What is Website Hosting?

Website Hosting?

Website hosting is an important and necessary step in the process of having a website. Whether you’re building the site, launching it or have been running it a long time, website hosting is and will always be important. In this article we’ll ask what is website hosting, look at the different types of hosting and what might be right for you. 

What is Website Hosting? 

Website hosting is basically something that holds your website’s files. Made up of lots of files and documents. Holding these files on a big external server, similarly to how your computer files need to be on your computer. Website hosting, basically means that your website’s files are being hosted on a server. This server might be a shared server and contain lots of other website’s files. Or, you might have a dedicated server, just holding your files. 

The server and the browser come together to display the right information to the user of the site. The domain (the address of a website), points to a server via a NameServer or an ‘a’ record. So when you search a domain, you’re pointed towards a server containing the files of a website. The browser then reads these files and displays the correct information. 

Why is Hosting Needed?

Website hosting isn’t actually needed, in theory, you could use your computer as your server. However, your computer isn’t optimised to deal with a lot of incoming traffic with requests to view files. Because of this, it is often easier and cheaper to purchase hosting. 

Image of cPanel cPanel.net

Types of Website Hosting

There are lots of types of website hosting from Shared Hosting Packages through to Dedicated servers. These all have positives and negatives. However, there is a web hosting package perfect for almost any type of person or company. So let’s look at the different types of hosting out there. 

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most basic type of hosting. A hosting company like Hostgator, for example, will have a big server. This server is then segmented into different areas. Each area will then have an allotted space, let’s say around 10gb. So for argument’s sake, let’s say Hostgator have a server of 1TB (1tb = 1,000Gb), they could then hold 100 websites on this single server. 

Positives of Shared Hosting

Shared hosting offers a range of positives, we’ve listed them below for ease. 

  • Cheaper than other forms of hosting 
  • Optimised towards lots of websites 
  • Can offer great deals for a lot of spaces and websites
  • Fully managed
  • Normally very safe as they’re updated frequently

Negatives of Shared Hosting 

Shared hosting, as with the name, is shared. Meaning other websites and their files will be on the same server. They’ll have different IP Address’s with the segmentation of the server, however, you’ll share the same physical space: 

  • Is not as optimisable as other forms of hosting
  • If outgrown means you’ll have to move all DNS records to a new server
  • Can be slower for some websites
  • Always have limits on space
  • Can’t be suited to needs through customisation

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is as it sounds, a dedicated space for just you and your files. Having dedicated hosting means you’ve got as much space and customisability as you could ever want. Change files size limits, change PHP versions etc. the list goes on and on. 

Positives of Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting offers a range of positives, but from our experience, dedicated hosting is not required by most people. 

  • Can be fully optimised towards your style of website
  • Super faster when optimised
  • Full customisability
  • A lot of space

Negatives of Dedicated Hosting

As with anything that’s big and allows for a lot of options, they are of course a few negatives: 

  • Very expensive, upwards of £400 per month
  • You need to know what you’re doing
  • Manually updated
  • Can be less safe if not kept track of

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is another form of hosting whereby information is on a virtual cloud server. So instead of the files of the website being on one server, it’s stored across multiple. Allowing for quick adaptability when needed. 

Benefits of Cloud Servers

There are many reasons why you might choose to go for a cloud server, here are just some:

  • The server is very adaptable
  • Faster response time
  • Is located anywhere
  • Private network area

Negatives of Cloud Servers

As with all types of hosting, nothing is perfect, it all depends on what you’re looking for: 

  • More expensive than shared hosting
  • Not as adaptable as dedicated services

WordPress Hosting

WordPress hosting is the same principle as the other types of hosting. Website files are on a server and users basically request the files, the browser displays them and there you have it. However, WordPress hosting has had optimisation for WordPress CMS websites. Meaning that they typically run faster and allow for optimisation with regards to WordPress websites.

WordPress Hosting Benefits

There are many benefits to WordPress hosting if of course, you’re running a WordPress website. 

  • Faster for WordPress Websites
  • Quicker set up and creation time
  • Optimised for WordPress configurations
  • Can be more user-friendly

WordPress Hosting Negatives

WordPress hosting does have some downsides of course: 

  • Only for WordPress CMS
  • More expensive than alternatives
  • Depending on the hosting provider they can have limited customisation

Might be of Interest – Website Builder vs Code

What Is Website Hosting? – Conclusion

Website hosting is in very simple terms, a computer that holds and displays files. They allow users to download the files through their browser. Throughout this article, we’ve looked at how different hosting options provide this information. Whether you’re looking for cheaper and effective for small sites like shared hosting. After a big personal and fully customisable dedicated server. Superfast WordPress only hosting. Or looking for a mixture of all with fast and reactive cloud hosting. The choice is yours. 

We’ll do another blog on what hosting company we recommend for what purpose soon. 

If you need help with hosting or are looking for help in developing a website, get in contact with Channel Creative using the information below.