How Does Website Hosting Work

What is Web Hosting?

It’s the service that makes your website available and accessible online. At the core of web hosting is a computer that stores website codes, text, images, videos, and other resources that typically make up websites. While you can use a personal computer to host website resources and serve them to internet traffic, it’s not an efficient or practical solution to serving your website online.

You need a server, which is a specialised computer designed to host and serve websites. Aside from hosting your website and its resources, the server also keeps them online all day, every day, so that internet users can locate and use the files/website.

However, investing in servers to self-host can be expensive for many people and companies, whether big or small. That’s where web hosting services come in; they run dedicated facilities consisting of commercial-grade servers to host websites and the connectivity needed to connect with internet users. Website owners rent out server space (think of it as a digital storage space), providing their customers with a secure and reliable infrastructure to host websites.

In most cases, web hosting services also actively protect your websites, guarding them from cyberattacks.

How does Web Hosting Work?

As mentioned above, website hosting firms offer to provide server space for third parties to host websites. Some of the renowned web hosting service providers include:

  1. Namecheap
  2. Bluehost
  3. DreamHost
  4. HostGator
  5. Hostwinds
  6. Website Hosting Ireland

This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are thousands of other companies.

The process of web hosting begins by signing up and purchasing a hosting plan with a hosting services provider. After signing up with a hosting company, you’ll need to upload files that make up your website to your assigned space on the server (through your account).

Depending on your hosting plan, your website will have access to server resources such as storage space, RAM, and bandwidth, which it can utilise to serve content to your website visitors. As such, it is essential to understand your server needs and invest in a hosting plan that will meet them.

Once you finish setting up and publishing the website, your website becomes accessible to the internet audience via your domain name.

Types of Web Hosting

Different types of hosting plans come with different specifications. Here are some of the most popular hosting plans and their specifications:

#1. Shared Hosting

As the name suggests, shared hosting is a type of hosting plan where multiple users share the same server resources (the CPU, RAM, storage space, and bandwidth). It is the most popular hosting plan among blog owners, small businesses, and personal website owners, owing to its simplicity and affordability.

Given the shared nature of the resources, most web hosting service providers do not allow website owners to make advanced and custom configurations. Setting up and maintaining websites on a shared hosting plan is easy and straightforward. Additionally, by sharing the server resources, multiple website owners share the cost, thereby lowering it significantly.

While simplicity in setting up and affordability are clear-cut advantages, you can expect to encounter performance issues, especially during peak traffic times. For this reason, you shouldn’t host a resource-intensive website on a shared hosting plan.

#2. Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

A VPS is a step up to shared hosting plans. With these plans, different accounts are isolated from each other. Unlike shared hosting, where multiple users use the same resources, with VPS, the server is divided into several virtual compartments, each with its own dedicated resources.

Consequently, you get more flexibility and back-end control by signing up for a VPS account. Additionally, hosting companies tend to fill VPS servers with fewer customers, ensuring reliability and ample power and bandwidth for VPS users.

It’s a good choice for websites with growing traffic and resource-intensive websites like e-commerce.

#3. Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting plans are an upgrade to VPS hosting plans. Instead of having your resources dedicated to your website via virtual compartmentalisation, dedicated hosting allows you to host your website on a dedicated server. All of the servers’ resources are dedicated to your account. You can set it up, configure, and customise it as you deem fit. This means you can lean on the entire CPU, RAM, and storage power to meet your web traffic needs.

Purchasing a dedicated server plan is akin to investing in an on-site server. However, you have the added advantage of customer care and support to help you keep it running well. It suits large business and e-commerce sites with plenty of traffic and resource-intensive applications.

For all its benefits, dedicated hosting comes with a lot of maintenance hassle and upkeep requirements. And as you would imagine, it also costs much more than shared and VPS plans.

#4. Managed Hosting

Managed hosting plans are quite similar to dedicated hosting plans. They allow website owners to rent an entire server with the added advantage of having the hosting company take care of the server’s security, upkeep, and maintenance. To this end, the website owner will give up some administrative options to reduce the workload of maintaining their websites.

Other types of hosting plans include cloud hosting and reseller hosting plans.

Tips for Finding the Right Web Hosting Company

Aside from choosing a hosting plan for your website, it is essential that you select a reliable company. Unfortunately, choosing the right hosting company to go with can be a daunting task. The features list and pricing do not tell the whole story. You need to consider the following elements before you choose your website host:

– Uptime

– cPanel access

– Technical hosting specs

– Reviews and reputation

– Security

– Customer support

Spending time reading independent reviews of every hosting services provider. Reviews are particularly helpful in understanding what to expect from the company.

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