The time you are here, you might have browsed thousands or even millions of websites in your life. Do you know how a website works? What are the role of a web hosting and a domain name for running a website? This article explains the web hosting basics and you will be understanding what is web hosting and it’s importance in running a website.
What is web hosting?
In simple words “A web host is a computer machine which stores and serves your website data”. So, now your question will be “is it a computer like mine?” It may or may not be like your computer.
Even you can turn your computer to a web server if you have some technical knowledge. You require a static IP, internet connection and some configuration to run a website on your PC that is accessible to the public(It’s not suggested for a long run!).
But, if you are running a business or personal website which requires high reliability and features, you may need to find a professional web hosting provider who takes care of all the server side configurations and smooth running of the server.
Basically, a web host or web server is a computer machine which is connected to the internet and stores all your website files such as HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, images. These files are served by the computer machine upon request by the client over the internet.
Difference between web host and data centre
We will be using the terms web host, web server, data centre etc. throughout this website. So it is better you to know what these terms mean.
A web host/web hosting/web server refers to the server or computer which stores your file and deliver to the public on request. We even refer a company which provides the web hosting facility by using the terms web host or web hosting.
Whereas a data centre is a facility where the web server is situated. Data centre normally refers to the building infrastructure where a number of servers located with all dependent facilities. This will include multiple connectivities, power options, cooling systems, security devices etc.
Apart from a web server, you need a domain name to start your website.
In the following section, we will check how does a website work!
How does a website work
If you refer the below image, you will see four components in it. The client, DNS server and Hosting Server
Hosting Server : As I mentioned above, Hosting server is the computer system which stores all your files.
Your Computer : The computer from where you are accessing the website. Normally referred as the client.
DNS Server : DNS refers to Domain Name Server, Which maps a domain name to IP
When you enter a domain name into your browser, the browser will send the request for the data into the internet. However, to find the data, your computer needs an IP address. Here comes the importance of DNS server. The DNS server maps the domain name of a website to the corresponding IP address. This IP address will be your server address where the files are stored. Upon request, the web server responds with the data requested by the user and the client side browser will show the result. All this happens in a fraction of second depends on your server capability!
Different types of Web Hosting
When you navigate into a web hosting provider, you will see different types of web hosting plans. Generally, there are five different types of web hosting plans. Some providers have even more than five types of web hosting that are categorised based on the optimisation or restriction on the access level and usage.
The main four web hosting configurations are Shared hosting,Reseller web hosting, VPS hosting and Cloud Hosting.
Read our 16 tips for choosing best web hosting before you select a web hosting plan.
Now let’s have a look into the main difference between these web hosting types.
Shared Web Hosting
As the name states, A shared web hosting is a type of web hosting where one server is shared among different users. As the server resources are shared among different users, the cost involved in managing web server also shared. As a result, the person who buy a shared web hosting plan needs to pay very less money while comparing with other plans.
This is a web hosting plan that is recommended for beginners. As the server resources are shared among different users, you will get a lower share of server resources. The websites that require huge power may not be hosted on shared server. As well as, you need only minimum technical knowledge to host a website on a shared server.
Reseller Web Hosting
This is a variation of shared web hosting plan. The main difference between a shared web hosting plan and a reseller web hosting plan is, in reseller web hosting plan, you can create multiple control panels for managing different websites which is not possible in shared hosting.
This is not required if you are going to host your very own websites. The reseller web hosting is good for the designers or web developers who need to give different control panels for their clients. The reseller web hosting helps the people to start their own web hosting company very easily.
Please note, even with shared web hosting plan you can host multiple websites unless until your web hosting provider restricts. But, all the websites you host on the site will have one control panel login instead of multiple logins.
Virtual Private Server (VPS Hosting)
VPS is another web hosting service offered by web hosting companies. Here a physical server split into different logical parts each of which can run a copy of operating system.
It’s similar to a dedicated server. However, the performance will be lower as the physical hardware shared among different VPSs. The user will get super user access to this server and the user will be able to install any software that supported by the Operating system.
It is suggested to purchase a VPS hosting plan for your site if it requires more resource than a shared hosting can handle as well as for an increased security. There are managed and unmanaged VPS service available from different web hosting providers. If you are comfortable managing a server, you can go ahead with an unmanaged VPS as it will cost you lesser than that of managed hosting. The root access will help you to install and customise the required software for your website or web app.
Dedicated Server Hosting
In the case of dedicated servers, the entire server will be dedicated to one client. No one else will be utilising the resources of the server that is allocated to your site. You will have full control over the software and hardware of the server in this case. Dedicated server ensures the high performance and security for your web apps.
This will be costlier than shared or VPS hosting plans as the resources are allocated fully for your site. This configuration requires for high-traffic websites and businesses.
Cloud Web Hosting
Cloud is a recently introduced technology where the load is balanced between multiple servers. A group of servers will be interconnected to host multiple websites. When there is a traffic spike in a website, the load will be distributed among all the connected servers.
This technology helps you to host a high traffic website at a lesser cost than handling a dedicated server.
Hosting Band Width and Disk Space
Disk space and bandwidth are the two terms often heard with a web hosting package. When you see the term Disk space on the hosting features, it refers to the amount of disk space you can use with your hosting package. Please note that most of the sites don’t require unlimited disk space. If you see an unlimited disk space feature with a web hosting provider(There are many!!), you should check their terms of service to know the actual limit!.
The feature ‘Bandwidth’ often referred in the web hosting site as the amount of data you can transfer in your account. This limit is mostly calculated for the month. For example, your web host may limit you to transfer up to 50GB data(This is the limit in my hosting plan) per month. Generally, the term bandwidth refers to the rate of data transfer. but in the case of hosting most of them refer it to the amount of data you can transfer in a month!
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Signing off Basics of Web Hosting
At Your Best Host, we share web hosting information. I hope this article help you to know basics of web hosting. There are many features and terms that needs to be explained more. We will be sharing those information regarding web hosting in upcoming articles.
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