Web Hosting for Beginners

how web hosting works

You know the importance of having a website and want to create one, but have no idea where to start. Or are you confused with all the techy terms?

If you can relate to the statement and question above, you’re not alone! Beginners’ confusions are normal, and that’s why I’ve created this guide: web hosting for beginners.

By the time you finished reading, you’ll feel more confident to finally start creating your website because you’ll know how web hosting works! Let’s dig in.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a server that hosts a website. That’s it. It’s simply a computer that houses your website.

It works in the same way as your house where you keep your belongings. But in internet talk, you keep all of the data and materials for your website in a web hosting.

It’s simple, right? The confusion many beginners have around how web hosting works can come from how we use the term nowadays.

You see, lately, people say “web hosting” to refer to the companies who provide a hosting service. But of course, they are two entirely different things.

Why Are There so Many Types of Hosting?

This is another common misunderstanding when you’re just starting out. There are only three major types of web hosting, and each of them aims to provide the best solutions for each website’s needs.

1. Shared hosting

The majority of websites in the world use this type. Shared hosting means there’s one server (computer) to host several websites.

Due to its nature in shared resources, shared hosting can get incredibly cheap (some companies even go as low as $1/month). It’s also very simple to set up, making it the perfect solution for a small business’s website, a traveling blog, or a writer’s portfolio. Most likely, this is what your site will need.

On the flip side, it can be unsuitable for when your site traffic grows to more than 30K visitors per month. Also, since you share resources with a lot of people, your website performance could be affected by other people’s sites.

2. Dedicated server

It refers to when one server is dedicated to hosting one site. This means the website gets all the resources without sharing it with other sites, hence a great performance capacity.

If you guess that it’s much more expensive than shared hosting, you’ve got it right. The price starts from $75/month.

The advantages include an ease of use and a super safe and secure hosting – no hacking problem! What’s more, it can handle big traffics effortlessly – we’re talking 100K+ of visits monthly.

3. VPS hosting

This is the most complicated type to understand. First, know that VPS means Virtual Private Server and it’s a cloud-based service. Second, it basically means that you can buy resources as much or as little as you need.

It becomes an attractive option when you want to have an unlimited amount of processor power, RAM, and hard drive spaces.

So the price relies heavily on the resources you use (usually starts at $15 per month). It’s a tailor fitted solution for any type of website, but it can be hard to set up and use, particularly for beginners.

Which Is the Right Hosting Provider for Beginners?

While there are only these three kinds of server, there are many more companies that provide web hosting service. Things get a bit more challenging for beginners now that we’ve explained the basics on how web hosting works.

From the notorious Blue Host to Host Gator with its famous mascot, what should you choose?

It’s something you can only decide by yourself by taking several factors into consideration. Here are some of them:

  • The type of hosting. As we’ve seen before, shared hosting may be sufficient for your needs. Particularly for newbies, shared hosting is great because it’s easy to use and fits perfectly for WordPress or Blogspot.
  • The traffic you’re expecting. The more people visit your website, the bigger bandwidth you’ll need. Don’t worry too much about this at first. If your site grows at a faster rate than what you’ve expected, you can always upgrade your plan.
  • Downtime rate. You’ll want the highest uptime possible, meaning that your website can be online almost all the time. Every hosting company marks their uptime rate on their website, but note that 99% is excellent.
  • Storage space. This is not a huge issue for many sites. For beginners, 20 GB of space is plenty. But if you plan to showcase your HD photos or videos on your website, you may need bigger space.
  • Customer service. Nothing’s more frustrating than not being able to contact anyone when you have troubles with your website. Pick a company who has a reliable, 24/7 customer support!

Hosting is NOT a Domain

We have seen how web hosting works, which is simply keeping your website’s data on a computer. Among the most common sources of confusion for beginners are the difference between a hosting and a domain. We have seen that a web hosting is simply a computer that houses your website. But what is a domain?

A domain is the address of a website that people type in the browser bar. One example is www.google.com – which you use every day. If your hosting is a house, your domain is its address.

Once you decide on a web hosting company, you will need to register your domain. Here are some pro tips:

  • Choose an easy-to-remember domain name. It can be long, but if it’s catchy, it’ll work. You can also use quirky words or even made-up words. The point is to make your domain name stick to people’s mind.
  • Avoid hyphens or underscores since they only cause troubles when people try to type your address in their browser.
  • Prefer a .com extension. People still tend to type .com every time they want to visit a website. If you cannot have a yourwebsite.com, a strategy is to tweak the domain name a bit (but not to the point of difficult to remember). If you can’t solve the problem somehow, .net or .co are more and more on the rise.

The Bottom Line on How Web Hosting Works

As you can see, the term web hosting doesn’t refer to companies, but to the computer that keeps your website’s data. While it’s an easy concept to understand, choosing a good web hosting company among hundreds is another story.

We have talked a little bit about picking a hosting provider in the guide above, but you may still have questions boiling in your mind. Ask me anything! Leave a comment below with your question or experience.

If you want to have a one and one talk, that’s fine, too. Use the form of contact here and I promise to get back to you ASAP.

Tim Schmidt

About 

Tim Schmidt is an Internet Entrepreneur living in South Florida. He owns multiple e-commerce businesses, an SEO Agency, and consults companies on Internet Marketing strategy. You can reach him for advice, speaking engagements, guest posts, interviews, and more, on this page.

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