What is Web Hosting? Hosting Beginner’s Guide
You search on google for information, buy/sell products online and read news on websites all the time. But, you may not know exactly what is a website and what is web hosting, and how website stuff works?
Knowing about a website, a domain name, web hosting services and making websites live can be intimidating and confusing if you are not related to the web hosting industry.
If that’s the case for you – there’s no need for concern!
You have come to right place.
According Wikipedia, web hosting is defined as:
"A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web."
Their definition is solid, in my opinion, but could explain easily.
Are you ready to dive in?
Let’s get started!
What is a website?
Basically, a website is a collection of documents known as web pages. Each web page represents a certain topic or product details.
A web page may contain information, images, audio, video and others.
Having a website is a really cool to express yourself, share and learn new stuff in this information age. What do you think?
I highly recommend you to create a website just for you or your business.
What is the purpose of a website?
You can build a website for any purpose. A website can be used for providing personal information, a blog, a business website, a government website, an eCommerce website or even non-profit websites like http://wikipedia.org
If you are running a business website it may have different pages like home, services, products and business contacts.
Types of websites?
There are two broad categories of websites. Static websites and dynamic websites.
Static websites usually display same information to all visitors. The main technologies behind building static websites are HTML, CSS, and images. Mostly, these websites are non-interactive.
Static websites usually maintain same information, consistently over the period of time.
Want to know oldest unchanged pages since 1994?
Here you go! Unchanged from 1994!! Really static content.
But, we highly recommend you to build websites with dynamic content.
Dynamic or interactive websites uses Content Management Systems ( CMS) to build websites.
Find list of content management systems from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_content_management_systems
What is Web Hosting?
Essentially, your website pages are stored on a web server.
Web servers are managed by web hosting companies like FastWebHost
Now, your web pages are ready to publish on web servers so that anyone can see your business or personal website from anywhere and at any time.
Whenever you access any website or pages from your browser, the request goes to the location where your website hosted, then downloads the copies of pages to your browser.
The process of selecting web hosting provider and publishing/hosting a website on servers is called a website hosting service.
What is a domain name?
Simply, domain names are invented to simplify information access on the Internet.
Let’s see how that works.
Assume, you assigned a number (IP Address) to every computer or internet device on the planet, how do you remember each device number and access that computer?
It’s impossible to remember millions of numbers (IP Address) for human beings, Isn’t it?
That’s where domain names fit in. You select and assign a unique name to each device through Domain Naming System ( DNS) and map domain names to numbers ( IP addresses ).
I’ll explain technical details of domain names in another article.
Now, you need to get unique domain names to your website. You can register domain names like mydomain.com, myhobbies.net or mybusiness.net.
Domain names are organised into different extensions depends on type of business you run.
Most common domain extensions are .COM, .NET, .ORG, .GOV, .EDU and country level extensions like .in, .co.uk and com.au.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages domain names and different extensions.
Types of web hosting
There are different types hosting services provided by web hosting companies all over the world.
- Shared Web Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
I have created a mind map using a free tool bubbl.us , take a look at this picture for an overview.
So, let’s take a look at above web hosting categories.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting service is the most basic type of hosting and easy to start your website.
Usually, it suits well for simple websites like personal sites, hobby sites, blogs, small business websites.
Shared web hosting is affordable because web server resources will be shared across multiple websites.
If you are interested, learn more on shared hosting, head over to another article Should you choose shared hosting
VPS Hosting is bit more complex type of web hosting. VPS servers are built on virtualization technologies like KVM and OpenVZ.
Ideally, VPS Hosting suites well for Small to Medium businesses, Web Developers, web designers and server administrators.
VPS Hosting is bit costlier due to the fact that you get more resources and power to your websites.
VPS Hosting can handle more traffic or visitors to your websites comfortably.
So, many choose this based on their website performance requirements.
Also, VPS hosting comes with all bells and whistles like having a feeling of own server, control on configuration, websites and it’s security.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated server hosting is the ultimate of the pack. You get full control and power with your own server.
No one else shares your server resources except you. It’s you define server configuration, administration, and services on the server.
You can host unlimited websites on your dedicated server. Many small to medium enterprises prefer dedicated server who has resources to manage the server.
Dedicated server enhances your website performance and can easily handle few hundred thousands of requests.
Dedicated server hosting costs anywhere between 100$ -500$ per month depends on server hardware configuration and your requirements.
If you want to publish your own website, you'll need to sign up for a web hosting service.
Just make sure the Web host you choose offers high-quality servers, latest web technologies, website security, 24/7 technical support and ensures little or no downtime.
Hope you enjoy reading web hosting our guide.