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If you’re new to the world of web hosting and looking to start a new blog, there are many different types of packages available to choose from, ranging from simple shared hosting plans to fully-managed WordPress hosting.
But what are the differences between the various types of web hosting and what do they all mean?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about understanding web hosting packages. We’ll also talk about why it’s important to choose a web host that’s right for you and what you can expect when it comes to hosting costs.
What is Web Hosting?
There are literally billions of websites on the internet (yes…billions with a B), but they don’t just magically appear. They have to be hosted somewhere.
Web hosting is the service that makes your website live online.
A web host simply rents out space on their servers to consumers. Your website will be located on that space, and your server will allow you to update and publish any content that is hosted there.
Hosting companies offer space for storing data like pictures, videos, and documents, and they usually come with some software, like a CMS (content management system), that makes it easy for you to set up a blog and edit the site’s content.
🏆 Need hosting? Check out our list of best web hosts for bloggers
What is Web Hosting vs a Domain Name
Web hosting is the service that allows a business or individual to publish content on the web.
A domain name is a URL that is used to identify a website. This is the address of your website that people use when they want to visit it, similar to how they would address a business or personal address.
Domain names are owned by businesses or individuals to identify their websites, while web hosting is a service provided by web hosting companies.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
When you make an Internet request (like visiting a website), your computer makes a connection to a web server that has been assigned to serve up the requested content.
Your browser requests a web page, and the server sends back the page it was assigned.
The web server is also assigned to store your site’s information, which means that all the files of your site are stored on the web server.
This is the most basic way to explain how web hosting works, but there is much more to it all than this elementary example.
📖 Read our guide about how to host your website
Types of Web Hosting
Now that you know what web hosting is, it’s time to take a detailed look at the different types of web hosting available.
Nowadays, the most common web hosting is shared hosting, which is the most cost-effective.
Shared web hosting is server space that multiple customers can use to host their websites.
The downside of shared web hosting is that you share the resources of the same server with other customers, which means that the performance of your website could suffer.
If you decide to go with shared web hosting, make sure you get a server that provides adequate resources to run the websites you are planning to host.
Dedicated web hosting is a service that provides a fixed number of resources (RAM, processing power, storage space) to a single customer and does not allow any other customers to share those resources.
Dedicated web hosting can be quite costly because the costs of the hardware and maintenance are not shared with multiple customers.
However, the benefits are many: you get your own web server with no other customers using it, and you have peace of mind knowing that everything is running smoothly.
If you’re looking to host your website, but don’t want to be responsible for any technical support, managed web hosting is the way to go.
Managed web hosting refers to the practice of having web hosts handle all of the technical details involved in maintaining a website.
This means that they do things like install and configure software, set up databases, and keep the site up and running. You don’t need to worry about a thing.
The website is typically managed via a control panel that has built-in tools to monitor and manage your site’s security and performance, among other functions.
A cloud web hosting service is the same service you would receive from a traditional web hosting company, except everything is hosted on a virtual server.
A virtual server is a software program that mimics the function of a real computer’s physical hardware, including the hardware components such as CPU, RAM, disk space, network connection, and operating system.
This means you get the full capabilities of a fully-fledged computer server, but you don’t have to pay for the equipment, the monthly cost of electricity and maintenance, or other associated costs.
How to Choose a Web Host
Choosing a hosting company that meets all of your needs can be time-consuming.
The following guide will help you understand the features you need to evaluate before choosing where to host your website.
What features should I consider when choosing a hosting company?
There are many features you need to consider when choosing a web hosting company, but two of the most important are price and reliability.
Price is obviously important, but it’s not enough to base a decision on. You need to know if you will receive service that will allow you to reach your goals, which means a reliable and high-quality service is essential.
As the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for.’
This means that cheap web hosting might be fine if you’re just starting out, but if you have any ambitions to grow your online business, you’ll need to look for a more reliable and advanced solution in the long term.
One of the most important factors when choosing a web hosting company should be how fast the customer support response time is.
If you have a major issue with your site, you most certainly will not want to wait days for a response to your ticket.
Make sure your host has an excellent reputation for not only responding quickly but also for being able to solve problems swiftly.
The price of a hosting service is largely determined by the cost of the hardware and software they use.
The faster the CPU, more RAM available, and better the storage the more expensive your hosting package is going to be.
That said, the speed and performance of your site will be increased which should translate into happier visitors and better ROI for your business.
The amount of bandwidth a web host allows you to use is just how much data can your site send back and forth to visitors each month.
Many cheap shared hosting companies will offer ‘unmetered’ or ‘unlimited’ bandwidth to their customers.
This may sound enticing, but often a limited amount of higher speed bandwidth is more beneficial than unlimited bandwidth shared with others.
Every web host will offer you a certain amount of storage for your site. How much storage you need solely depends on the size and quantity of files you plan on storing.
The need for storage will naturally increase as your site grows, so keep this in mind as your business expands.
If you are paying someone to host your site, you want the site to be accessible all of the time day or night.
Almost every web hosting company will claim somewhere between 100% and 99.95% uptime, so I recommend doing some research on forums and user-generated review sites to see how past and current customers feel about the uptime guarantees of a particular hosting service.
Websites come under attack more often than you may think, and good web hosts are prepared to fight off these invisible foes on your behalf.
Any hosting company worth their weight should always be up to date with the latest available software patches and security protocols
Make sure to read up on the security measures a potential web host employs, and look for bonuses such as free malware removal before making your final hosting decision.
If you already have a website and are looking to move to a better web hosting solution, then it would be wise to review the website migration policies of any potential host.
Manually migrating a site isn’t all that difficult, but it can be time-consuming, so make sure to find a host that will handle the migration for you or at least provide you with a tool to assist in a manual migration.
Who are the most Popular Web Hosts?
There are the big guys, like GoDaddy and HostGator, and then there are the hosts that bloggers prefer.
Below is a list of some of the most popular web hosts in the blogging community:
How much should web hosting cost?
One of the most common questions you will be asked is how much web hosting should cost.
There’s no right answer to this question because there are so many variables that could affect the price, including features, speed, reputation, and more.
But, it is a good idea to get a sense of the ballpark price range for hosting.
Cheap shared hosting can start as low as $1.95 per month while dedicated hosting solutions can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars monthly.
In conclusion, the choice of which web hosting service to purchase is one of the most important decisions that you can make in relation to your business.
The right host is essential for the success of your website.
The web hosting package that you purchase can have a big impact on your site’s speed and functionality.
When starting out, consider a plan that provides a balance of cost and value.
Don’t forget to take advantage of free trial offers and compare features and pricing on multiple providers to ensure you find the one that meets your needs.