Web hosting allows for individuals, organizations and businesses to make their website accessible on the Worldwide Web. Web hosts are essentially placeholders for websites, which are owned and leased by their client. Web hosts also provide internet connectivity, much like a data center.
Bottom line is this: if you have a website and you want other people to see it, your first stop is to publish it via a web hosting service. Every website on the internet uses some kind of web hosting service.
Web hosts act as a placeholder for your website in an overall web hosting network. When a user types in your website URLs, starting with “www”, they are essentially accessing your web host’s server where they can download your pages.
There are many types of web hosting services, with many features available depending on your budget, yet we can actually narrow these types down to three different kinds of hosting:
- Dedicated Hosting
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
- Shared Web Hosting
Dedicated hosting occurs when a business has an entire server and resources dedicated to its personal use. Dedicated hosting comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of dedicated hosting include:
- Guaranteed performance. You don’t share your server with anyone else and are therefore not privy to any other website’s resources
- A webmaster can customize his website with specific software measures and hardware updates to fit the needs of the site.
- Webmasters have full control of their own resources. They can tweak setup to their own needs.
Disadvantages of dedicated hosting include:
- Expenses. This option of an unshared server tends to get much more pricey than other options
- Having an independent server means you’ll have to be responsible for its performance independently. A depth of technical knowledge may be required to run this kind of server. Any security updates and maintenance is all in your hands.
Shared web hosting stands as the most common type of web hosting – as well as the easiest. The name speaks for itself, as with this option, one server is shared between many customers.
The advantages of shared web hosting include:
- Cheap. You can rent the server over a period of time and don’t need to pay upfront.
- The server is preconfigured, meaning its easier to use. Your hosting service performs all the necessary security updates so you don’t have to.
Disadvantages for this service include:
- Sharing resources with neighboring sites can be a problem when something in the server goes bust. One very busy site could affect the rest of the sites on that server.
- Less flexibility. You may not be able to modify certain components on your site due to web hosting restrictions.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) essentially serve as an in-between service between dedicated and shared hosting. VPS customers still share a server with other neighboring VPS users, but VPS introduces a virtualization technology that partitions each website on the server so that it can use its own resources; in this sense, it’s almost like a dedicated server.
Advantages to using a VPS include:
- Your CPU and memory will be partitioned; the activity of your neighbors will have far less effect on your website’s performance.
- Fewer customers tend to occupy the same servers; thus you’ll have more resources to use.
- You can configure your own website software with more freedom than shared hosting
Disadvantages to a VPS include:
- Higher monthly fees. Only having your own resources will make you culpable to bigger fees.
- Taking care of your own server demands more technical experience on your part.
The professionals at Sticky Web Media know all about web hosting, and can help you choose which option is best for your company and budget.