What is Hosting?
In a nutshell, hosting consists of a computer that hosts a website. That’s it!
If you just remember that, and nothing else, you will have the gist of what we are trying to get across. Say it with us a few times:
A web host is just a computer!
Nicely done. You are awesome. Most of the options that come with hosting relate to the options of the computer itself and we will explain these options in the following sections.
Better Question: Who’s Hosty?
To help you along your journey to Web Hosting Expert is our site’s official mascot, Hosty. Each section you complete, you will help build Hosty part by part and reward him with cool new abilities.
Now Let’s Get On With It
You have made it through the first step. Well done! That wasn’t too bad, was it?
Next up: let’s discuss why you shouldn’t try to host a website yourself.
Why Do I Need Hosting?
You might be asking yourself: “If hosting really just consists of a computer that serves a website, then why do I need a hosting service? Can’t I just have my home computer host my website?”
Yes, you could, but that would be a really bad idea — I mean really bad. There are many reasons web hosts exist and their low cost and high performance make them affordable for everyone, not to mention headache-free.
Below we’ve listed some reasons hosting a website at home is nearly impossible.
Self Hosting Pitfalls
- Power Outages – If your power goes out at your home, your website will go down.
- Slow Connection – While you may have very high-speed Internet at home, this usually only relates to download speed. With a server, since you are sending files, you need a high upload speed. It is almost guaranteed that your home connection has a slow upload speed.
- Dynamic IP Address – Your home Internet connection has a dynamic IP address that changes over time. This is like your house address constantly changing and people trying to send you mail. It makes it nearly impossible.
- Hardware Maintenance – If your home computer has any issues or needs a new part, it could be days or weeks before your computer is running again, and all of that time your website will be down and you may even lose your files.
Web Hosts to the Rescue
- Redundant Power Supplies – The power supplies at most web hosts are almost always backed up by on-site generators that keep sites live even in extreme power outages.
- Ultra-Fast, Stable Connections – Web hosts have extremely fast upload speeds and can serve hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of concurrent visitors easily.
- Static IP Address – With a web host, you can have a dedicated IP that will never change. This means your address always stays the same and people can always find your site.
- Expert Team Maintaining Hardware – The experts at these web hosts constantly maintain the hardware and have replacement parts on hand. They also have redundant hardware and back up your files for you.
Hey, you have finished the first section of The Basics! I think you and Hosty deserve a reward, don’t you? Well, here you go…
Types of Hosting
The three types of hosting that are generally available are: Shared, Dedicated, and Virtual Private Servers (VPS).
These three options combine to cover small, medium, and large websites. Usually, a website size can be determined by the number of monthly visitors. Don’t be afraid to fall in the small section, as 99.9 percent of websites are considered small and it is significantly cheaper!
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is by far the most common option for small businesses, individuals, and even some popular websites. Shared hosting is many websites hosting on a single server (remember server just means computer). The advantage to using shared hosting is it makes it extremely cheap because of the shared resources (see pricing).
Shared hosts can handle websites that run WordPress, Joomla, or others and also make this process very easy to set up. A shared host can handle up to 30,000 visitors per month, which covers most websites. If you are just getting started with hosting, you should take a close look at shared hosting for its value and performance.
2. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting consists of a single server that hosts a single website. The perk to having a dedicated server is that the entire computer is focused on giving your website the best possible performance. While dedicated hosting can be somewhat expensive (see pricing), it is worth the cost if your website demands very fast page-load times, a dedicated IP, and the means to handle a lot of traffic, like upwards of 100,000 visitors per month.
3. VPS Hosting (Cloud)
VPS hosting is the most difficult to describe out of the three types of hosting. First, VPS stands for “Virtual Private Server.” Basically, a VPS has a huge amount of computing resources you can purchase a portion of for a price. Imagine a computer with thousands of processors, terabytes of RAM, and unlimited hard drive space. For a monthly price, you can reserve as much of that computer as you need (see pricing).
What is really happening is hundreds of computers are networked together and appear as a single resource. The advantage of VPS hosting is you can scale from small to large websites without having to switch servers. Also, with a VPS you have a huge number of options as far as software and hardware go, and you usually pay by the hour instead of having a monthly fee.
VPS hosting is good for the more technically inclined and usually caters to programmers and web designers.
Which Hosting Type Do I Need?
- Amazing for websites up to 30k+ visitors per month
Very economical (as low as $1 per month)
- Very simple to use and set up
Usually has unlimited bandwidth
- Great for websites of mostly any size (300k+ visitors per month)
- Can be expensive (starting at about $75 per month )
- Simple to set up and use
- A HUGE amount of processing power
- Very secure
- Dedicated IP (usually three or four IPs are included)
- Good for small to large websites (any number of visitors per month )
Price scales with your website (starting at $15 per month)
- Can be complex to set up if you’re not a web developer or programmer
- You can get exactly the amount of processing, RAM, and hard drive space you need
If you feel like you’re ready to go, great! We’ve done the leg work for you in determining the best hosting deals for each type of hosting.