If you’re thinking of building your own website, one area that can often prove to be a stumbling block is web hosting. Here we’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about this mysterious part of owning your own site.
What is it exactly?
An easy analogy is to compare web hosting to your own computer. You have many files and folders stored on your hard drive and web pages are really no different to those, they are just files too. The key difference is that these are files that you wish to be seen by everyone who wants to see them.
In order for this to happen you’d need an extremely high spec computer connected to the web via a powerful link. This is generally referred to as a web server and they hold a number of different pages that collectively form individual websites.
Why do I need it?
As we mentioned above, in order to serve your pages to the general public you would need a very high spec machine with a fantastic Internet connection for it to work properly. Your home computer set up is likely to be nowhere near powerful enough to cope with any volume of traffic, which is why web hosting companies came to be. They own numerous high spec, powerful machines that can easily cope with traffic loads, allowing you to show your web pages to the world.
Is all web hosting the same?
Unfortunately not, and this is where many users become confused. Let’s take a look at the most popular types:
This is probably the most popular type for first timers as it is often the cheapest way to get a website up and running. The web host offers shared hosting and one server distributes the hosting between a number of different websites. The downside is that shared hosting can prove to be troublesome if you expect high volumes of traffic to come to your site as they are generally not equipped to cope with such demands.
Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting. One server will deal with your site and yours alone, giving you the freedom to do as you wish with that server. You have full control and many dedicated servers are held on-site as opposed to a data centre owned by the web hosting company. Dedicated hosting is for the big boys, so it shouldn’t really concern someone who is just starting out.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting
VPS hosting is really a combination of the two hosting options mentioned above. A dedicated server is still used, but by a set number of users. The web host, say Host1Plus VPS servers for instance, splits the server into designated sections, which allow better control than shared hosting without the expense of the purely dedicated option. This type of hosting is popular with medium sized businesses as well as those who expect high volumes of traffic right from the day they launch.
So there you have it, a rundown of what web hosting is, why you need it and the different types available to you. Running your own website is an extremely enjoyable pastime and, if you can attract a big enough audience, it can also bring in some spare cash too.