What is Hosting and How to Choose a Good Provider

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Introduction

Have you ever wondered where all the information on the internet is coming from and how it got there? That is made possible by web hosting, which is the process whereby one rents or buys space to house a website.

A web hosting service provider, or web host, is a business that supplies the services and technologies needed for the website or web pages to be viewable on the internet. Websites are hosted on special computers called servers.

When internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your domain or website address into their browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. Their computer will connect to the server, which will deliver the web pages on their browsers.

Let’s delve deeper into web hosting and how to choose a good provider.

What is Hosting?

Web hosting, or simply hosting, is an internet service that allows organisations, companies, and individuals to post a website or web pages to the internet for the consumption of web searchers or users. Websites need to rent or buy server space to house their websites and for their web pages to be viewable online. The server, which is housed in a datacenter, connects searchers or users to your website from anywhere in the world.

Essentially, a web host is a computer that gives your website a place to stay and will display the content of your website to whoever wishes to access it using your web address. To put it another way, all websites on the internet are located on servers throughout the world. A host is a company or service provider that organises large numbers of servers and will add your website to a server they have.

Should you host your own website?

Well, you can if you’re tech-savvy, otherwise, it will give you headaches. Getting a host is like delegating your tasks to other qualified employees or outsourcing some departments like marketing to other agencies so that you can focus on what you’re best at and save money in the long run.

Hosting a website by yourself needs an expensive server, constant power supply, power backups, a static Internet Protocol (IP) address (as opposed to your home computer’s IP, which is always changing), and regular hardware maintenance. An IP address address is a unique number assigned a device for all your online activities.

Web hosting requires extensive technical know-how, so I suggest that you choose web hosting services instead. This way, you’ll be free to do other responsibilities like creating content for your website.

What Are the Types of Web Hosting?

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is perfect if you’re a beginner or for entry-level web hosting. Your website will be stored on the same server as other websites, that’s why it’s called shared hosting. Here, all domains or websites share the same server resources, like CPU (Central Processing Unit) and RAM (Random Access Memory).

The sharing of resources allows for a lower cost of a shared hosting plan, making it a wise option for web owners who are beginners in the web hosting world, aside from the fact that shared hosting is the simplest method of hosting websites.

Shared hosting plans usually come with utility tools like website builders, email capabilities, and WordPress hosting, providing website owners with a simplistic approach to the web. The downside is the possibility of affecting your website’s user experience because of traffic surges. So, shared hosting plans are ideal options if your website does not receive a huge amount of web traffic.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS hosting is where each website has its own space on the server and also shares it with other websites. It provides more storage space and customisation capabilities than shared hosting, but it still cannot handle high traffic or traffic spikes.

VPS hosting is the middle ground between a simplistic shared server and a sophisticated dedicated server. It’s perfect for website owners who need more control than a shared server provides but less control than a dedicated server gives. This is an excellent option for advanced users and those who want package installations and specific software.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated server hosting provides control to website owners over the servers where their websites are stored. A website owner exclusively rents the server, and the website is the only one on that server. This provides the website owners with full root and administrator access so that they can control everything from the operating system to the security.

But these controls come with a price tag because dedicated servers are one of the most expensive web hosting choices. Website owners whose websites have high levels of traffic typically prefer dedicated server hosting. You need a high level of technical expertise for the installation and management of the dedicated server.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is increasing in popularity in the technology industry. It means several computers are working together, running applications utilising combined computing resources. It’s a hosting option that works through a network, enabling companies to consume computing resources like a utility. – I think this needs to be explained more clearly

Cloud hosting allows website owners to use as many resources as they require without building and maintaining their own computing infrastructure. The resources are spread across multiple servers, reducing the possibility of any downtime because of a server malfunction.

The important thing about cloud hosting is that it is scalable—you can grow your site over time, utilising as many resources as it needs, and paying only for what you need when you need it.

Managed Hosting

In managed hosting, the web host takes care of the day-to-day management of operating systems, hardware, and standardised applications. Managed hosting companies provide technical services such as:

  • Hardware and Software Setup and Configuration
  • Maintenance
  • Hardware replacement
  • Technical support
  • Patching (addressing bugs or flaws and fixing security vulnerability)
  • Updating
  • Monitoring

Managed hosting is a perfect choice for small businesses with limited IT employees, online stores with high traffic and require updated security features, and websites with substantial backend requirements.

Colocation

As opposed to keeping servers in-house or at a data centre, you can opt for “co-locating” your equipment by leasing space in a colocation centre, which provides the bandwidth, power, IP address, and cooling system that your server needs.

Colocation provides access to higher levels of bandwidth at a lower price. However, you’re on your own in taking care of everything, including software, hardware, and maintenance.

How to Choose a Good Provider or Web Host:

1

Disk Space

Disk space is the allotted amount of storage space, depending on the number of files, images, content, and overall data you plan on storing on the server. The typical disk space is a minimum of 20GB (gigabytes) of storage.

Uptime

2

Uptime is the amount of time that your website will be online or “up” on average. A 100% uptime is impossible because web hosts schedule downtime for maintenance. Not only that but also system shortages and accidents can happen. The industry standard is 99.9%.

3

Money-back Guarantee

Who doesn’t love money-back guarantees? Because all consumers love them, a lot of reputable companies—not just web hosts—offer them.

A web hosting provider who offers a money-back guarantee makes your choice feel less like a gamble. It also increases your confidence in them because it appears that the provider is confident in their services, making them willing to return your money if you’re not satisfied with the service.

User Reviews

4

Do your diligent research when choosing your provider. Check out user reviews to see each provider's pros and cons so that you can choose based on your website needs. User reviews are excellent guides because users were able to test the services.

Popular Providers or Web Hosts

Dreamhost

  • WordPress hosting from $2.59 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $2.59 per month.
  • VPS hosting from $10 per month.
  • Dedicated servers from $149 per month.
  • Cloud hosting from $4.50 per month.

Dreamhost manages its own control panel, making it one of the top website hosting platforms. It uses top-speed SSDs (Solid-state Drive) for its storage and has a free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for more secured internet browsing.

The company has a responsive live chat, although phone customer support is not available 24/7. It also offers a 97-day money-back guarantee, so there’s zero risk when you give them a try. Its pricing strategy is also transparent, and there are no hidden fees.

A2 Hosting

  • WordPress hosting from $2.96 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $2.96 per month.
  • VPS hosting from $5 per month.
  • Dedicated hosting from $99.59 per month.

A2 Hosting offers Windows and Linux-based servers, SSD, caching, and SSL on all plans, which offer malware scanning and automatic patching. It also offers HostGuard—a managed hosting service— and has a 24/7 support team.

Its pricing strategy has a caveat, though. One is you get hosting for $2.96 per month only if you pay $71 for a two-year service. Plan renewals are also at a higher rate. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, though you can request for a refund anytime after 30 days, which is going to be pro-rated.

Bluehost

  • WordPress hosting from $2.95 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $2.95 per month.
  • VPS hosting from $18.99 per month.
  • Dedicated hosting from $79.99 per month.

Bluehost will give you a free domain name on the first year and a free SSL certificate, which will allow you to manage a secure website. WordPress powers it, so it is perfect for WordPress users, allowing you to customise with over 50,000 templates from WordPress.org library.

Bluehost performs daily backups, even on shared hosting accounts. It also offers phone support 24/7 and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Hostgator

  • WordPress hosting from $5.95 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $2.75 per month.
  • VPS hosting from $29.95 per month.
  • Dedicated hosting from $119 per month.
  • Cloud hosting from $4.95 per month.

HostGator has plans for almost any needs, making it a full-service hosting company. You can choose between Linux or Windows hosting and customise your dedicated server. Its servers are equipped not with SSDs but with faster drives.

HostGator has regular uptime monitoring and backups. You have the option to buy dedicated IP addresses. It also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, as opposed to the usual 30 days.

Hostinger

  • WordPress hosting from $0.99 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $0.99 per month.
  • VPS hosting from $3.95 per month.
  • Cloud hosting from $9.99 per month.

Hostinger has a neat selection of plans, which can be WordPress-optimised. Even the lowest-priced plans have some level of SSH access. It has a dedicated IP and performs regular backups for some plans.

The edge of Hostinger over other competitors is its less than a dollar per month hosting price for the first year. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked. Its customer support is available 24/7.

InMotion Hosting

  • WordPress hosting from $4.99 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $2.95 per month
  • VPS hosting from $22.99 per month.
  • Dedicated hosting from $139.99 per month.

InMotion Hosting offers free backups and SSH (Secure Shell) access, which is a network protocol that lets two computers connect over an unsecured network. It offers SSD infrastructure, 24/7 phone support, and ticket, email, and live chat support. It also offers free malware detection and free SSL. It also provides a 90-day money-back guarantee, which is more than what its competitors offer.

iPage

  • WordPress hosting from $3.75 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $1.99 per month.
  • VPS hosting from $19.99 per month.
  • Dedicated hosting from $119.99 per month.

iPage offers a very competitive shared hosting plan, wherein the 36-month plan is less than $75! Aside from the competitive price, it also offers $100 Google and Bing ad credits. Its phone support and live chat are available 24/7. Despite its low price, the company also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

MochaHost

  • WordPress hosting from $2.48 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $1.95 per month.
  • VPS hosting from $7.98 per month.
  • Cloud hosting from $19 per month.

The most competitive feature of MochaHost is its 180-day money-back guarantee. It is also customer-focused with its lifetime price-lock guarantee, unlike others which goes up after a certain period. It also has a dedicated 24/7 customer support, free domain name, and SSL certificates. You also have access to a website builder with 500 free templates. All hosting plans are e-commerce ready with free shopping cart software.

Web Hosting Hub

  • WordPress hosting from $4.99 per month.
  • Shared hosting from $4.99 per month.

Web Hosting Hub has valuable benefits for its entry-level starting rates. It uses BoldGrid as a site builder, which is an add-on to WordPress. This addresses the common problem with other site builders, wherein you are locked into your host and their tools. With a WordPress-based solution, future website expansion is made easy.

Web Hosting Hub also offers an SSD infrastructure, patching, custom firewall and free site migration. It also offers a generous 90-day money-back guarantee.

SiteGround

  • WordPress hosting from $6.99 per month.
  • Web hosting from $6.99 per month.

Siteground is hosting 2,000,000 domains while making website owners less stressed, more productive, and hopefully just a little happier. Honored and humbled by the great feedback we receive from our customers on a daily basis. We’re proud to measure our customer satisfaction rate at 98%, growing every year for the past five years.

Recommended Resources

  • Paid Tools

Siteground is hosting 2,000,000 domains while making website owners less stressed, more productive, and hopefully just a little happier.

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