Those embarking on Website development or contemplating it often grapple with uncertainties concerning web hosting. The profusion of technical terminology and hosting options intensifies this subject’s intricacies.
Within this article’s scope, you will acquire a comprehensive understanding of the technical jargon linked to hosting a Website through a service provider. This process entails making your Website accessible online, enabling it to reach a global audience. Our objective is to allow you to make a well-informed decision when choosing the most suitable hosting service for your Website.
As you delve into this article, you will unravel not only the intricacies of hosting but also the meaning of a domain, the diverse hosting alternatives at your disposal, practical approaches to selecting the optimal hosting provider, and a treasure trove of other valuable insights. Dive in and enhance your comprehension!
What is Hosting?
Hosting is the virtual environment where all the files constituting a Website are stored, enabling Internet accessibility. These files, encompassing text, images, and code, collectively form online web pages. Hosting services provided by hosting companies offer diverse features and are typically leased from these companies. In today’s rapidly evolving hosting landscape, managed WordPress and serverless hosting options are gaining popularity, catering to various Website needs.
What is a hosting provider?
A hosting provider specializes in delivering the essential technologies and services that make Websites accessible online. Websites are usually housed on specialized computer servers. Modern hosting providers increasingly integrate artificial intelligence for security monitoring and predictive maintenance, ensuring Websites remain secure and perform optimally.
Many hosting companies may stipulate your domain’s need to publish a Website. A domain acting as your online address is pivotal in establishing your digital identity. Domain registration continually evolves, introducing new top-level domains (TLDs) and giving users a comprehensive range of unique and meaningful domain choices beyond the traditional .com or .net. These new TLDs can help align your Website with specific industries or niches.
What is a Domain?
A domain serves as a Website’s web address or URL, composed of a string of words or characters that users input into their web browsers to access a specific site. For example, “nestify.io” is a domain.
Choosing an appropriate domain is of paramount importance, comparable in significance to establishing your brand. It should be easy to recall, straightforward to spell, and ideally available with the .com extension or, at the very least, some commonly used extensions such as .net or .org.
If you have a brand but still need to create a Website, it’s prudent to register your domain. This secures exclusivity, prevents others from claiming the same domain, and enables your domain for company email addresses (e.g., email@example.com), bolstering your business’s credibility. This practice remains vital in today’s digital landscape, where a robust online presence is indispensable.
How to Register a Domain?
Registering a domain is a relatively straightforward process. You can visit a domain registrar like site.com or any hosting company, check the availability of the domain you desire, provide the necessary information, and purchase it for a starting cost of around an average of $30 per year.
There are a huge number of domain extensions, often called Top Level Domains (TLDs), beyond the traditional “.com.” These extensions, which appear to the right of the ‘dot’ sign in a web address (e.g., .net or .io), serve various purposes. Domains can be registered for individuals and legal entities, with generic endings such as .com and .net or specific ones for universities (.edu), professionals (.adv), NGOs (.org), and more.
Registering a domain with the “.com” extension is generally advisable, widely recognized worldwide, and suitable for any business entity. However, domains can also have extensions related to the country of origin, like “.in” for India or “.co.uk” for the United Kingdom.
Importantly, selecting the right domain extension is a crucial decision as it not only defines the nature of your business but also aids in memorability. Investing in a “.com” domain is highly recommended due to its global popularity. Additionally, registering multiple extensions can protect against third-party use of your brand or business name.
What is DNS?
DNS, or Domain Name System, is a widely recognized protocol for converting human-readable domain names into numerical IP addresses. IP addresses are composed of numbers, which can be intricate and complex for individuals to recall. DNS plays a pivotal role in the Internet’s infrastructure by translating domain names into IP addresses streamlining the navigation process on the web.
Think of DNS as akin to an Internet phonebook. Just as you can find a person’s contact number if you know their name, DNS connects the domain entered in a web browser with the specific IP address of the server where the Website is hosted.
Knowing your hosting provider’s DNS information is essential when you’ve registered a domain with one company and intend to host your Website with another. This enables you to direct your domain to the appropriate server. This approach is commonplace, particularly when individuals opt for domain registration and web hosting services from different providers.
What are the various hosting options?
After grasping the distinction between domain and hosting, let’s delve into the primary hosting alternatives available in today’s market.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared hosting is an excellent choice for individuals and small businesses aiming to establish an online presence without a substantial budget. Its affordability is attributed to multiple Websites sharing a single web server.
A single server accommodates multiple hosting accounts within shared hosting services, typically with allocated resources like disk space and bandwidth. This hosting plan is well-suited for institutional Websites, personal projects, or small-scale e-commerce ventures.
In certain instances, the shared resource pool may expose all hosted sites to potential issues caused by abuse from one site. To prevent such problems, companies maintain continuous server monitoring and respond promptly by isolating sites that exceed acceptable boundaries.
Dedicated hosting offers individuals and businesses the exclusive lease of an entire server, granting them complete control over its operating system, software, and configurations. This hosting solution is commonly preferred for high-traffic Websites, e-commerce platforms, gaming portals, video streaming services, and resource-intensive applications, as it provides advanced control and high-performance capabilities.
However, it’s important to note that the hosting industry constantly evolves, with advancements and changes in offerings and technologies. To ensure you have the most current information about dedicated hosting services, it’s advisable to verify with hosting providers.
Hosting in the Cloud
With the advancement of cloud computing technologies, cloud hosting has emerged as an efficient and high-quality solution. Unlike shared and dedicated hosting servers, Cloud hosting functions through a network of interconnected servers operating as a unified system.
Cloud hosting enhances stability through load balancing, robust security features, independence from a single server as a potential point of failure, and the ability to customize server resources to meet your specific needs.
Typically, cloud hosting services are billed based on usage, allowing you to adapt costs to your Website’s traffic requirements quickly. In simple terms, those who opt for cloud hosting pay only for the resources they actively use, resembling how an electricity bill varies monthly according to consumption.
It’s important to note that the cloud hosting landscape can evolve rapidly, including pricing models and service changes. Confirming details with well-established cloud hosting providers is advisable to obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information in 2023.
A VPS, or Virtual Private Server, represents an intermediary hosting solution positioned between shared and dedicated hosting. It inherits some characteristics from dedicated servers, offering advanced permissions and control over the hosting environment. However, it operates within a virtualized environment hosted on a physical server, which is shared with other VPS instances.
VPS hosting, also termed as white label hosting, is a cost-effective alternative to dedicated servers, providing a level of performance superior to shared hosting. Due to its unique features, VPS is particularly well-suited for Websites and applications that require a customizable environment but do not necessarily demand extensive resources. VPS plans are available in a range of configurations, including both robust options and more modest VPS instances, making them versatile for various hosting needs.
As a resource-rich hosting, high traffic is supported by a VPS.
Reseller hosting, also termed as white label hosting, is an excellent choice for individuals aiming to launch their hosting business or for web design and development agencies seeking to host their clients’ Websites. Within the realm of reseller hosting, you can partition resources into separate plans, which you can subsequently offer to your customers. All of this can be done by relying on the services and technology provided by the hosting company, eliminating the need for any infrastructure investment on your part.
Hosting companies typically furnish management and financial control panels, allowing you to generate client invoices under your brand and pricing. In addition, they commonly offer additional products for resale, such as domains, enhancing your reseller hosting capabilities.
Essential Technical Terminology in the World of Website Hosting
Beyond understanding the various types of Website hosting, it’s valuable to familiarize yourself with the technical jargon commonly employed by hosting providers and professionals in this field.
Bandwidth is intrinsically linked to the volume of Website visitors. As a Website garners more visitors, it consumes a more significant share of hosting resources. Websites with well-optimized code use fewer hosting resources, allowing them to accommodate more visitors. It’s worth noting that this measure doesn’t consider traffic spikes but rather a consistent flow of visitors.
Typically, each hosting plan delineates a specific traffic limit, which may be expressed in terms of bandwidth or the number of visitors. Some hosting companies offer plans with unlimited traffic, although these may also have certain constraints. For a more detailed understanding, refer to our article: “Unlimited Hosting – Understand what it is.”
A subdomain is an offshoot of the main domain and is often employed for elements such as blogs and virtual stores connected to the primary Website. For instance, if the prior site is “nestify.io,” then “blog.nestify.io” would represent a subdomain.
Subdomains serve a dual purpose. They enhance the visual appeal of webpages, provide clarity to users regarding the Website’s location (by examining the URL in their browser), and assist administrators in tracking the number of visits to each section. Alternatively, a folder structure could be employed in place of a subdomain, like “nestify.io/blog.”
Redirection is one of the most versatile tools offered within a hosting service. As the name implies, it allows you to reroute a web page to a different address within your or external domain.
For instance, you can redirect “www.mydomain.com” to “www.yourdomain.com.” Additionally, you can shift a page that no longer exists to an alternative page within the same domain. Another common scenario involves managing two identical domains, one with a “.com” extension and the other with “.co.uk.” Redirection ensures that users can access your Website regardless of which domain they enter.
Storage capacity, frequently called disk space, is integral to a hosting provider’s services. It determines the quantity of files that can be accommodated on the hosting platform. Storage is typically quantified in units such as Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB) – with 1 GB equating to 1024 MB and 1 TB equaling 1024 GB.
Hosting companies offer diverse storage configurations, which may be allocated for Websites, emails, or databases. Some providers provide a unified storage space shared across the hosting account. There are even hosting companies offering unlimited disk space. However, it’s essential to remember that this storage should be appropriate for a personal or small business Website and not intended for use as a file repository.
Cloud storage represents a technology that revolutionizes data management by providing the means to store and retrieve data and files via the Internet, thereby alleviating the dependency on local computer hard drives. Its utility spans numerous advantages, the primary one being the accessibility of data from any Internet-connected device. This makes it an indispensable solution for individuals and businesses that require ubiquitous access to their files.
Nestify provides cloud storage services and typically offers users a certain amount of complimentary storage space, with options to subscribe to paid plans for expanded storage capacity, catering to the diverse needs of users.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
FTP, short for File Transfer Protocol, simplifies file access from your Website and accelerates transferring files to a hosting service. It is a more technical tool commonly utilized by web designers and developers. Users less versed in technical matters can choose to employ the file manager provided by hosting companies.
The file manager constitutes the fundamental tool for managing a Website. It facilitates organizing and manipulating folders and files comprising the Website’s structure. Users can conduct downloads, uploads, deletions, and file modifications in the file manager. It offers a more user-friendly alternative to FTP, making it accessible to non-technical users.
For a deeper dive into the intricate lexicon of Website hosting, we invite you to explore our comprehensive WordPress Hosting Glossary, covering terms from A to Z!
What is the ideal hosting plan for my site?
One of the most frequent doubts for those looking to host a Website is how to find the ideal hosting plan. Follow these tips!
Find out what the size of your site is (or will be)
Respond quickly: Is the site you built or plan to make small or large? Think about the number of pages it will have: up to 10 or more than 10. And more: how many images, videos, and audio are available on your site? Answering these questions will help you define the size of your site.
A small or medium site can be hosted on a shared hosting, especially if optimized. This type of hosting is the most popular and caters to the most significant number of Websites worldwide. As we have seen, it is the cheapest hosting since it costs between $ 6 and $ 20 per month.
Sites with many pages and heavy files need a Cloud or dedicated hosting like Vultr. Sometimes, the VPS may serve, but you must evaluate it carefully.
Plan expected traffic to your site.
In most cases, Website owners expect to receive a lot of traffic and visitors, right? So before you even put your site up, you should estimate this traffic – every time a page loads, it uses some of the hosting server’s features.
A blog or Website with low to moderate hits can use a shared hosting service. A site that has many accesses or traffic peaks can quickly consume available resources up to the limit set in the hosting plan. When this happens, the site will likely be down. Sites with high traffic or traffic peaks must be hosted on Cloud or dedicated servers.
It is imperative to correctly estimate your new site’s features or closely monitor your current site’s consumption. This care will make all the difference to prevent unavailability or slow navigation – which would detract from your brand image and Google’s rankings.
Find out if your Website has or will have a virtual store.
Another crucial point to consider when choosing the hosting is whether the site has or will have a virtual store. In this case, the hosting must offer the SSL security protocol and the dedicated IP. These two technical details are because they guarantee the security of the data of the people who make purchases online (through encryption – coding information to be read only by the online transaction tools). Without this care, all the security of the information of the clients of the virtual store, as well as of the owner of the e-commerce, can be threatened.
In the case of sales made through a third-party payment tool (PayPal, etc.), this concern disappears because the transaction already takes place in a secure environment provided by these companies.
The hosting plan for Websites with virtual sales varies by store size. Those containing a few product pages can be very well served by shared hosting – always with dedicated SSL and IP. Those with medium and large virtual stores need more robust plans – VPS server, Cloud, or dedicated server.
How do you evaluate and choose a hosting company?
When conducting a thorough evaluation of web hosting companies, consider the following factors:
- Reputation in the Market: Examine customer feedback, company size, and market positioning.
- Support: Investigate the channels and operating hours of customer support. Is assistance available in your language?
- Control Panel: Evaluate the site administrator’s control panel. Is it user-friendly and easy to navigate?
- Guarantees: Check if the company offers refunds for unsatisfactory service and if a free trial period is available.
- Uptime: Scrutinize the company’s server availability guarantee, aiming for over 99.5%. Verify if this commitment is upheld in practice and consider customer feedback on this technical aspect.
Considerations Regarding the Hosting Plan:
- Disk Space: Analyze the offered disk space. Ensure it aligns with your site’s current size or anticipated growth.
- Data Transfer: Examine the plan’s bandwidth limit and whether it accommodates your current and future Website traffic.
- Platform: Determine if the hosting service is based on Linux or Windows.
- Email: Evaluate the number of email accounts and storage space provided for each account. Ensure it caters to your user requirements.
- Additional Features: Check for included services like a site builder, private SSL, and dedicated IP.
Services Offered by Hosting Companies:
Here are the primary services you get from a Website hosting company:
- Domain Registration
- Website Hosting
- Hosting for Streaming
- Reseller Hosting
- VPS Servers
- Dedicated Servers
- Website Creation Tools
- Customer Support
Distinguishing Between Linux and Windows Hosting
Web hosting packages often utilize servers with distinct operating systems, namely Windows and Linux. But what sets these two apart? Understanding their unique characteristics is vital in selecting the most suitable Website hosting platform.
Key Contrasts Between Linux and Windows Servers
The most evident disparity lies in the operating system itself. Windows servers operate on a version of Internet Information Services (IIS) software. In contrast, Linux servers are equipped with the Apache server and support multiple distributions like CentOS, Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu, and more.
It’s crucial to note that the server’s operating system is unrelated to the one used on your personal computer. It is feasible to create a Website on a Windows PC and host it on a Linux server. What distinguishes the two are specific functionalities.
In simplified terms, Websites constructed in PHP, such as WordPress, generally perform optimally on Linux hosting, although they are functional on Windows. Conversely, Websites developed in ASP or .NET necessitate Windows hosting because these languages originate from Microsoft.
If you find yourself in the process of selecting a hosting solution and encounter uncertainty, consider reaching out to the hosting company’s support team for guidance. Alternatively, if a web development specialist is crafting your site, they can offer valuable insights to aid you in making the appropriate choice.
A professionally designed Website is an essential asset for businesses of all sizes across various industries and individuals, including professionals and entrepreneurs. It is no longer a choice but a necessity. In today’s interconnected world, the Internet has become the primary means of communication for people, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses on a global scale.
A study conducted by Gartner has revealed a significant shift, with the Internet surpassing television in terms of audience engagement. According to the study, 82% of respondents acknowledged the Internet’s importance compared to traditional media.
While there are multiple ways to create a Website, some methods, such as Website builders, streamline the process by including hosting as part of their packages. However, it’s still valuable.
Also read: 15 Best Website Builders (Free and Paid)
What is the purpose of web hosting, and why is it essential for Websites?
Web hosting is a fundamental service that provides the base needed to make your Website accessible via the Internet. It encompasses the storage of your Website’s files, databases, and assets on a server.
What are the various web hosting options suitable for beginners?
Shared hosting is all about the sharing server resources with multiple Websites, making it budget-friendly and user-friendly. Other alternatives for beginners include VPS (Virtual Private Server) and dedicated hosting, which offer more resources at a higher cost.
How can I determine the most suitable web hosting provider for my specific needs?
Selecting the right web hosting provider requires a consideration of various factors, including your Website’s size, expected traffic, budget constraints, and technical prerequisites. It’s advisable to seek reputable providers known for their reliable services, responsive customer support, and uptime guarantees.