Web Hosting Basics

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

What is Web Hosting?

We’ve got you covered with our web hosting basics.  Simply put, Web hosting refers to a service that makes your website available to visitors on the Internet. Your website will be ‘hosted’ on a server accessible to anyone around the world. Your web host will be your websites home in a sense and will load when someone goes to your domain name.

In order for your website to be online you need to choose a web hosting provider. Your web host will host your website, emails, databases and also give you tools to manage your online presence.

It’s important to choose a good web host as your websites availability depends on the reliability of your web hosting provider. If your web hosts server goes down your website and email will go down as well. Your web hosts servers are generally secure and maintained so you can focus on your business not the hosting.

Web hosting prices can range from a few dollar a month and go up substantially however most websites are hosted on what’s called ‘shared hosting’ which simply means your website is hosted on a server with other websites and customers. This is very common and if you’re new to website hosting then you’ll want to look at a shared hosting plan which will help keep your budget in place and still give you a reliable platform for hosting your website.

Below we will explain the various hosting service available and list some pros and cons for each.

Types Of Web Hosting:

 

shared web hosting


Shared Hosting
is the most common hosting platform.  Your website files are placed on a single server and the server is shared between hundreds of other users.  Shared hosting is great for a small website and is the most affordable option.

Pros:

  • Cheapest hosting option
  • Fully managed server
  • No technical skills required

Cons:

  • Shared server means other users can impact performance
  • Single point of failure with one server
  • Low level of security
  • Resource usage limitations

Our picks for the best shared hosting companies: JustHost, HostUpon and InMotion Hosting

VPS Web Hosting


VPS Hosting
is a step up from shared hosting.  VPS stands for Virtual Private Server.  With a VPS you have full root access to your server meaning you can install any scripts or modules and have full control of your server.  A VPS is much more powerful than a shared server and your resources are dedicated not shared.

Pros:

  • Mid-range pricing
  • Full root access and control of your server
  • Dedicated CPU/memory and disk space
  • Virtualized technology means better performance
  • Easily upgradable when your site grows

Cons:

  • Some technical skills required
  • Still semi-shared however segmented
  • Less powerful than a dedicated server
  • Limited to resources on your plan

Our picks for the best VPS hosting companies: HostHero, HostUpon and InMotion Hosting

Dedicated Server Hosting


Dedicated Servers
are the most powerful hosting option available.  You will have your own physical server to host your website and the server is not shared with anyone else.  Dedicated servers are great for businesses and websites that use a lot of CPU and Memory.  They can get pricey but provide the best performance and reliability.

Pros:

  • Powerful and fully configurable
  • Full root access and control
  • Increased speed and performance
  • You can install any operating system and software

Cons:

  • Highest price point
  • Technical skills required
  • Security is managed by you
  • Upgrades require the server to be shutdown and rebooted

Our picks for the best Dedicated Server companies: HostUpon and InMotion Hosting

Cloud Hosting

 

Cloud Hosting is getting more and more popular.  Your website loads from multiple servers so there is no no single point of failure.  Cloud Hosting provides the most redundancy and reliability and is generally cheaper than a dedicated server.

Pros:

  • Redundant and stable
  • No single point of failure
  • Increased speed and performance
  • Fully scalable as your site grows

Cons:

  • Generally more costly than shared and VPS
  • Still a semi-shared platform
  • Limited control of your cloud server

Our picks for the best Cloud Hosting companies: HostHero and InMotion Hosting

 What Type Of Hosting Do You Need?


Why Choose Shared Hosting:

Now that we’ve outlined the various hosting options it’s time to decide what you need.  For the majority of websites shared hosting is the way to go.  It is the cheapest option and generally comes with everything you need to get your website online and visible on the Internet.  Shared hosting is great if you have a small website with not too much dynamic content.  If you have a basic blog or content based website then shared hosting is perfect.  You’ll get email address and access to upload your website.  Almost all shared hosting plans come with a control panel for you to manage every aspect of your website from your files, email accounts and database.

Best Shared Host:  JustHost

Why Choose a VPS:

If your website gets popular and you are getting a few thousand page views than a VPS is your best bet.  With a VPS you have a virtual server with dedicated CPU and Memory.  You’re not sharing space or resources with other users and can scale your VPS resources as your website grows.  We’d recommend a VPS if you have an e-commerce store as it gives you more security and performance.  A VPS can boost your website and also allows you to use any version of PHP or MySQL and you also have full root access to your server so you can configure it however you want.

Best VPS Host:  InMotion Hosting

Why Choose a Dedicated Server:

A dedicated server is a must for a medium to large size business or a website that is very busy.  You would want a dedicated server if you need performance, reliability and a high level of security.  Though they are expensive, dedicated servers do give you more flexibility as the server is not shared.  You get full root access so you can use any operating system and install any specific version of PHP, Apache and MySQL.  One major advantage with a dedicated server is that only you have access to it.  With a dedicated server you can choose how much disk space, memory and CPU you need.  You basically configure your servers specs exactly how you want.

Best Dedicated Server host:  HostUpon

Why Choose Cloud Hosting:

Cloud hosting is great if you’re looking for speed and redundancy.  Since your website will load from multiple servers you can be confident that your website will have the highest level of uptime.  Cloud hosting is also fully scalable.  For example if you have a server with 2GB of memory and want to upgrade to 4GB of memory, your server does not need to be shutdown.  Upgrades are done on the fly on a cloud server and thus your website is online and unaffected.  Cloud hosting give you a performance boost as well since you’ll have more than one server loading your website your visitors will notice faster page loads.  Cloud Hosting is a great choice if you have a website that needs to be fast and scalable.  To learn more about Cloud Hosting click here

Best Cloud Server Host:  HostHero

Now that you have the basics on hosting you can choose the right hosting service for your website!

2 Comments

  1. Under your “Why choose a VPS:” commentary, you state, “…you are getting a few thousand page views…” I often see such comments but rarely see a time scale. Is this a few thousand page views, per hour, per day, per week, etc.?
    Thanks,
    Dave.

    • Hi Dave,

      Great question! The general rule of thumb for shared hosting is 10,000 visits per month. If you’re above that then a VPS is a good way to scale up to ensure you can handle more traffic. The main resource that websites consume is RAM/Memory. I generally recommend a VPS with a minimum 1GB of RAM. These days though there are Cloud Hosting options such as linode.com and digitalocean.com that offer Cloud Hosting plans at amazing prices. I have a cloud server at both companies and for $10/$20 month they come with dedicated resources but also allow you to scale up as your site grows.

      A VPS is a good option if you need root access but if you don’t need root access I’d go with a Cloud hosting plan which gives you the same specs as a VPS but without having to worry about server management. An example would be hostupon.com that has managed Cloud hosting plans.

      Traffic is just one factor when it comes to the resources you need. You need to factor how much traffic you get + how well your site is optimized and coded. A poorly coded site or a site with tons of plugins will use up a lot more memory. If you have a rough idea of how much traffic you’re expecting and what script you plan to use (WordPress for example) I can recommend a suitable provider/plan.

      Cheers

Leave a Reply