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what is hosting server

What Is Hosting Server? Understanding Website Hosting

The global market valuation for website hosting (web hosting) services is expected to reach $76.2 billion by 2023. It’s easy to see why this market has been growing steadily over the years. Wondering what is hosting server? Hosting services are among the backbones of the current digital revolution.

Web hosting drives the Internet today, just like coal and steam powered the industrial age. At the time of writing this article, over 350 million registered domains worldwide, many of which rely on web hosting services. 

Those who’ve never used web hosting services before may have many questions regarding web hosting, including:

  • What is web hosting?
  • What is hosting server?
  • Do you need web hosting?
  • What should you expect from your hosting server?
  • How can you choose the right hosting server?

Each of these questions is essential in helping you understand web hosting. That’s why we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide to equip you with all the knowledge you need so you can choose the ideal web hosting plan for you.

Read on to learn more.

What Is Website Hosting?

Website hosting refers to a service that lets individuals or websites post web pages or websites onto the Internet. A web hosting service provider (web host) is a vendor that offers the services and technologies required for viewing a web page or website on the Internet.

What Is Hosting Server?

The web hosting provider hosts your website on a special computer known as a server. The moment an internet user wants to view something on your website, they only need to type your domain or web address into their browser. The user’s computer then connects to your server, allowing the internet user to access your web pages through the browser.

A hosting server, therefore, is a server that’s dedicated to web hosting services. Besides hosting websites, hosting servers can also store files, games, images, and other content. A hosting server may be shared among numerous clients or dedicated to one client. 

How Does Web Hosting Work?

When you’re starting a business in the real world, one of the first things you do is look for a physical location where you’ll be operating from. The same concept applies when you’re looking to set up a website for your online business.

Generally, you’re going to have files, images, and HTML code that makes up your website. All these files need an online space where they’re going to reside. Otherwise, they’ll simply be on your computer where no one in your target online audience will ever see them.

That’s where a hosting provider comes in. They give you a place on a website server where you can store your files. The web host is also responsible for efficiently delivering your files the moment a browser has made a request by typing in your web address or domain name.

Why Should You Pay For Web Hosting?

Many people make the mistake of thinking all they need to get their website active is to register a domain name. But a domain name only gives others something to identify you by. Without a web host, your web site will never be live and active on the Internet.

A web server hosting provider ensures that your website is visible by people on the web. After you create valuable content on your computer, the web host gives you an online space where you can store it. In return, you pay rent server space just like you’d pay rent for a physical store for your business.

But can’t you just have your personal server right from your home? The simple answer is yes. However, you’d have to incur significantly higher expenses to design your own server.

A web hosting vendor typically manages all backend concerns, including maintaining and repairing servers. In doing so, they make your life a lot easier.  

Types of Web Hosting

Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of web hosting service providers that have various hosting plans. Below are seven of the top web hosting plans you may want to consider:

1. Shared Web Hosting

Shared web hosting is where one server hosts more than one website. Your website shares the server with hundreds or thousands of other websites, and all of you share the cost. The biggest benefit of this type of web hosting is that it’s very affordable.

The top challenge, however, is that your website will always be at the mercy of the other websites on the shared server. If a site is highly popular, that could affect the performance of your website.

Shared web hosting is ideal for online businesses that are just starting out. That’s because such websites don’t usually get a lot of traffic in the beginning.

2. Reseller Web Hosting

A reseller web hosting package is a shared web hosting account that comes with extra tools that allow you to resell the hosting space. With this package, you have greater technical control and billing software. Other perks include:

  • Website templates that are free
  • White label technical support 
  • Private name servers 

Reseller hosting packages cost higher than shared hosting packages because of the additional perks. Reseller web hosting is perfect for companies that plan to sell web hosting as their primary business.

3. Cloud-Based Web Hosting

Cloud-based hosting is a relatively new technology that allows numerous individual servers to work together. These servers working together appear like a single giant server. In this type of hosting, a hosting vendor can add more commodity hardware as the need grows.

The main benefit of cloud-based web hosting is that it can easily accommodate the surge of traffic for websites that regularly get a ton of traffic. Therefore, your website will never shut down. It’s the ideal option for a website that’s growing and driving more traffic.

In cloud-based hosting, you usually pay for what you use.

4. Virtual Private Server (VPS)

In this type of web hosting, several virtual private servers share a single physical server. However, they act as separate servers.  A virtual private server helps you avoid the problem of your website being affected by other websites on the larger server.

The pricing of a VPS depends on the CPU and RAM you get.

5. Dedicated Web Server

Using a dedicated server means that you rent a physical server from your hosting company. That gives you total control of the server. With this kind of web hosting, you don’t encounter the issue of other websites slowing your site down. 

A dedicated server is the top level of web hosting an online business needs as soon as they start getting lots of web traffic. The cost of a dedicated server is, as you can expect, significantly higher than other types of hosting. However, by the time your business starts to require this type of hosting, you’ll be at a point where you can afford it.

6. Colocation Web Hosting

Colocation web hosting entails you renting rack space from one of the data centers available. In this case, you provide the data center with your server hardware. The data center provides power, cooling, an internet uplink, and physical security.

In this type of hosting, you’re responsible for the server software you use, as well as the data storage and backup storage. Whenever there’s a problem with the hardware, you’re responsible for repairs and replacements.

Given the hassles involved in this type of hosting, it’s hardly worth the time and money for a small business.

7. Self Service Web Hosting

This is the type of web hosting where you do everything yourself. You purchase the servers and install them. You configure the server software, ensure there’s enough cooling, and provide sufficient power in the machine room.

Among the things you need to take care of in self-service web hosting are:

  • Data center space
  • Power and backup
  • Cooling
  • Server hardware
  • Bandwidth
  • Systems administrator
  • Data integrity 
  • Data backup

Just like colocation hosting, self-service web hosting is a lot of work. For this reason, this type of hosting is often beyond the scope of many small businesses. 

What Features Do Web Hosting Companies Offer?

If you’re going to be paying for web hosting services, then one of the things you’ll want to know is what features to expect. Below are three commonest features to expect:

Email Accounts          

You already know how valuable email marketing can be to a business.  Your web host will usually provide email account features that allow you to create domain email accounts, such as yourname@yourwebsite.com.

FTP Access      

The function of FTP is to allow you to upload files from your personal computer to the web server. Chances are you’re going to build your business website using HTML files on your local computer. With FTP, you can transfer these HTML files to your web server, so your website is accessible through the Internet.

WordPress Support    

WordPress is a highly popular online tool for website creation and management. The tool powers more than 25 percent of all websites on the Internet today. Your web hosting provider will let you know in advance whether their packages are compatible with WordPress or not.

Choosing the Right Web Hosting Company for Your Needs

As of May 2019, there were 338,561 web hosting providers worldwide. How do you go about choosing the right vendor for you? We’ve compiled six top guidelines to help you out:

1. Consider the Cost

While cost is usually the least important detail when it comes to picking a web hosting provider, it’s certainly the most obvious. While you want the best web hosting service available, you don’t want to break the bank to get it.

The good news is that most web hosting vendors provide basic services at reasonable rates. Before settling on a vendor, go through the contract carefully. Some service providers offer low promotional services and increase the rates after the promotional period elapses.

2. Check Out the Performance

Every year, the United States e-commerce market loses over $500 billion due to slow loading websites. The modern consumer has little tolerance for websites that load slowly, so you need a fast website. The performance capability of your prospective web host, therefore, needs to be topnotch.

3. Determine Scalability

The best web hosting providers can quickly scale performance depending on the needs of your business. You may have high seasons when you get tens of thousands of orders within weeks and seasons when demand wanes. Opt for a web host who can instantly scale up and down as needed.

4. Consider Uptime

To stay ahead of the competition, you want your business website to be live and accessible all the time. Unfortunately, no website host can guarantee perfection. That’s why even the best providers will typically commit to 99.9% uptime.

Of course, you can negotiate for a 99.99% uptime guarantee, but you must be willing to spend a little extra for that.

5. Inquire about Customer support

The technical ability of your web hosting provider is undoubtedly a critical consideration when you’re looking for a web host. However, the customer support that the vendor can provide is even more important. You and your web host should have a working repartee that’s mutually beneficial.  

At the very least, your web host should offer

  • Personalized customer support 
  • Live representatives
  • An ample knowledge base 

6. Ask About Security

Every day, the average website gets attacked 44 times. As a small business that’s already running on a small budget, it’s almost impossible to fend off these attacks on your own. That’s why you need a web host service provider with the resources to provide a secure website infrastructure.

Find out whether your web host has the latest security protocols to deter cyber attacks. If your web host doesn’t include security features, expectations, and guarantees as part of the contract, find another partner.

Make the Right Decisions Regarding Your Web Hosting

Hopefully, you now have the answer to your question: what is hosting server? You also now know the different web hosting packages available and how to determine which web host is perfect for you. 

As you sign up for a new web hosting package for your website, keep in mind that there’s a lot more you’ll keep on learning as you go.

If you would like assistance with how to run a profitable online business, we can help. Please check out some of our resources.

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