartment/shared hosting set up. This set up is typically used on more robust or complex sites that have more requirements or traffic.
A Dedicated Server is essentially the Single Residence Home of the hosting world. So this means you have the server all to yourself, with no real neighbours; and complete administrative power over the “property”. A dedicated server is an environment for websites that need high traffic requirements and complete control over all aspects of the configuration of the server. While this is the most expensive option, it is the most effective and powerful option. Similarly to the VPS environment, a Dedicated Server requires advanced knowledge on how to configure and operate.
Website Builder Environments
An online website builder hosting option is another type of hosting you can select. This is similar to having an on call interior decorator for your shared hosting environment. Typically these are for website owners that want to design the website themselves but lack the programing knowledge to do so. While there will be some limitations on software like this, these are perfect environments for a low cost functional website that still looks good.