What is Web Hosting
In a nutshell: A place to put your website’s files so they will be accessible to everyone on the Internet
Web hosting, as it sounds, is a place to host a website content. However the question is why do we need to host a website?
Hosting a website is one of the basic requirements for the internet to be working
When you enter a website address (also called URL) in the browser address bar, the browser searches for the target website URL by translating the domain of that website into an IP address. You can learn more about the IP address search process in our article about DNS - Domain Name Server.
Next, after the browser has the necessary IP address, it would:
- Send an a request to the hosting web server using a protocol called HTTP GET.
- A connection would be established between your computer and the remote web server.
- The server receives the GET request, which asks for a certain web page to be sent to you.
- It sends back the web page, usually encoded in the standard web language - HTML.
- The browser then begins reading the HTML code and rendering the page accordingly.
- If the TML code indicates that it needs to fetch additional elements, such as images or videos, the browser will start the process to fetch them, which is quite similar to what it did to request the web page itself
Accordingly, the basic purpose of web hosting is letting individuals and businesses have a place where they can upload their website content to, thus making it accessible to the entire world.
With the growth of internet usage around the world a growing number of websites being hosted on various servers around the world.
Types of Hosting
There are a few different types of hosting services that you can use. Here is an overview of the most common ones:
Shared Web Hosting
Shared hosting is the most common type of web hosting service used by individuals, as well as small and mid-sized businesses. It is also the most affordable and easiest to use.
With shared hosting, multiple websites are placed on one physical server, thus sharing that server's resources like CPU, RAM and disk space.
Each customer can administer their own website by logging in to a web-based control panel. This type of hosting will be suitable for most users, as it will be sufficient to host simple websites, such as business sites, blogs, photo galleries and small e-commerce sites.
However, if you want to build a website that would receive a huge amount of visitors on a daily basis, or that would place a large demand on server resources, such as a large forum or e-commerce site, shared hosting would not be powerful enough for you.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
A VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is basically a part of a server that is assigned for your exclusive use.
Think of the server as a pie and the individual slices as virtual private servers. This sharing of resources is accomplished by using virtualization software.
Every user would get an allocated amount of server resources, such as RAM, processing power and disk space. This type of hosting is suitable for sites that would require a bit more power than a shared hosting account.
Managed and Dedicated Hosting Services
A dedicated hosting service gives you an entire server for your exclusive use. You can choose a server configuration that will give you the power you need for your site.
With dedicated hosting, you will get full administrator rights to the server and can install any script or program that you want on it to help run your website or other online services, such as hosting multiplayer video games.
Managed hosting will still get you a server all to yourself, however the web host will help you by configuring it and ensuring that it runs smoothly, while you focus on building and maintaining your site. However, you should know that this management service comes at a premium on the price of the server.
Cloud hosting is a hybrid between VPS and dedicated web hosting. Here, you will get your very own virtual server, but instead of running on one specific physical server, the virtual server can use resources from a cluster of servers and storage devices working together.
Cloud servers give you a lot of reliability and flexibility, as you can select from the number of CPU cores you need, amount of RAM, storage space, network resources and many more configurations which allows you to fully control your service by yourself.
It is often used by larger businesses that deploy online applications which need a lot of resources.