If you’re actively trying to understand what web hosting is, then you’re likely looking to build your own website soon. Like domains, web hosting is an absolute must-have for anyone who wants their website found on the internet.
Read on to understand why web hosting is important, how it works, the different types of web hosting, and how providers, like CLDY, can help you get started.
What is Web Hosting and Why Do You Need It?
Web hosting is a service that lets you rent server space to store your website data, including your CSS and HTML files, as well as media content. To make all this content accessible over the internet, the server automatically sends these files to a user who types your URL into a browser.
Now, some people choose to do self-hosting. As the name implies, this means an individual or organisation sets up and manages its own web servers. But because of high resource consumption and overhead costs, most businesses turn to web hosts.
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What to Look For in a Web Hosting Package
The primary role of web hosting providers is to offer data storage. They do so in the form of different packages. The higher the storage capacity, the higher the costs.
But storage space and price are just two factors to consider when choosing a hosting package. Some features to look out for include:
- Uptime. Online users want everything fast, so any second of downtime spells bad news for your business. Reputable web hosts advertise 99% uptime—and mean it. To achieve this, they should deploy 24/7 server monitoring and immediate backup solutions in case of any issues.
- Ease of use. There are some hosting management functions, like managing your SSL, installing WordPress, and setting up your email, —that can be done on your own. That said, your hosting interface should be user-friendly. Otherwise, you are going to find yourself calling your web host’s support line every now and then.
- Security. Cybercriminals are the biggest threat online. So every website owner should take it upon themselves to secure their sites. One important step is to partner with a web host that prioritises security.
Apart from firewalls, backups, and SSL, it’s good to research a company’s history for any security breaches as well.
- Scalability. Going online is just the first step. Growth is the next best thing your business will want to accomplish, and your web hosting provider should be able to provide room for that. Check if your web hosting partner provider offers VPS or cloud-based hosting solutions. These services allow you to easily upgrade without the hassle.
- After-sales support. Sadly, a majority of hosting providers over-promise when trying to sell you a product —and then leave you to fend for yourself afterwards. Make sure your hosting provider offers skilled and responsive support. They should also provide different contact options, such as phone, email, or chat.
A bonus feature to consider is location. Ideally, you’d want your web servers to be within the same geographical area as your site visitors. For example, a Singapore-based business would want to partner with a Singapore web hosting company as well. Not only is it easier to meet their working hours, but data centres closer in parameter result in faster website loading times.
Expecting visitors from the other side of the globe shouldn’t deter you from hosting locally as well. Most hosting companies offer a CDN (content delivery network) with their hosting packages. The CDN works by caching your website and storing it on servers around the globe. This setup ensures your website is speedy, no matter where your visitors are accessing it from.
4 Popular Types of Web Hosting
Organisations have different website needs. Fortunately, there’s a web hosting setup there ready to meet those needs.
Let’s explore the popular types of web hosting, and their differences, below.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is the most popular hosting type for website newbies. As the name implies, the setup sees multiple websites using the same hosting server. Each customer has an allocated number of resources they can use, and these are usually indicated in the hosting package.
Naturally, first-time website owners flock to this setup because of its price. But while shared hosting is a great money-saving option, it does have its drawbacks.
For one, you have no idea with whom you’re sharing resources. So if you happen to be hosted with another website that gets a traffic spike, the entire server slows down, which in turn slows down your website too. You’re also more vulnerable to security breaches. If the server or any website in the shared environment gets hacked, every website becomes at risk.
Shared hosting also has limited resources. So if you’re looking to add advanced features to your site, your hosting setup might prohibit you from doing so.
Who is shared hosting for? If you’re on a budget, have a small audience, and are still looking to dip your toes in website building, then shared hosting could be a viable solution in the meantime.
2. Dedicated Hosting
On the opposite end of shared hosting is dedicated hosting.
Unlike shared hosting, dedicated hosting is all about exclusivity. You rent the entire server all to yourself, and you have exclusive use of all its resources. Your provider works to build a bespoke hosting solution—where you indicate the amount of CPU, RAM, and disk space needed.
Some of the benefits you can enjoy from dedicated hosting are reliability, control, and security, to name a few.
Server management won’t be an issue either. If you opt for managed dedicated hosting, your provider takes charge of building and maintaining the server.
That all said, it shouldn’t come as a shocker to hear that this is the most expensive type of hosting. So, it’s not always a feasible solution for smaller companies.
Who is dedicated hosting for? Mid to large companies that process large amounts of data (or traffic) can benefit from a dedicated hosting setup.
3. VPS Hosting
Virtual Private Servers or VPS splits a powerful physical server into multiple “virtual” layers. These partitions allow each user to install their own operating system and software.
Now, the term “private” might sound counterintuitive, as you’re technically still sharing a single machine. But unlike shared hosting, where resources are shared equally across each user, a VPS gives you more than just a slice. You get dedicated resources all to yourself.
Simply put, VPS hosting delivers the benefits of dedicated hosting at a budget-friendly price. It also happens to be the go-to hosting type for businesses that have outgrown their shared hosting plan.
Who is VPS hosting for? VPS costs more than shared hosting but considerably less than dedicated hosting. So it’s an ideal step up for growing websites and online stores that regularly experience traffic spikes.
4. Cloud Hosting
The three previous hosting types mentioned are often classified as “traditional” hosting methods. This simply means that your website (and web files) get hosted in a data centre.
Cloud hosting is quite the opposite. Instead of being stored on a single server, your web files get distributed across several servers. This not only minimises downtime in case of a server malfunction, but it also allows you to access your files from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.
A service provider handles the setup and maintains the cloud infrastructure, as well as security and maintenance. In some cases, cloud providers let you customise hardware and applications. This frees you from the hassle of setting up and managing your server infrastructure.
Cloud hosting is cost-effective as well. While it typically costs more than shared or VPS hosting, it still provides excellent value for your money.
You see, scalability is one of the great hallmarks of cloud hosting. Organisations can scale up or down on demand. Whether it’s storage, bandwidth, or processing power, cloud hosting makes it easier than ever to modify server resources.
Who is cloud hosting for? Cloud hosting is for anyone who has outgrown their shared hosting plan and is looking for a more scalable solution than VPS. It’s also for businesses who want to leverage the benefits of dedicated hosting but lack the technical know-how.
Ready to choose the best web hosting provider for your business?
Now that you understand how web hosting works as well as the different hosting types, it’s time to start looking for the best provider to partner with.
To start, make a list of your business and website needs. Determine your budget, goals, and features you’d like to see on your site. For example, you may want to launch an online store, so you might as well look for a web host that offers good e-commerce functionality. This includes one-click app installation and robust online security measures.
Finally, ensure that you get the support you need. Your web host should be able to provide all these, and more, to help you achieve growth online.
At CLDY, we have a solution for everyone. From hosting setups for small-scale businesses to enterprises looking to launch the next big thing. View our hosting solutions today to get started.