What Is Website Hosting: Everything You Need To Know About Web Hosting for Business Websites
Ready to take your business to the next level by building a website? Learn about web hosting first!
Once you establish your business idea and take the first step toward your entrepreneurial dreams, it’s time to consider building a website. Any successful business needs one, as it allows you to reach a wider audience and advertise your products or services. But before you start building your online success, it’s essential to understand the concept of web hosting. So, what is website hosting? How does it work? And what should you consider when choosing a hosting provider? Let’s find out.
- Web hosting is a crucial part of website building and making your business successful online.
- There are several different types of web hosting to choose from, including shared VPS, reseller and cloud hosting.
- When selecting the right web hosting company for your needs, it is crucial to consider speed, uptime, security, ease of use, customer support, scalability and pricing.
What is website hosting?
Website hosting is an online service supported by hosting providers, who supply server space to store and serve your web pages and website files to users on the world wide web. In short, every online presence starts with web hosting, a service that makes it possible for others to view your site on the internet.
Here are some things to keep in mind while exploring the world of web hosting:
- Creating a hosting account is often the first step when building a website.
- Web hosting services can be provided by specialized web hosting service providers as part of a website builder or a Content Management System (CMS).
- Web hosts often offer packages that include shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting and cloud hosting to fit the needs of different customers and their websites, and different hosting packages have different advantages and limitations.
- There are important factors to consider when comparing web hosting services for your website, including uptime, security, speed and customer support.
All of this might seem overwhelming for those who do not know much about web hosting. Fortunately, most web hosting companies feature straightforward control panels that make it simple to manage websites.
How does web hosting work?
When you create a web hosting account, you place all your site files, including HTML pages, images, videos and other media, on the host’s web server. Once that is set up, when someone enters your URL or domain name into the browser, their device sends a request to the server hosting your site.
The browser translates the domain name into an IP address and sends an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) or HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) request to the web server. The server responds by sending the website files to the user’s device, enabling them to view the content.
Web hosting vs. domain hosting: How do the two interrelate?
Domain and web hosting are two linked but distinct concepts. Together, these two services make it possible for website owners to establish and maintain an online presence.
As you probably already know, every site owner needs to register a domain name and link it to their hosting account so that users can access the site hosted on the web server. While web hosting packages usually include domain registration and hosting, you can also register the name separately in a domain registrar and then link it to your website hosting service with a different provider. This process involves setting up the necessary DNS (Domain Name System) records.
Different types of web hosting
Depending on your website’s needs, you can choose from various web hosting plans. Let’s take a look at different types of web hosting.
In shared hosting, one server is used by many websites at once. Shared hosting is very popular because it allows multiple websites to share server resources and the cost.
Needless to say, shared hosting is an affordable option suitable for new or personal websites that do not yet expect lots of traffic. On the other hand, shared web hosting may not be the right fit for large business websites with a lot of traffic.
Dedicated hosting provides the entire physical server and all its resources for rent. It offers total control over the server with root access, web server software and a security system with IP addresses. Thereby, a dedicated server is the most expensive of all hosting packages.
It is best suited for large websites with a lot of traffic, but this option requires technical expertise related to management. A dedicated hosting website needs a knowledgeable in-house team, or the owner must pay for managed hosting with 24/7 technical support.
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting stands between shared and dedicated hosting as it offers users virtual environments within a shared server. While the virtual server (also sometimes referred to as a virtual dedicated server) acts like a dedicated server in an isolated environment, it still shares the physical server with other users, like in shared hosting.
The greatest benefit of VPS hosting is its flexibility at an affordable price. Since it is cheaper than dedicated hosting, medium-sized websites often favor it.
Cloud hosting represents a network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers that host the website. Large businesses usually choose cloud hosting as it provides unmetered, reliable bandwidth and infinite disk space for unlimited domains. Undeniably, cloud hosting provides the most flexibility out of all types of web hosting.
With reseller hosting, an account owner can use their allocated hard drive space and bandwidth to host websites on behalf of third-party hosting companies. Reseller hosting benefits account owners who do not need the space they have purchased and can profit by reselling it.
Free hosting vs. paid hosting
If you need web hosting services, you might come across free web hosting offers. If you are just starting with your business, free services might always sound tempting, but evaluating the pros and cons is crucial.
Free web hosting is often provided by companies that want to attract new customers to their platforms or by individuals who have extra server space and want to share it with others. Unfortunately, it usually sounds better than it actually is. Let’s look at some of the limitations that come with the free web hosting option.
- Unreliable uptime: A free hosting solution might not guarantee that servers are online or stable, which could sometimes make your website unavailable to visitors.
- Limited resources: Bandwidth, storage space and CPU usage are frequently limited in free web servers, resulting in slow performance and even downtime .
- Security risks: Free plans usually don’t include SSL certificates or regular backups, which can lead to increased site vulnerability.
- Limited support: Free web hosts provide limited or no technical support, which can cause problems when the user experiences technical issues.
- Advertisements: To generate revenue, free web hosting providers might place ads on your websites, which can make your website seem unprofessional.
- Limited customization: Free hosting service providers usually cannot offer great customization options due to limited features.
The greatest con of a paid web hosting plan, of course, is that you have to pay a subscription fee. However, the benefits of paid hosting can outweigh the disadvantages. Increased reliability, security and flexibility, without a doubt, make your website better and more functional. It is also worth noting that paid hosting usually offers better resources and support.
So, while free hosting might seem like a good option, if you are curious, make sure you do your research and think carefully about the restrictions and potential downsides. For serious website owners and businesses, paid hosting is usually the better option.
Top benefits of professional web hosting services: How to choose a hosting provider
Shared hosting. Dedicated hosting. Free hosting. Paid hosting. With so many options available, deciding which web host is the right one can be overwhelming. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a website hosting provider.
Type of web hosting service
The size and complexity of your website, your budget and your level of technical expertise all play a role in selecting the best type of hosting. Before choosing your provider, consider which one of the different types of hosting available is best for your website.
For instance, most shared hosting providers can help you launch your site. However, as soon as your traffic starts increasing, you’ll probably need to scale up to a virtual private server or dedicated cloud hosting. So, consider where you are now, and how you plan to grow in the future.
Speed & reliability
Look for a provider that will guarantee high uptime for their clients – ideally at least 99.95%. A hosting provider might offer such speed-enhancing features as SSD storage and caching. Therefore, you need to keep speed and reliability in mind.
To protect your website from online risks, it is also important to look for a hosting service that offers top security measures like SSL certificates, firewalls and malware scanning. Also, choose a hosting provider that offers frequent backups and effective recovery solutions in the event of data loss.
Ease of use & customer support
Consider the control panel of the web host provider to see if it is user-friendly and offers customization options. Also, look into what kind of customer support the hosting provider offers. It is ideal to get quick response times, 24/7 availability and effective support channels.
Why not look at reviews and ratings of the provider to assess their reputation? While not all reviews are to be trusted, you might get a sense of what the service offers.
Do you expect your website to grow in the future? If you do, it will, most likely, require additional resources. When choosing a hosting provider, consider whether they will be able to accommodate resources – such as storage space or bandwidth – as your website grows.
Needless to say, pricing can be the deciding factor when choosing a hosting company. While the lowest prices will always attract first, keep in mind that lower-priced services are often more limited. Therefore, you want to find a provider that combines great services with affordability.
WordPress hosting vs. web hosting
Web hosting service providers can host many types of websites. On the other hand, WordPress hosting is specially designed and optimized for WordPress websites. Usually, it includes tools and features that are intended to improve the speed, security and usability of the CMS.
Automatic WordPress updates, pre-installed WordPress software, specialized WordPress support and caching tools that improve website loading times are just a few of the important benefits included. Other advantages include easy setup, predictable server usage and improved security.
While both WordPress and website hosting share similarities, if you are building a WordPress website, you should consider getting specialized hosting that guarantees optimized performance and support. On the flip side, if you require more adaptability and control over your server environment, you might consider standard web hosting.
Website hosting for free WAcademy websites
At WAcademy, we run an internship program for up-and-coming web designers, UX designers and graphic designers. After completing the training program, our interns can start their careers and begin changing the future of web design. WAcademy interns would not have a leg up without our incredible business partners who provide them with opportunities to work on real-life projects. In return, we provide completely free web design services.
WAcademy web design services are provided without the hosting infrastructure, which means clients still need to pay for hosting services. We are proud to partner with Getspace, a hosting company that provides WordPress hosting, a domain name, professional data backup, an SSL certificate, five business mailboxes per domain and an Elementor Pro license to all WAcademy clients.
Curious to learn more about how WAcademy trains the web designers of tomorrow while supporting the up-and-coming businesses with free web design services? Explore WAcademy!
FAQ about website hosting
Do I need web hosting?The short answer is yes. But why exactly? A web service provider offers you space to store all your website’s files. They also offer the technology and assistance to make your website accessible over the internet. So, if you want your website to be accessible to visitors, you need web hosting.
Can I host my own website?Since a server is required to host a website, technically, you could host your website using your own server. However, to host your own website successfully, you need to invest in more than just hardware. Perhaps most importantly, you need to hire someone who can maintain the web server and keep it running efficiently. In most cases, paying for professional web hosting services is cheaper than hosting yourself.
How much does website hosting cost?That depends on the type of web hosting you choose. While shared hosting – the cheapest option – can start from just a couple of dollars per month, dedicated hosting starts at around $100 per month. Prices vary depending on what kinds of features are included in the hosting offer. Bandwidth, security, storage space and other factors impact the final price.
Do hosting providers offer free domains?Some hosting providers offer domain name registration as part of their hosting plans. Therefore, while it may seem that you are getting something for free, in most cases, that is just a way to promote hosting service plans that come with all the bells and whistles, including domain name registration.
Which is the best hosting provider in 2023?The answer to this question highly depends on what you need from your hosting provider. If you are on a budget, you might choose one that offers the most features for the least amount of money. If a budget does not restrict you, you may shop around and choose a provider depending on your needs and website requirements. Therefore, deciding which hosting provider is best is highly personal.
Can I switch hosting providers?Yes, you can switch hosting providers. For example, if your subscription plan is about to expire, you may choose to choose a provider that fits your requirements better. In most cases, website owners switch hosting providers due to speed, uptime, security, ease of use, customer support, scalability and pricing-related aspects.
How do I migrate my website to a new web host, and how much does it cost?If you have chosen a different web hosting provider, they may offer free website migration. If the new provider does not offer this, you may have to pay around $100 and up for the service. If you want to migrate the website manually, sign up for the new service, back up and download the files somewhere safe. Then, transfer the files and point your domain name to the new host. Note that the process can be quite tricky and complicated for someone inexperienced.
What happens to my website if I do not renew my hosting subscription?If you stop paying for hosting, your hosting provider will terminate services, and your website will become unreachable online. Moreover, if you rely on your host’s backup, you may lose data. And you could lose your domain name if it is part of the hosting plan. Note that even if you renew payments after a short while without compromising your website’s data or domain name, the suspension may negatively affect your website’s ranking.