The basic infrastructure that puts your website on the internet
If you’re researching ‘what is web hosting’ you’re probably trying to understand how to start building your website. Web hosting is a must-have when it comes to getting your website live. We’ve put together this article to help you understand what web hosting is, why you need it and how hosting providers like us, can help you get up and running.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is an online service that allows you to publish your website files onto the internet. So, anyone who has access to the internet has access to your website. In practice, it usually refers to the service you get from a web hosting provider like one.com.
While you can theoretically host an actual server for your website at home, relying on a web hosting service provider offers lots of benefits.
How does web hosting work?
In summary, companies like us rent out services and technologies to host your websites on the internet. Once you’ve chosen your domain name and signed up to a hosting plan, then your website is accessible on the internet.
When you use web hosting services, your web host is responsible for making sure your server is up and running. Not only that, but it is also a hosts job to prevent any security breaches and store all your files, assets and databases onto the server.
If you choose one.com to host your website, we offer many other services to enhance and protect your site.
What types of web hosting are there?
Most web hosts will offer different types of hosting and each will vary in cost. It all depends on your websites needs. We’ve compiled a list below to help you understand, which type of hosting is best suited to you.
Shared hosting is when a web hosting provider hosts a number of different websites on the same server. It is the most affordable form of hosting because you share the same server, so you split costs. If you are looking to start a blog or have a business that’s just starting up, then shared hosting is a good option.
In the past, sharing a server could lead to problems where a spike in traffic or resource usage from a single site would slow down its “neighbouring” websites. However, these days web hosting subscriptions come with a generous amount of resources that ensure good performance.
WordPress Hosting simply means hosting that has been optimised for WordPress on a server level to ensure smooth sailing.
How is WordPress different from regular hosting? While details vary by provider, most WordPress hosting packages offer these common traits:
- Simple one-click installation that avoids the dozen or so manual steps in configuring a new WordPress site. At one.com, WordPress installs automatically in under a minute.
- Server configurations optimised for faster loading of WordPress sites. This could include performance cache optimisations and other tweaks.
- Security measures to protect against common WordPress vulnerabilities. As WordPress powers over 30% of the web, it regularly comes under attack. You might also come across “Managed WordPress”, which often refers to a pre-defined secure environment that restricts usage of unsupported or vulnerable plugins.
WordPress hosting can run on a shared, VPS or dedicated servers.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. Like shared hosting, websites that run on VPS share a physical server with other websites. However, each VPS tenant has its own partition with guaranteed dedicated resources. There’s often more memory, storage and processing power available – with a price tag to match.
VPS hosting is recommended for highly experienced users with server management skills. VPS customers have root access to their partition and can configure their server software, for example Ubuntu, CentOS or Windows Server. This provides a high level of customization to run web apps built for those systems.
You might come across “Business Hosting” or “Premium Hosting”, which are generic terms that some hosting providers associate with VPS Hosting managed by their in-house experts. However, levels of support, subscription details and prices vary significantly, so make sure you research these services thoroughly before signing up.
Dedicated hosting means you have the entire server to yourself. It gives you access like a VPS, but you don’t have to share the server with other sites or apps. Effectively, you are leasing a physical web server housed at your service provider’s facility. You also have professional support and expertise on hand when needed.
This top-end web hosting is only warranted for highly demanding enterprise-grade websites. Small and medium-sized businesses do not need to spend thousands each month to rent a dedicated web server for their business.
These days, cloud hosting has become a bit of a nebulous term. So, we would strongly recommend looking closely at what you are getting if you are signing up for “Cloud Hosting”.
In the beginning, “cloud hosting” referred to a VPS setup scalable to multiple servers; this way, if your web application had a sudden traffic spike, the system would be able to provision more resources and keep things running smoothly. Cloud hosting would have a more variable pricing model and fluid specs as a result.
However, as the popularity of cloud computing has surged, some companies have started to co-op the term for their regular shared or VPS hosting. Other providers like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure offer cloud computing services, which usually include cloud hosting in an array of other advanced tools for cloud-based operations. While possible, hosting a typical website with one of these “hyperscalers” operating millions of servers can present a high technical hurdle
What is the best web hosting service?
Web hosting offered by service providers like one.com come with a variety of specifications and packages. Here is what to look out for when you’re shopping:
- Any limitations on bandwidth and traffic; some web hosts charge extra once you hit a certain number.
- Built-in Website Builder or one-click WordPress installations that make it easy for you to get your website online quickly
- Generous amount of storage, especially nowadays with big media files taking up lots of space.
- Email hosting bundled with your website hosting plan. Many providers charge extra per email account or email hosting in general.
- Variety of domain registration services that make it a one-stop-shop. Having your domain registered with one provider and hosted with another is a hassle.
- Great customer support that’s available when you need it. As an example, one.com offers 24/7 chat support in many languages.
How much does website hosting cost?
Your website hosting cost will vary by provider. Technically you can use a free web hosting service, although, we do recommend avoiding them.
Free vs Paid web hosting
By opting for free hosting, you may encounter problems such as unwanted advertising on your page and their domain name in your URL. When you pay for web hosting, you are in full control of what content is on your website.
There are numerous reason for why you should choose paid web hosting over free web hosting:
- Bandwidth & disk space – Free web hosts will give a lower bandwidth and limited disk space to their users. Paid web hosting can offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space.
- Content limitations – Unlike paid web hosting, with free hosting the number of images and videos you can upload, is limited.
- Security breaches – Paid web hosting usually comes with much higher security. By using a free web hosting provider, you have a higher risk of a security breach. this means your customer’s credit card information and other data can be stolen.
- Domain name & URL – Free hosting providers will give you a domain name, with their name in your URL. When you use paid hosting providers, you will get a custom URL and can choose your domain name.
- Server speed – Free web hosting servers often overload, which means you may have to wait through a few hours of scheduled downtime. Paid hosting providers offer high-speed drives, with guaranteed uptime.
Where do domains come into the picture with website hosting?
Let’s think of your website as a house built from individual files. The web hosting is the land the house (website) is on, and the domain is its address. When someone types in the domain name into their web browser or clicks a web link, the domain is the means through which the browser locates the right server and downloads the website files.
Learn more about what domain names are and how they work.