What is Web Hosting?

At its most basic level, web hosting is where you store your website. Much like the way in which you store belongings in a house, you store computer files such as videos, images, documents and HTML in a web host. The term “web hosting” typically refers to the company that allows you to store your website on their servers, hence the word “host,” thus providing a connection to the Internet so that other users may access your website’s files and pages. Generally, there are four types of web hosting to consider: cloud, dedicated, virtual private server (VPS) and shared. Although all types of web hosting act as storage centers for your website, they are different in terms of reliability, server speed, technical knowledge requirement, control and the amount of storage they can hold.

Types of Web Hosting

Cloud hosting gives you unlimited ability to handle traffic spikes or high traffic. A group of websites is hosted on a team of servers, also known as a “cloud.” This setup allows multiple computers to handle spikes or high traffic levels by working together. However, many cloud hosting providers do not offer root access, and they may be more expensive than other types of web hosts.

Dedicated hosting gives you the greatest control over the web server on which your website is stored. In other words, you rent a server that is yours and yours alone. However, with great power comes greater cost. Dedicated hosting and servers are very expensive, and they are typically only recommended for individuals who need better server performance and maximum control.

A virtual private server (VPS) hosting divides one server into several virtual servers, where each website shares a server with a few other users. Each user benefits from a more secured hosting environment as well as root access to his or her own website, and individuals who need more control over their servers but who do not have the money to put into a dedicated server may find a VPS to best meet their needs. However, VPS hosting has limited ability to handle traffic spikes or high levels of traffic, and users should be aware that other sites on the server may negatively affect the performance of their own site.

In shared hosting, your website is placed on the same server with other websites. You could share a server with a few hundred to a few thousand other users. Generally, all domains may share a pool of common resources, including CPU and RAM. Since shared hosting is relatively inexpensive, most websites with moderate levels of traffic that run standard software utilize shared hosting. Most computer-savvy individuals accept shared hosting as a basic, entry-level choice since you only need minimum technical knowledge to use the service. However, users have limited ability to handle traffic spikes or high levels of traffic, and they do not receive root access. Much like VPS hosting, website performance may be affected by other websites on the same server.

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Selecting a web host for your website is an important and sometimes daunting task, especially if you have never been in charge of developing, running or maintaining a website before, according to Forbes. Beyond understanding the type of web hosts, it is a matter of checking customer reviews, comparing inclusions and digging through different plans to find the web hosting service that best meets your needs and your budget.