What is meant by web hosting?
Web hosting is storing the website’s data on powerful and uninterruptedly powered web servers (computer) to keep your website live on the world wide web. Web hosting service is necessary to publish your website on the internet.
Why do you need it? If you want to own your website then after buying a domain name you need a web hosting service that would store your website data and deliver it to the end users as and when requested by them.
Most hosting services also provide other services like Content Management System (CMS), security solutions, and various addons to simplify and enhance website development and management.
You may compare web hosting service in the real world with renting a space to live.
Working of Web Hosts
Although it is not necessary for website owners to know the internal functioning of the webhosts, yet it is always helpful to have some insight to be in a better position to choose and get most out of the web hosting service.
Web hosts basically maintain web servers which are a special kind of computers having high reliability, speed and memory at physical places called data centres. The web servers hold your website’s data and keep it live and retrieve it when some user requests it through the website’s user interface. As in the case of usual PCs the web servers consist of hardware and software combination. The hardware is very highly sophisticated as advanced storage and data processing is required. The software used as operating system (OS) is usually Linux with a special and simple user interface developed by the respective web hosting company itself and Windows is offered especially if required.
The functioning is same as that of a regular personal computer (PC) when you use it to retrieve data stored on your hard disk. The webhost remains in touch with the website owner through its UI.
The webhosts these days apart from hosting also offer other services such as content management system(CMS), security solutions, etc to simplify website keeping for the owners without requiring them to have advanced technical knowledge. These services require them to keep some further hardware and software components.
Types of web hosting services
The web hosting companies offer several kinds of web hosting. They are basically different levels of service in terms of quality and quantity. We are describing the prominent types.
Shared Web Hosting
This is the simplest form of hosting. Shared means that your website will share the server with other websites. A real world example would be of two or more persons sharing a rented room using its space and other resources one after the other.
It is perfect for you if you own a blog that has normal traffic. It is inexpensive and beginner friendly. But the downside is that it has no root access, limited control and other websites you share the server with may affect your performance and security too.
Virtual Private Server(VPS) Hosting
This is similar to shared hosting except that your website will be allocated a dedicated space on the shared server. It is like renting a private room in a building.
In this way, you have better control,root access into the server, and better performance and security without interference as in case of shared hosting.
The downside is that it is more expensive and thus suitable for advanced needs. Also you should have some technical knowledge to get full out of the control and root access you get.
In dedicated hosting, you are provided a whole server dedicated to your website.It is same as renting a complete building as living space.
In this way you get the maximum access, control, flexibility, security and performance. You can also install your own software on the server. It is really expensive and suited for ultimate needs. Also, good technical knowledge is required to manage the website.
Comparison between different types of hostings
A special kind of web hosting service where several servers store the data and act as one system to manage the website traffic. If one server is down, the other functions. In this way there is no downtime for the hosting service. It is suitable only for the giants which have huge traffic and cannot afford even a minute’s downtime. This service uses pay as you go model which means that the user will pay depending upon the resources it uses rather than a fixed amount for a period.
It is not a distinct type of hosting but a variant of the above hostings which offer root access. Since root access requires technical knowledge for management which all webmasters may not possess, the hosting services offer managed hosting which means they’ll handle all what a user needs to do. Apart from managed and unmanaged hostings, there may be a semi-managed hosting in which you need to learn to use the application only.
Website development and management requires HTML coding. Since it cannot be expected for all website owners to learn coding or hire a coder, companies offer their Content Management System(CMS) that simplifies the process through their user interfaces while abstracting the coding process. Hosting companies usually offer their own CMSs but the best and the most popular CMS turned out to be WordPress. Hence the hosting companies began to offer hosting services specially adapted for the WordPress platform. The WordPress hosting variant is customised for WordPress websites and would offer better speed, security, support and updates for it. It doesn’t mean that you cannot use normal web hosting for a WordPress website but the WordPress variant of web hosting would offer extra benefits specific to WordPress websites. Also note that WordPress variant would overlap with other hosting types discussed above.
Web Hosting Providers
There are several companies that offer web hosting services. The best and the most popular worldwide and especially in Europe are bluehost, siteground, hostgator, hostinger, dreamhost, godaddy, etc. Google also offers hosting in association with other web hosting providers.
Bluehost is a reputable name in the web hosting market, it has many customers worldwide, millions of domains are hosted on Bluehost, It is worth mentioning that WordPress itself also recommends BlueHost.
Site Ground has an identity in terms of its service, trust and security, Its customer service is also very popular, which is why it is considered reliable outside the USA, especially in the UK / Europe. Read Full Review
Hostinger excels at its service and uptime, beats rivals, both cheap and good, a must try.