If you want to launch a website, an e-commerce site, or web software, you will certainly need web hosting. The service is often misunderstood, or not understood at all.
So, what is web hosting? What is this for? Do you need it? In the following lines, we will answer all these questions and much more.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the service that allows websites or web applications to be accessible online.
It is the process of permanently storing files, data and content of a web project on a remote server that remains connected to the Internet at all times.
This ensures that visitors can access your web project at any time, simply by entering its URL address into their web browser.
To provide this service, web hosting providers offer specialized servers designed specifically to store and serve web projects.
These servers are hosted in highly secure data centers equipped with advanced cooling systems, backup power sources and high-speed Internet connections.
In addition to the original storage capabilities, web hosting also includes various features such as efficient database management, efficient email service management, security measures as well as reliable technical support when needed.
You can view it like traveling outside of your city or country, and you decide to spend a week at a friend’s house or in a hotel.
Your friend or the hotel is therefore your host, the fact of being hosted at their home or the hotel comes with a range of advantages, for example access to a bathroom, toilets, etc. however in the hotel you may not have access to a kitchen if you want to prepare your own etc.
Thus, your web project, whether it is a website, e-commerce site, tailor-made web application, etc. also needs to be hosted in a place in order to be accessible to the world.
This place is a computer called a server, the main characteristic of which is that it is always on and connected to the internet so that your web project is operational 24 hours a day.
As in the example above, if you want to cook during your stay, you will prefer to go to a friend’s house or rent an apartment.
Your web hosting should vary depending on your needs, and you will need to choose the right type of web hosting.
What is a Web Server and How Does it Work?
Web servers are powerful computers specially configured to store different types of web projects. Web servers can be located anywhere, even at home or in your offices, however, they are generally located in data centers.
Data centers are secure spaces, equipped and designed to promote the best possible performance of these computers.
When a user types a URL into their browser, the web browser sends a request to the web server associated with that URL.
The web server then processes the request, locates the requested file, folder, or resource, and returns it to the user’s browser for display. This entire process takes place in a matter of milliseconds, and is often seen as an instantaneous page load.
Web servers have unique IP addresses, and each URL typed into a web browser is connected to an IP address.
These allow web browsers to locate them on the Internet. Examples of popular web servers are Apache, Nginx, Microsoft IIS, and LiteSpeed.
The presence of a web server is therefore inevitable for any website or web software, since it guarantees the continuous availability of online content, and allows visitors to interact with the different pages of your website.
What is a Web Project?
A web project can simply be a static web page, a simple or well-developed website, an online store or even a multifunctional interactive web application.
All of its different types of web projects are in reality one or more folders which contain different files, which contain computer code.
This computer code can be in different programming languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP, PYTHON, Dart (flutter) etc., no matter the programming language used, the principle remains the same.
To therefore provide access to your website or web application, you will need to make it accessible at all times on the internet, and this is why you need a web hosting service provider.
Depending on the size of your project and the bandwidth that you need for your website to function there are different types of web hosting that you can purchase.
The Different Types of Web Hosting?
There are several types of web hosting options available depending on specific needs, including shared hosting; dedicated hosting, VPS Hosting (Virtual Private Server) to say private virtual server and cloud hosting (which is not in the clouds as its name suggests).
Shared Web Hosting
This is the most popular type of hosting because it is affordable and meets the needs of the majority of small websites .
This is a computer where several websites share the resources of a single physical server (computer).
In addition, it is easy to use and the complete management of shared servers is taken care of by the hosting provider, so users never have to worry about technical maintenance.
However, the disadvantage is that if one of the hosted sites experiences a large increase in traffic slowing down the server, all other sites hosted on the same server will be affected.
The same goes for a major security breach. Although each website has different directories, if one website causes a security breach that allows the server’s main directory to be reached, all other sites on that same server can be attacked.
The main appeal of the shared hosting plans is that they are way cheaper, because you share the server with other website hosts. This is more affordable than other web hosting plans that web hosting companies offer where you have your own server where you just host a website and your files.
This is good for because it lowers the barrier of building a website and allows website owners to have minimal costs at the beginning.
This is the type of hosting where you have complete control of an entire server, so you can administer and manage it however you want.
As a main advantage, you have better performance since server resources are not shared with projects outside of your control. However, the cost of its servers is also higher.
It is therefore your responsibility to manage and maintain it properly, so all aspects of security and management are your responsibility, which requires a certain technical expertise.
This type of server is used by companies that have specific needs in terms of performance and customization, and that of course have the technical resources to be able to manage them.
VPS or Virtual Private Server Hosting
This is an intermediate web hosting solution that falls between dedicated web hosting and shared web hosting.
Hosts have a physical server which they divide into several independent virtual servers with the concept of virtualization.
This allows each of its virtual servers to be isolated from the others, and have their own resources, storage and other resources.
This offers greater customization and security control and resources than shared hosting, and it is more affordable than dedicated hosting.
Its main disadvantage is the same as that of a dedicated server, because technical knowledge is required to manage and administer it.
This type of server is a good choice for sites or web applications that require a little more resources and control than shared hosting can offer.
So there is a network of 7 clouds that enable you to host your website and it’s data… no wait, it’s a joke.
But it’s a solution that can be very convenient and is very powerful. Actually, it is a network of several virtual servers, all connected to each other and hosted in different data centers around the world.
These virtual servers operate as a group, much like an army, which allows your web projects to have the resources of a group of servers rather than a single server.
These servers are governed by remote software, and all this allows for better scalability and flexibility to make complex changes to your hosting infrastructure needs.
If you have a web project where you receive 10,000 visits per month with cloud hosting of 5 GB of memory, for example, and your project evolves to receive 100,000 visits per month, you will need to increase your capacity in terms of memory.
With the cloud, you can, in just a few clicks, increase your memory according to your preferences and make it effective in a few minutes.
You can even automate this type of infrastructure modification given your ideal desired configuration.
For example, you can make sure that when you reach 11,000 visits, you want to increase your automatic memory capacity to 10 GB and so on.
We should also mention that if you have a hobby website or some website idea you want to test you can go for free web hosting. There are few popular free hosting platforms like Wix, Weebly and Freehostia, but they all come with some limitations.
Of course it’s not the best web hosting out there, but it’s good for testing your business website idea. Also, many of these websites offer website builders along with their hosting account, so it comes as a handy try-out tool.
Web hosting is indispensable part of having an online business and you should think about what kind of hosting of you want. It comes in various shapes and forms and the prices are different depending one hat you choose.
It’s always wise to think ahead and get a bigger web hosting for your website so you can have more visitors in the future. In any case it’s not something that is written in stone and it can be changed. It’s important that you re aware of it and plain it in your growth strategy.
If you need help with hosting your website or you are not sure which one to choose feel free to contact us for a fee consultation.