Web Hosting Solutions Defined for BeginnersPosted on 25 April, 2013 by Boney
If you?re confronting the world of web hosting for the first time, chances are you have a few questions about this elusive industry. This post will help answer some of the most common questions raised by web hosting newbies.
What is Web Hosting?
First of all, let?s define what the term web hosting means exactly: In essence, web hosting is a service that provides individuals and organizations the chance to have their website reachable over the World Wide Web. Basically, when you use a web hosting service, you are renting a place for your website on the Internet, and the web host you use is like a landlord of sorts (providing routine maintenance and security).
With web hosting, your site gets placed on a server within a large data center; this makes your website live and available to anyone who surfs the Internet. Placement on a server (one you either purchase or lease from a web host) is essential to locking down Internet connectivity for your site.
What is a Server?
Servers seem intangible because unless you?re in the hosting industry you?ll rarely ever see one. However, servers are physical computers or computer hardware systems that provide file sharing to other computers on the same network. The computer that demands files from the server is called the ?client.? Basically, the home or office computer you use to access a certain site is the client, and the middle man is the web browser you use to get there.
Most web servers are hosted in a data center, which is basically just a single location used to house multiple servers. The closer your target audience is to the data center or server in use, the more quickly your site will load for that audience.
Common types of servers are:
– Online game servers
– Web servers
– FTP servers
– Proxy servers
What Do Web Hosts Provide?
In addition to placement on a server, web hosts provide server uptime, which makes the sites they host available on a network. You?ve probably seen the term ?server down? when you can?t access a site you?re trying to get to. Although a down server is usually a big no-no in the industry, it?s usually due to routine maintenance being conducted by a web hosting provider.
Maintenance is an integral part of web hosting, but secondary to that is probably the security a web host provides to its clients. Security measures include the ability to encrypt important personal data or business information (often employing the use of an SSL certificate). An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a cryptographic way of communicating sensitive information securely.
In addition to security and maintenance, web hosts provide a selection of hardware and system resources you?d be hard-pressed to obtain and monitor on your own. Like proper disk space and bandwidth.
What are the Different Types of Web Hosting?
Choosing your route in the web hosting market is going to be tough if you don?t know the basics of the main options available in the industry. Below you?ll find explanations for the three most popular types of web hosting plans.
Shared hosting is the least expensive, and that?s because the website you host on a server is sharing that server with many other websites; this means your site is also sharing resources along with all the others.
The upsides to a shared hosting plan:
– It?s cheap
– Easy to use
– Hosting companies regularly offer discounts for shared hosting
– All management of hardware and software is conducted by the host
– Easy-to-install program options for blogging and chat forums
And the downside to shared hosting:
– Others on the server could max out resources, causing your load speeds to slow
– Security could be compromised with so many others on the server
– You?re unable to install or manage anything yourself on the server as the root user
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
With VPS hosting you are ?virtually? getting a private server for your site. You don?t get the whole thing (see dedicated hosting), but you do get a portion of it to use as your own.
Some of the benefits of this include:
– Full root access
– East-to-scale resources (you can add and take away resources as you need)
– Hosting provider manages all hardware
– Cost-effective solution if you want a root level access hosting solution
And the downfalls:
– Large amounts of virtual private servers can get costly
– CPU to RAM ratio is set in stone, and you can?t upgrade one without the other
– You?ll probably be responsible for software maintenance on the server
Dedicated hosting is aptly named because with it you get a complete server dedicated to you and your needs alone. All the resources are yours to take advantage of.
The perks include:
– Far-reaching configuration options
– Performance is consistent
– It?s way easier to diagnose problems that occur on the server
– Hardware is managed by the hosting provider
And the pitfalls:
– It?s expensive
– Requires a highly refined knowledge base in the technical field
– Software and OS is your responsibility