While developing a website requires nothing more than a few clicks, the terminology and concepts around web hosting may be daunting. By sticking to these web hosting fundamentals, you’ll be up and running in no time.
Web hosting is one of the most underappreciated aspects of the Internet. A lot of the things you enjoy—podcasts, memes, essays, tweets, websites, online games, and Netflix content—live on servers that are kept up by the people who made them. To put it simply, web hosting is analogous to the skeleton upon which the Internet is built.
It’s important to understand the basics of web hosting before attempting any major project, including the creation of a website. Though getting started is straightforward and utilizing the provider-provided website-building tools to whip up a sleek, functional front end quickly is a breeze, there are a few terms and concepts you should familiarize yourself with. As you’ll see, there are certain gaps and even some contradictions. Before subscribing to a web hosting provider, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the topic.
The Primary Variations in Host Selection
If you’ve spent any time at all on a web host’s website, you’re probably familiar with terms like “shared,” “VPS,” “dedicated,” “cloud,” “WordPress,” and “reseller.” Not all web hosting providers offer these features, but they are representative of the many types of hosting available. It’s also important to remember that the different hosting models are not interchangeable.
Almost every web host provides shared hosting, the cheapest and most common kind of web hosting service. Your website will be among several on a single server, all of which will have to share the server’s limited resources. If your site is not expected to have a large number of visitors and you are on a low budget, shared hosting may be the best solution for you. A realistic price for such a web hosting service would be less than $10 per month. However, low-traffic websites are the best candidates for this hosting type. If a site near you suddenly has a large influx of visitors, you may encounter intermittent delays. There are free web hosting choices available if you’re on a tight budget, but they do have their drawbacks (typically ads and extremely low server specs).
Virtual private servers (VPSs) and dedicated servers (DSs) are the ideal solutions for bigger enterprises due to the increased resources they provide for high-traffic websites. Hosting on a virtual private server (VPS) is comparable to hosting on a shared server, but with more control and anonymity since fewer sites use the server’s resources. In general, you may expect to pay less than $100 monthly for virtual private server hosting, although this is more costly than shared hosting.
When you choose dedicated hosting, your website will be stored on a separate server and will have unrestricted access to all of the hardware and software resources on that machine. Such hosting may be the most expensive choice, costing as much as $100 per month.
Without spending a fortune on servers and software, you can start your own web hosting business under your own name using reseller hosting. WordPress hosting allows you to build a site in an environment tailored to the most popular content management system on the web. What’s more, what about cloud hosting? Not many web providers offer this unique service, which lets you easily spread your site’s processing capacity over several servers. Yet. There is a large range of price points for different hosting plans, so it’s wise to shop around.
Read the articles we linked to above to learn more about each type of hosting.
Data transfer and bandwidth are two separate ideas.
Even though they have different technical meanings, “data transmission” and “bandwidth” are sometimes used interchangeably to talk about how much information your website gives visitors.
Bandwidth is the greatest amount of data that can be communicated at once, whereas data transfer is the throughput or actual quantity of information that can be consumed over a certain time period, often a month. So, a server might be able to move 5 GB of data at once, but your website might only be able to move 1 GB of data every month.
Keep in mind that your web host may slow down your site’s data transfer rates or charge you a fee if your site begins consuming too much bandwidth if it becomes famous on Reddit and generates a lot of traffic. It might make you think that upgrading to a more costly web hosting package is necessary. Knowing how much traffic your site can withstand in advance can help you avoid this type of situation.
“Unrestricted” is not synonymous with “unlimited.”
Look for a web server that doesn’t put any limitations on your storage or bandwidth use. The majority of deals are made in bad faith. I wouldn’t go as far as to label these web companies outright liars, but it is crucial to know that “unlimited” storage and transfer speeds nearly always come with tiny print limits. As an example, consider FatCow. The firm promises its customers “oodles” of disk space and says it doesn’t restrict user content as long as they “use storage for the ordinary running of your FatCow website.” It’s like going to a restaurant that advertises an infinite shrimp buffet, only to find that they’ve run out of shrimp and must now forbid further dining.
WordPress and shared hosting often come with unlimited disk space and bandwidth, giving you a lot of leeway. If you can keep a reasonable amount of visitors (whatever that may be!) coming to your site, you should be OK. You can’t expect to upload or stream 50 TB every day. The average person is undoubtedly partaking in some illegal behavior.
Please refer to your web host’s terms of service or get in contact with a representative if you have any questions about the restrictions that may apply to your “unlimited” plan. For example, DreamHost says on its website that its customers “never have to worry about bandwidth or traffic, so you never have to worry about annoying overage fines.”
Disk Drives vs. SSDs: What You Need to Know
If you choose shared hosting, you may anticipate having your files stored on a regular HDD server. A key advantage of HDD-based servers is the large amounts of cheap storage space they supply. Upgrades to more powerful hosting plans like VPS or dedicated may come with the option of employing a solid-state drive (SSD) to build your site.
For the record, a Linux server is enough for the majority of web hosts use Linux as their server operating system. In all honesty, I can’t think of a single web server that I’ve reviewed that didn’t run on an open-source OS. Making a completely working website doesn’t require any familiarity with Linux or any other server-side languages. Website templates make the procedure easier.
Windows Server is needed for ASP or ASP.NET
To host a website written in the ASP or ASP.NET programming languages, however, Windows Server is needed. This is so because Windows is the only platform compatible with your code and the websites you build.
Furthermore, the server may be easily linked with Microsoft Office and Outlook. But what are the negative consequences of this? Open-source software based on Linux cannot operate on a Windows server without some modification. As an additional expense, Windows servers are around $10 to $20 more expensive than their Linux equivalents; however, this price difference is mostly irrelevant if you use Microsoft’s software. This article examines the similarities and differences between Linux and Microsoft Windows, two of the most used server operating systems.
For more information on web hosting, see our previous articles on WordPress SEO and hosting tips to Boost Traffic to Your Website.
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