Web Hosting Beginners Guide – Top Questions and Answers for 2020

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It is very common that people who are developing a website or thinking about doing so, have some doubts about hosting. There are many technical terms and a number of options, which makes the subject more difficult.

In this article, you will understand the key terms technically used to host a website with a provider – that is, make the website available online and there make it accessible to the world. We believe that this may help you in finding the best hosting service for your site.

You’ll understand what hosting is, what domain is, what types of hosting are available, how to choose the best provider and other information. Check out!

1. What is hosting?

Put simply, hosting is a virtual environment used to store all the files of a website and make it accessible over the internet. A website consists of a series of files, such as texts, images, and codes, which together forms the pages we are used to seeing on the internet. Hosting, which covers a number of features, is rented by hosting companies, also called hosting providers.

What is hosting provider?

A hosting provider (also called a host) is a company that provides the technologies and services required for websites to be available for access on the internet. Sites are hosted or stored, on special computers called servers.

Most hosting companies require you to have your own domain to publish a website. Anyone who does not have a domain can register one through an entity such as enom.com or by a hosting company, which often offers free domain in the hosting plan.

2. What is domain?

The domain is the web address of a website, a set of words that netizens put in the browser to get to the desired site. For example: nestify.io.

Knowing how to choose a domain is very important, almost as much as your own brand. It needs to be easy to remember and written, and be available at .com or at least at some of the most common extensions.

If you have a brand but do not yet have a website, it is worthwhile to register your domain anyway. First, to ensure exclusivity, since third parties could register this domain before you. Second, because your domain can be used in company emails (ex: contact@yourdomain.com), giving more credibility to your business.

How to register a domain?

Registering a domain is relatively simple: just enter the site.com (or any hosting company), check the availability of the domain you want, fill in some data and buy it for a cost starts at $ 30 a year.

There are a variety of extensions (Top Level Domains or TLDs), in addition to the traditional “.com “. These extensions are the terminations found to the right of the point in the web address (.net or .io, for example). It is possible to acquire domains for individuals and legal entities, with generic endings (e.g., .com and .net), for universities (.edu), for professionals (.adv), NGOs (.org) and so on.

It is always better to register a domain with only “.com”, which is widely used in the world and refers to any business entity. The domain may also have an extension referring to the country of origin of the domain. In India, for example, it is “.in”, in the UK, “.co.uk”, and so on.

However, attention: It is very important to think about the best domain option for your business, since the extension, in addition to defining the type of business, will also help people to memorize the website address. Investing in “.com” is highly recommended as it is the most popular extensions around the world. Registering more than one extension can also be a way to protect your name from third-party use.

3. What is a DNS?

At some point, you will also wonder what DNS is. This is the acronym for Domain Name System, a standard protocol that translates IP addresses into domain names. Because IP addresses contain numbers, they would be very difficult to decorate, so you have to turn them into the domain.

Let’s say that DNS is like a phonebook for the internet. If you know a person’s name, but do not know their number, you can simply look it up in the phone book, right? DNS works on the same logic: it relates the domain typed in the browser to the IP of the machine where the site is hosted.

If you registered your domain in one company and want to host the site in another, you will need to know the DNS of your hosting in order to point the domain to it.

4. What are the types of hosting?

After understanding the difference between domain and hosting, we can now talk about the main types of hosting that exist today in the market.

Shared Web Hosting

The shared hosting is ideal for individuals and small businesses, seeking online presence but do not have a big budget. It has a more affordable price just because there is a single web server sharing between multiple sites.

In shared hosting services, an individual server caters to different hosting accounts. In most cases, each account has an allocated amount of resources, such as disk space and bandwidth. This type of hosting plan is suitable for institutional websites, personal or small electronic trades.

In some cases, because of shared resources, abuse by one site may affect all sites hosted on the same server. To avoid this kind of problem, companies monitor servers continuously and act quickly in these situations by removing the site that has crossed the boundaries.

Dedicated Hosting

As its name implies, dedicated hosting allows individuals and businesses to lease the entire server on an exclusive basis. With dedicated hosting, you can select your operating system, customize the software and make all the settings according to your needs.

With hosting on dedicated servers you can also have advanced control over the server without the need to invest in your own equipment and infrastructure. Dedicated servers are most popular among high traffic websites, e-commerce, gaming sites, video streaming and other sites and applications that consume many resources.

Being dedicated, this type of hosting requires specialized professionals in server management. For this, it is possible to hire a specialist or rely on this service from the hosting company itself. Management can be hardware, software, or both.

Hosting in the cloud

With advances in cloud computing technologies, the hosting in the cloud has emerged as a solution in an effective and good quality cost. Unlike shared and dedicated hosting servers, cloud hosting is done through multiple servers that act as a single system, connected to each other.

A cloud hosting server is more stable because of load balancing, higher security features, non-dependency on a single server as a point of failure, and also the ability to increase or decrease server resources according to your needs.

Cloud hosting services are usually charged based on usage and it is easy to scale your costs according to your website traffic needs. In simple terms, people who stay in the cloud pay only for the resources they use, such as the electricity tariff, for example (according to consumption, the bill goes up or down monthly).

VPS Hosting

The VPS or Virtual Private Server is a type of hosting intermediate between shared and dedicated. It has some features of a dedicated, with regard to advanced permissions and control of the hosting environment. On the other hand, the environment is virtualized and works inside a physical server, shared with other VPSs.

VPS is less expensive than a dedicated server but superior to shared hosting. Because of these features, VPS is ideal for sites and applications that need a configurable environment but do not necessarily consume many features. You’ll see VPS plans with robust features, but you may also see lower VPSs than a shared hosting.

As a resource-rich hosting, high traffic is supported by a VPS.

Reseller Hosting

Resale is suitable for people who wish to start their own hosting business or web design and development agencies who host their customer sites. In reseller hosting you can divide the resources into distinct plans and sell them to your customers, relying on the services and technology of the hosting company. No investment in infrastructure is required.

Usually hosting companies offer management and financial panels that allow you to issue invoices (charges) to your customers, with their own brand and prices. They also usually make available other products for resale, such as domains, for example.

5. What are the key technical terms around hosting websites?

In addition to knowing the types of website hosting, it is important that you know some technical terms used by companies and professionals that offer these services.


The bandwidth is directly related to a number of visits the site receives. The more visitors a site has, the greater its traffic consumption on the hosting. Code-optimized sites consume less hosting features and therefore support a greater number of visits. In addition, this limit does not take into account traffic peaks, but a constant traffic.

In general, each hosting plan comes with a defined traffic limit. Some specify the bandwidth, others the number of visitors. Some companies sell unlimited traffic, which in turn also has its limitations. About this, read our post: Unlimited Hosting – understand what you’re taking.


A subdomain is a branch of the domain and is often used for blogs and virtual stores that are “attached” to the main site, which works in the domain. Therefore, if the main site is nestify.io, the blog.nestify.io would be a subdomain.

In addition to bringing a pleasing aesthetic to pages, subdomains help users identify where the site is (by viewing the URL in the browser) and also help the administrator measure the number of visits in each area. In place of the subdomain, a folder could also be used, thus:  nestify.io/blog.


Redirection is one of the most versatile tools within a hosting service. As the name says, it is possible to redirect a page to an address in its own domain or to an external domain.

For example, it would be possible to direct www.mydomain.com to www.yourdomain.com. Or, you could redirect a page that no longer exists to a substitute page within the same domain. Another very common situation would be to have two equal domains, one “.com” and another “.co.uk” and redirect the secondary to the principal. This would ensure that the user would find your site, no matter which of the two domains they typed.


The storage capacity of the provider (or server) is commonly called disk space. It is the space that determines the number of files that can be stored in the hosting. Usually, space is measured in Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB) – 1 GB equals 1024 MB, and 1 TB to 1024 GB.

Some companies offer unique disk spaces for the website, email, and database. Others offer a single space to be shared across the hosting account. There are even companies that offer unlimited disk space. In this case, it is important to know that this space must be compatible with a personal or small business website, and it is not allowed to use the hosting as a file repository.


FTP is the acronym for File Transfer Protocol. It exists to facilitate access to files from the site and speeds up the process of passing these files to a hosting service. As a more technical tool, it is used by designers and developers. More lay users can use the file manager, offered by hosting companies.

File manager

The file manager is the basis of managing a website. It is possible to manage the folders and files that make up the site structure. It is also in the file manager that downloads, uploads, deletions and file changes are made. It is a more user-friendly version than FTP, for non-technical users.

To get even deeper into the technical language of the website hosting universe, visit our WordPress Hosting Glossary from A to Z!

6. What is the ideal hosting plan for my site?

We have come to one of the most frequent doubts for those looking to host a website: how to find out the ideal hosting plan for the site. 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 build small or large? Think about the number of pages it will have: up to 10? More than 10? And more: how many images, videos, and audios are available on your site? Answering these questions will help you define the size of your site. Look:

A small or medium site can be hosted on a shared hosting, especially if it is optimized. This type of hosting is the most popular and caters to the largest 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. In some cases, the VPS may serve, but you must evaluate it very carefully.

Plan expected traffic to your site

In most cases, website owners expect to receive a lot of traffic, a lot of visitors, right? So before you even put your site up, you should estimate this traffic – every time page loads, it uses some of the hosting server’s features. Look:

A blog or website with low to a moderate number of 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 it is very likely that the site will be down. Sites with high traffic or traffic peaks must be hosted on Cloud or on dedicated servers.

It is very important to properly estimate the features of your new site or closely monitor the consumption of your current site. This care will make all the difference to prevent unavailability or slow navigation – which would detract from your brand image and Google’s own rankings.

Find out if your website has or will have a virtual store

Another very important point to consider when choosing the hosting is whether the site has or will have a virtual store. In this case, the hosting needs to offer the SSL security protocol and the dedicated IP.

These two technical details are important 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.

For websites that have virtual sales, the hosting plan varies by store size. Those containing a few product pages can be very well served by a 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.

7. How to evaluate and choose a hosting company?

To make an effective evaluation of the companies that offer web hosting services note the following points:

What you should know about hosting company

  • Brand Reputation in the Market: What do customers say about it, what is its size and how does it position itself?
  • Support: What channels do they use to support their customers? What are the service hours? Is the support provided in your language?
  • Management: How is the control panel for the site administrator? Is it easy to understand and navigable?
  • Guarantees: Does the company offer refunds, in case you become dissatisfied with the service? Is there a free trial period?
  • Uptime: Does the company offer a server availability guarantee of over 99.5%? Is this promise fulfilled in practice? What do customers say about this technical detail?

What you should know about hosting plan

  • Disk space: What disk space is offered in the plan? Is it enough for the size of your site (or the size you want it to have in the near future)?
  • Data transfer: what is the bandwidth limit of the plan? Does it meet the current number of visits (or do you want to have it)?
  • Platform: Is the hosting offered Linux or Windows?
  • Email: How many email accounts and what storage space is offered in each account? Does this number suit all users you have / will have?
  • Extras: Is there a site builder? Does the plan offer features like private SSL and dedicated IP?

What are the services provided by hosting companies?

Now let’s talk a little about the services you can expect from a website hosting company. Following are the main ones:

  • Domain register;
  • Website hosting;
  • Hosting streaming;
  • Reseller hosting;
  • VPS Servers;
  • Dedicated Servers;
  • Website creator;
  • Customer support.

8. What are the differences in Linux and Windows hosting?

Web hosting plans can have their servers run by different operating systems – they can be Windows or Linux. But what are the differences between them? It is necessary to know the characteristics of these operating systems to choose the most suitable for the hosting of your site.

The main differences between Linux and Windows servers

There is one obvious difference between Linux and Windows platforms: The operating system. Technically speaking, while Windows servers run a version of Internet Information Services (IIS) software, Linux servers are configured with the Apache server and can run one of the several distributions (CentOS, Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc.).

It is important to say, however, that the server operating system has no relation to that of the computer. Thus, you can host on a Linux server even if you use Windows to create the site. What changes are just some functions.

In a simple way, websites created in PHP (ex: WordPress) run better on a Linux hosting, although they work in Windows. Already sites built in ASP or .NET need a Windows hosting to work, because they are languages from Microsoft.

If you need to hire a hosting and are in doubt about what to choose, ask the support company. They can help you choose the best option. If you have hired a specialist to create your website, it can certainly help you with this choice.


A professional website is indispensable for companies of all sizes in all business segments and also for professionals and entrepreneurs in general. It is simply a matter of existence. Today, the internet has become the main means of communication between people, governments, NGOs and businesses around the world.

A study by Gartner has already shown that the internet outperformed television in the audience – 82% of respondents said the global computer network is more important than traditional media.

There are several ways to have a website, and in some cases, you will not even have to deal with the subject of hosting (as it happens with site creators, who already come with the hosting included). Even so, it is valid to know a little about this universe, since it will become part of your day to day life, as your site grows and is successful.

We hope this article has helped you to solve your questions about hosting! If you want to register an opinion on the subject or ask a question, leave your comment here.

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