What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting, to put it simply, is where your website will sit on the internet. Most of your current files (documents, pictures, software etc) are sitting there on your personal computer/laptop. Only you can access them, right? If you wanted to show those files to other people, you’d have to send the files to those people.
Well, think of web hosting as sending your ‘files’ to a whole lot of people. Your website is the ‘file’ and essentially it’s being put up on the internet for people to view. So instead of having to send complex website files to people in order for them to be able to see your website, they’re able to simply type in your website URL and view it all there! As an example, my website URL is www.WebsiteSetup.org
Image from executionists.com
Pretty neat, huh?
Why do I need web hosting?
I pretty much covered this in the previous section, but here’s another explanation of it. Web hosting allows you to put your content up on the internet; it allows everyone to view what you upload on there, whether it’s a professional website, a blog, or just some pictures. Instead of sending files to people, it allows you to host those files online, so other people can access them. So in terms of a blog, instead of writing the documents offline and having to send them to everyone, people can simply read them online – easy.
Oh, there’s also the fact that if you had to send the documents to everyone, you wouldn’t find many people reading it! Because the internet is so open and can be accessed by anyone, it allows people all over the world to read your blog. Having web hosting means all those potential readers will be able to view your blog, even when you’re asleep.
It makes sharing content (your website) VERY easy.
As always, there’s also a down-side of using web hosting: It will cost you some money. Prices can vary a lot from $2 per month to $500 per month, but I’ll explain everything in the next paragraphs. In short, without web hosting you won’t be able to set up your website for others to read & browser. Yes, that awesome webpage that you just created will sit on your laptop/PC, but only YOU can see it. Thus, you’ll need a hosting.
What are the different types of Web Hosting? Which one should I choose?
That’s a tricky question. It all comes down to one simple question: What are you going to be using it for?
Are you setting up a business website? Running a blog? Showing a bunch of photos (thinking of making the next Instagram)?
First off, there four main hosting solutions – Shared, Dedicated, VPS and Cloud hosting.
Not only does it depend on what you need the hosting for, a lot of it depends on your budget as well. As you can imagine, shared hosting is quite a bit cheaper than dedicated hosting, so it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and figure out which one might be best for you.
Well, I’m about to explain the pros and cons for you, so all you really have to do is read them, and then choose one. Easy, right? Let’s do it. I even put together an infographic that perhaps gives you a better overview:
Prices vary from $2 to $25 (per month).
This is the most classic and most popular hosting plan along most people on the world. The main reason why people pick this plan is that they actually don’t need more than that. It’s also usually the cheapest hosting option.
It’s very similar to living with your friends in one apartment. Like sharing your kitchen facilities for making food, using one internet provider and watching one televisor.
What it means is that you’ll share all your resources with each other, such as data, CPU time, memory and disk space. If you are lucky (99% you are), you should be fine with that. However, there are some rare cases when someone is using a lot of resources and thus your site speed will go down a bit. If that’s happens, it’s usually wise to get in touch with your web hosting support and tell them your problem. If you are lucky, you’ll be moved to another “room”.
Shared hosting is easy, to put it simply. It’s very affordable and easy to start. There’s no complications or really complex setting up. It’s considered the entry level option for people looking for hosting, since it requires the least amount of tech knowledge and financial investment.
The issues with shared hosting however, are based around the plain fact that you don’t have control. You don’t control the server or its performance (could be seen as a plus for those of us who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about anyway), so for those of you who know server stuff, this might be a severe restriction.
Recommended hosts for shared hosting:
VIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVER (VPS) HOSTING
Prices vary from $10 to $70 (per month).
Now, VPS is very different. This one’s more like owning a condo. So you’re still sharing and playing nice with the others in your place, but you’re responsible for what happens and keeping everything patched up.
There’s a lot less sharing because there’s less people, and you have separate allowances each. The CPU time and memory are still shared by everyone, but you also have a chunk of both of those allotted just to you.
Virtual Private Server hosting is more powerful than shared hosting, since everyone gets a nice private virtual server each. So technically, you get a nice chunk of server space etc for yourself. That’s a nice step up from the shared hosting option.
So even though technically you’re on the same physical machine as others, you have your own little space – so no sharing with others. This usually means a better performance and faster loading speeds.
But, you’re paying for that private space. You’ll find it quite a bit more expensivethan shared hosting. But if you’re looking for your own little space on the internet, VPS hosting is a good consideration.
Recommended hosts for VPS hosting:
Prices vary from $60 to $1700 (per month).
Now we’re talking. So you want to own your own house? No problem. That’s what dedicated hosting is all about. All the resources belong to you now. You don’t share resources like CPU time and memory with anyone else, and there’s no one else’s accounts on your hosting (unless you let them, of course, but that’s another post for another time).
About the cost, well you can probably find the cheapest dedicated hosting starting from $50, but this can go up to $500 as well.
This is the most popular, and the one most entrepreneurs and people who are serious about websites use. It gives you full control. You control everything that goes on. So if you’re looking for maximum control over things, and great performance from your server, this is where you’d like to be.
However, make sure you bring your wallet. It’s the most expensive option. And if things goes wrong, it’s on you. Call up that IT buddy of yours, because you just might need him at some point if things go south. Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for with dedicated hosting.
While the freedom is great, it comes with the issues of freedom; namely, your stuff is your responsibility, and no one else’s.
Prices vary from $1.60 to $170 (per month).
Cloud hosting is an entirely different animal. I guess you could say it’s a little like renting. With normal hosting, you get a machine that gives you resources, like memory and CPU time. With Cloud hosting, you don’t have a machine. Your hardware is virtual, which brings a whole host of cool benefits. It’s pretty advanced and can be pretty cost efficient when compared with the other types of hosting, but it’s definitely something that is trending on 2015 and beyond.
Of all the hosting options we’ve talked about, cloud hosting is by far the most scalable and efficient. With cloud hosting, you only pay for what you use. So for example, let’s say your blog had a fantastic month where you got double, no, triple the traffic than it usually does.
The server starts screaming because it can’t handle that much loading. With cloud computing, the server doesn’t just pack up and run. You can simply ask for more server space and bandwidth. It’s flexible, and that makes it very cost effective. Rather than paying X amount each month for an amount you may never even reach, depending on your goals, simply pay for cloud hosting and only pay for what you use.
It’s similar to pay as you go compared to a monthly phone contract. Pay for the minutes you actually use, not a big bundle that costs a lot more.
Again, there are negatives to this option as well. It takes advanced knowledge in terms of IT, so be aware of that when considering cloud hosting. Unless you know what you’re doing, it could get pretty confusing.
The other negative, which is widely discussed, is that cloud hosting is potentially insecure. Hotly debated, there is the consideration that your servers are all hosted in the ‘cloud’, meaning in virtual space. That could leave it open to cyber-attacks, some suggest. It’s an arguable point, one to be considered when choosing hosting.
There are your options. Which will You choose?
So there you have it; the pros and cons of each type of hosting. I know, it’s a bit to take in. I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to decide, pointing out the obvious pros and cons of each.
It’s up to you to decide what your needs are. If you’re planning to build a huge blogging platform where thousands of people are going to visit each month, you might want to consider dedicated hosting or cloud hosting, due to the demand you’re going to have. For more information about different hosting companies, feel free to check out web hosting reviews on HostingFacts.com
However, if you’re just starting up something smaller, why pay an arm and a leg for what you don’t actually need? Grab some shared hosting or even VPS hosting, and save yourself some cash.