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web hosting

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is an essential part of having an online presence, whether you’re an individual with a personal website, a small business, or a large corporation. At its most basic, web hosting provides the server space and technology to host the files, databases, email and other components that make up a website. But beyond that simple definition lies a complex world of different hosting types, features, and providers to understand. This guide aims to unlock the world of web hosting in a comprehensive way, so you can make informed decisions when choosing a hosting provider and plan.

Why do I need Web Hosting?

When you create a website, you generate various files, including HTML, CSS, images, videos, and databases. These files need a place to reside so that people can visit your website by entering your domain name into their web browsers. Web hosting companies provide this space on their servers. Once your website files are uploaded to the server, they become publicly accessible on the internet. When someone types your domain name into their browser, the hosting server delivers the requested files, allowing the user to view your website. To sum it up, you need web hosting because of website accessibility, storage space, data security, domain connection, email hosting, and scalability.

Types of Web Hosting

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most common and budget-friendly type of web hosting. As the name suggests, your website shares server resources with other sites. Hundreds or even thousands of sites may be hosted on the same server. The upside is low cost, starting as low as a few dollars per month. The downside is limited resources and less control. Shared hosts typically provide cPanel or Plesk control panels to manage your account and files. This type works well for personal sites and small business sites that don’t require significant resources.

VPS Hosting

A VPS (virtual private server) provides more power and resources than shared hosting, at a mid-range cost. With VPS hosting, a physical server is partitioned using virtualization software to create separate “virtual” servers. You have a guaranteed allotment of RAM, storage space, and computing power. Resources are not shared with other accounts, giving you more control and better performance for sites that need more power. Prices are reasonable for small to medium sites with increasing traffic demands.

Dedicated Hosting

For maximum performance and control, dedicated hosting provides an entire physical server devoted solely to your site. No resources are shared. You get full control over the server and can customize and optimize it to suit your exact needs. Dedicated servers are ideal for large, high-traffic sites like ecommerce stores and forums. The drawback is the high cost, starting at around $100 per month. Dedicated hosting is overkill for smaller personal and business sites.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting utilizes multiple servers networked together and virtualization software to provide resources on demand. It’s an extremely scalable solution, ideal for sites with spikes or fluctuations in traffic. Resources like disk space and bandwidth can be increased or decreased on the fly as needed. Cloud hosting also offers high uptime and redundancy. Costs are low initially but can add up as resource usage increases. Cloud hosting powers some of the largest sites online but may be overkill for smaller sites.

Key Web Hosting Features

Regardless of the hosting type you choose, look for these key features:

  • Disk space – Amount of storage space for your site files and databases.
  • Bandwidth – Total data transfer; the more traffic your site gets, the more you’ll need.
  • Email accounts – The number of email accounts included. Essential for custom business email.
  • Scripting languages – Support for PHP, MySQL, Python, etc to run CMSs and web apps.
  • One click installs – Automated installers for scripts like WordPress and Joomla.
  • CDN – Content Delivery Network for faster content delivery.
  • SSL Certificate – Adds HTTPS encryption to secure site access.
  • Regular backups – Automated backups of your site files and databases.
  • Uptime guarantee – Guaranteed 24/7 uptime, usually 99.9% or higher. Outages result in credits.

Choosing a Web Host

With the hosting basics covered, here are tips for choosing a web host:

  • Check out our web hosting reviews page
  • Consider your current and future needs in terms of traffic, storage, features, and complexity. Don’t lock yourself into a hosting plan you’ll outgrow.
  • Research companies thoroughly. Look for ones with excellent server infrastructure, performance, uptime, support and reasonable prices.
  • Look for a 30 day money back guarantee in case you find the host doesn’t suit your needs.
  • Ask about migration assistance to easily move your site to the new host.
  • Consider unlimited offerings for things like email accounts, bandwidth, databases. This prevents surprise overage fees.
  • Ensure they offer 24/7 customer support via phone, chat, tickets. You’ll want help when you need it.
  • This site is hosted on Hostinger. Other favorites are SiteGround and GreenGeeks.

Migrating your domain and files to a new host can be tricky. Many hosts offer free migration services to make switching easy. Never hesitate to contact a host’s customer support for assistance.


The web hosting landscape may seem complex, but taking the time to understand the core types, features, and leading providers goes a long way. Follow the tips above to match your needs to the right hosting solution. With quality hosting in place, you can rest assured your website will be online and running smoothly as you focus on creating great content and growing your online presence. The technology powering it will work quietly in the background.