To be visible to the world, your Web Site has to be hosted on a Web Server
This is a very detail guide for users who wish to learn about the science behind website hosting. Tutorial covers all the basics of web hosting - what web hosting actually is, how to choose a web host and more. There are a number of different types of web hosts. Depending on the size of your business and your business priorities, you can choose the most relevant type of web host. At the left navigation menu you will find links to additional useful articles for web hosting. Enjoy the reading. If you have additional questions, ask our 24/7 support. We are constantly updating that section with new tutorials. Bookmark the permalink as future source of information.
Subtopics covered in this tutorial:
Web hosting meaning
Web hosting is an essential service for anyone who wants to set up a website. Without a web host, you cannot share your website with any users. It basically provides all of the services and technology that is required to get your website onto the internet. Such services include:
- Domain name registration. For example Your-Great-Site.com.
- Domain name configuration for serving a website such as http://Your-Great-Site.com.
- Issue of SSL certificate which to secure the website.
- Providing of website building tools or auto installers for different Blog, eCommerce or CMS systems.
- Building personalized mail accounts like My-Name@Your-Great-Site.com.
- Others extras - backing up of important data online, support chat, voice services and so on.
Different hosting companies providing different sets of features. Whatever you operate a site for personal or commercial purposes, the reliable web hosting service is an absolute must! The next lines of the article offers a variety of advices. They will help to choose web hosting, suitable for your needs.
Web hosting technologies
According to the technologies used, web hosting is divided into two categories - Linux Hosting (a.k.a. Unix Hosting) and Windows Hosting. Linux hosting means hosting of web services that runs on the Linux operating system. Windows hosting means hosting of web services that runs on the Microsoft Windows operating system. The latest technology surveys show that 70% of all websites on the internet use linux hosting. The tendency shows that in next few years web sites on Windows hosting will be less than 20%. Probably in next decade will not have websites on Windows. This is confirmed by Microsoft's plans for expanding the Linux support under Windows. So if you decide to start building website today - choose Linux hosting.
Choosing Windows hosting will put your website at risk from lack of platform, that support technologies as ASP or Microsoft Front Page in near future. Don't forget that Microsoft Front Page last release was during 2003. Then Microsoft stopped the development of the technology. At the moment you can find several old fashionable companies who support it. But most of reliable hosting providers, removed it from their plans before many years. Most probably the destiny of ASP (Active Server Pages) will be the same.
Linux hosting support all state of art technologies for building web sites as PHP, MySQL, Ruby, Python, Java, Scala, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and much more.
Free web hosting?
The web hosting is not all the times comercially purchased. You can have your own web hosting for free. Almost every computer with internet access can be converted into web hosting server. Of course if you have deep technical knowledge on your end. No matter of your knowledge, maintaining of your "free" server will cost you money for the hardware, for the electricity bill, for the internet taxes and etc. On the other hand, reliable web hosting for feature-rich web sites is expensive and would require complex setup. In other words, everything depends on your needs and abilities. Free web hosting is best suited for small sites with low traffic, like family sites or sites about hobbies. It is not recommended for high traffic or for real business. Free hosting has many disadvantages:
- Don't have guaranteed uptime. Your website can be unaccessible with hours or even days.
- Usually cannot use your own domain name. You have to use a name like http://192.168.10.14/yoursite.htm. This is hard to type, hard to remember, and not professional.
- Don't have SSL certificates for securing the website.
- Don't have personalized email boxes.
- Limited or no database support.
- No technical support and etc additional drawbacks.
It's highly recommended to read next section of the article and to choose other type of hosting. These types of hostings haven't the drawbacks of free host.
Web hosting different types
Depending on website needs have several types of hosting - Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated Cloud and Dedicated server. Here's more about the different types of web hosting:
The biggest downside of shared hosting is performance. Due to sharing a server with other customers, performance of your website could be impacted by other customers' websites. For example If your site sharing a server with a high-traffic website, it can affect performance of all websites on the server.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting divides a server to smaller pieces. These pieces are named virtual servers. Each customer have own virtual server. On this small server is installed own operating system. Unlike shared hosting, VPS doesn’t share memory or processor time. Here everyone have allocates certain amount of memory and CPU to use. That's means the problems inside VPS on the same physical server will not affect other customers. Each websites is like hosted on own dedicated server. But they’re actually sharing a server with a few other clients. The users have root access to their own virtual space and better secure hosting environment. That hosting is suitable for websites that need greater control at the server level, but don’t want to invest in a cloud hosting.
Dedicated Cloud Hosting - the newest and most reliable type of hosting. Cloud hosting offers unlimited ability to handle high traffic or traffic spikes. Here’s how it works: a team of servers (called a cloud) work together to host website or bussiness application. This setup allow you to scale your resources near to infinity. The cloud servers are builded on the top of high availability infrastructure. This give you huge security and stability. If one of the physical servers is compromised, the infrastructure automatically switch on another server that’s running properly. In this way the guaranteed uptime is 99.9999. Another advantage of cloud servers is the sliding pricing format, where you pay only for necessary resources.
Dedicated server - This kind of hosting, single dedicated server is setup for just one customer. It is commonly used by the businesses that have special requirements about control and security. This is the most expensive, but unreliable form of hosting. These days, where cloud hosting dominate, to rely on a single device is ridiculous. Hardware failures can leads to data loses or interrupt the services for hours or even days, until the failed part is replaced. The troubles does not end here. Usually broken parts are replaced with new versions of the parts. The new hardware versions, require new drivers and software configurations. In order to make the necessary changes, you will need very deep knowledge or you will need to hire IT engineer. Our recommendation is to avoid this type of hosting.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of web hosting. The technologies behind it and how it can benefit your own website of them. Before you choose your web host, make sure that:
- The hosting type suits your current needs. Be realistic. Don't expect miracles from your hosting provider. It will make everything possible to provide best quality of service for the money. But you can not expect to host big website with many visitors on shared hosting plan for few bucks. As bigger is your site, the hosting costs will also increase. This is normal. Don't be angry if you need to upgrade to higher plan.
- Think about the future. Choose hosting which allow you to grow. Otherwise your business will be impacted. Imagine the situation where you created an online store. The store is growing, you have many new customers. Then you have to stop the business growth, because you are reached the hosting limit. It will not be good? This is real example in case that you weren't chosen the good hosting.
Takes top quality web hosting on special price! It will enable you to apply everything learned in this tutorial.
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