The Newbie Guide to Web Hosting: What You Need to Know
If you want to build a website, then you are also going to need web hosting. Without hosting, your site isn’t going to be available for anyone to visit.
Hosting a website is not as difficult as you might imagine. You won’t need to have any experience, know how to code, or configure the server. Everything technical is taken care of for you, though there are some hosting options, such as a VPS (virtual private server) where you will need some technical knowledge to get things working.
There are thousands of different hosting companies operating all over the world, who offer a complete range of hosting solutions. There are several different types of hosting available, and in this article, we will look through them, as well as provide you with an explanation of everything you need to know about hosting your own website.
What do you need?
There are three basic things you will need. They are your website, the domain name and web hosting. Your website will obviously be the site you have built, or will be building. There are many ways in which you can build a website, with the most popular being through the use of a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, which is the most popular website builder in the world.
Your domain name will be the address of your website. It is what people will type in when they want to visit your site. There are a range of domain extensions available such as .com, .org and country-level domains such as .co.uk and .fr. Which name and extension you use for your website is entirely up to you.
Your hosting, is of course what is used to host your website. Depending on the type of website that you have, or will be building, then you will choose the hosting option most suited for your requirements.
The different types of hosting
As mentioned previously, there are a number of different hosting options available. Which one you use will depend on your website, but for most people starting out, the shared hosting option is the most practical and affordable.
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This is the most popular hosting option, as it is relatively cheap when compared to other options. Shared hosting, as the name suggests, is where people are sharing the resources of the server that they are using. This means that there are limits to the amount of disc space, data transfer, domains and email accounts that you can use and create. Most hosts will offer a choice of shared hosting packages with varying limitations on the server resources.
Shared hosting requires no technical knowledge or experience, and most hosts will use the cPanel management system, which is an extremely easy to use administration panel to control manage your hosting account.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is similar to shared hosting, but in this case, you are able to run your own virtual server using allocated resources provided by the web host. VPS hosting will provide you with greater resources than those from shared hosting, so this a better hosting option for those who are running medium sized business or e-shops with a reasonable amount of traffic to the sites.
Users will need to have some basic experience in running a server, and they are not the best option for a beginner, who may find things a little difficult to get to grips with.
This is the big daddy of web hosting, where you have an entire server, and all of its resources, for yourself. You will be the only one using the server, so you won’t need to worry about other users using your resources. With a dedicated server you can install your own software and operating systems, and have much greater power and performance than any other type of hosting. Dedicated servers come in a range of options, so if required, you could have an extremely powerful one.
You will need to have technical knowledge in order to use and maintain a dedicated server. There are some hosts that do offer managed dedicated servers for those who are not so experienced or technical, but these come at a higher cost.
What is the right type of hosting for me?
In most cases, the shared hosting option will be the most suitable option, especially for those who are just starting out in the world of websites and hosting. It’s an option that requires no technical knowledge, and where all technical aspects of the server are managed entirely by the web host. Shared hosting is the best choice for new websites or those that don’t have a huge amount of traffic.
If you are running a website that is large such as an e-commerce site, or an educational website with courses and members, then you’ll most likely need something a little more powerful, which is where VPS hosting would be ideal. But for those with a large amount of traffic, then a dedicated server might be a better option.
If you are unsure about which web hosting package to use, then simply speak to the host. Explain to them your dilemma and let them know a little bit about your website. In most cases, they will be able to suggest the best option for you based on your requirements.
One thing to check with any potential web host is the ability to upgrade your hosting account. Maybe you will start on a shared hosting package, but after a year or so, you see that you require more resources, so you will want to know that you can upgrade your hosting account with little or no disruption at all to your website.
Some concluding thoughts
Hosting your website is not a difficult thing. It’s not something you need to stress or worry about. It’s a relatively simple process, and your web host will always be on hand to guide you through the process or help with any problems that you face.
Just make sure that the web host you work with is one that offers a good selection of hosting options, has fair pricing and above all, offers a good level of customer support.