What Is Web Hosting? 5+ Different Types Of Hosting In 2023
In the early days of the internet, there were only a few web hosting providers, catering to the basic infrastructure that websites needed to be published online.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of web hosting providers, making the market increasingly competitive.
This has led to several types of web hosting services being offered, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, I will take a look at what web hosting is and the various types that are currently available.
By the end of this guide, you will be able to choose the best web hosting service based on your specific needs.
Let’s dive deep into this topic.
A web hosting service provider is a company that provides the technologies and services needed for a website to be accessible on the internet.
These services include storing website files, providing connectivity, and managing traffic.
Having a website live on the internet means having a reliable web hosting that ensures that your website files are accessible whenever someone tries to visit your site.
While this is an overly simplistic view, web hosting service providers ensure that as soon as someone types in your domain name in their internet browser, they will see your website come up as quickly as possible.
A web hosting company is also responsible for ensuring uptime and providing customer support.
With web hosting companies offering various hosting packages, knowing what options are available is essential when choosing a hosting provider.
The following are some of the different types of web hosting services to consider.
A dedicated server provides a ton of advantages.
From having multiple websites hosted on such a server, to having a website that requires a ton of resources due to the number of visitors, a dedicated server can handle it all.
A dedicated hosting account will typically cost more than other hosting plans since you are essentially renting an entire server for your website.
A virtual private server (VPS) provides an isolated environment for website files and applications.
Privacy is increased since other users on the same physical server will not be able to access your files.
VPS hosting will usually cost the user more than shared hosting but less than going for a dedicated solution.
This might be the cheapest type of all hosting plans.
In fact, if you’re looking for free web hosting, most providers will use this hosting as an entry-level product.
While free hosting might sound appealing to website owners on a budget, it’s important to remember that you’ll get what you pay for.
As the name suggests, with shared hosting, your website will share a server with other websites.
While shared hosting plans can be a cost-effective way to have a website up and running quickly, it’s important to remember that your website will be competing for resources with the other sites on the server.
This can lead to slower speeds and increased downtime during peak traffic periods.
Security is another concern with shared hosting since you will be sharing the same server with other websites, which could be vulnerable to hacking.
Most web hosting companies offer WordPress-managed hosting, where they will take care of the server for you and add various blogging functionality.
For personal websites that don’t require a lot of resources, managed hosting might provide the perfect balance to ensure that your website is always up and running without breaking the bank.
In addition, technical support with managed solutions is usually quite good as it tends to be included in the package.
A managed hosting solution is also good for a small business that needs hosting to go along with WordPress as the content management system of choice when building its site.
In addition, some hosts offer various templates that website owners can use to make their sites more unique.
For the sake of comparing various solutions, here’s an article on Wix vs. WordPress.
Wix hosting comes as part of the all-in-one platform that Wix offers, which includes a site builder, templates, hosting, and more.
On the other hand, managing hosting on WordPress used to be up to the website owner, but now many companies offer this as a service for managed hosting.
Note that managed hosting is another type of web hosting that might not come with WordPress included.
However, it’s generally assumed that managed and WordPress go hand-in-hand in many situations regarding web hosting.
Cloud hosting usually refers to web hosts that have their sites up and running on multiple servers.
Hosting options with this setup can be more expensive but offer a few advantages.
For example, cloud hosting can offer increased redundancy since multiple copies of website files and databases exist.
If one server goes down, another can take its place with little to no downtime.
Additionally, the best cloud hosting can offer increased scalability since websites can be quickly moved to different servers depending on traffic levels.
For those that need to run multiple websites or want to offer hosting services to others, reseller hosting could be a good option.
With low downtime and quick customer support, reseller hosting typically means you can configure various aspects of the server to suit your needs better.
This is a web hosting plan for more advanced users, and those that require an online presence that’s more customizable.
Here are the steps you need to follow to host a website.
When building a business website, you’ll want to consider your needs regarding storage space, uptime guarantee requirements, and the correct type of SSL certificate.
From web pages that are simple and static to those that are dynamic and require a content management system, there are different hosting options available to fit your needs.
You can refer to the above section on types of web hosting to determine which one is best for you.
If you’re setting up a business from scratch, your domain name will become ‘the face of your company’.
It’s good to know that most web hosting companies will offer a free domain name for the first year when setting up specific accounts, so knowing what’s involved in choosing and registering a domain name is essential.
You can also review various domain registrars to see which one best suits your needs, as there can be differences in cost and available options.
When setting up your hosting account, you will have to fill in some personal information.
This generally includes your name, email address, and billing information.
There will also typically be various options and upsells you can go for at this stage.
Some of these might include additional storage space, security options, higher levels of customer support, and more.
Referring to the different hosting plans available, here you will choose which one best fits your needs in terms of features, price, and scalability.
After the registration process is finished, your new website should be live and accessible to anyone who visits your domain name.
It’s good to note that if you’re registering your domain name on a different registrar than your hosting solution, propagation times can take up to 24-48 hours.
This means that the new DNS information is propagating across the internet so everyone can see your new website.
Once this is done, you can log in to your website’s backend.
For beginners, logging into your cPanel hosting is the next step.
While this might feel overwhelming because of the options and settings available, tutorials and help files are usually readily available and can be very helpful.
In addition, customer support will likely be a phone call or email away if you need assistance.
Let’s consider two specific cases requiring a few more steps in the web hosting/site builder process.
The first is setting up a site for ecommerce purposes, aiming to sell products or services online.
Having an online store requires careful thinking when it comes to its design.
Here’s an article reviewing BigCommerce vs. Shopify if you want to learn more about what these platforms offer.
In addition, as your site gets more extensive, you might have to invest in your own server to handle more traffic.
Disk space also becomes a key factor as you’ll need to store product images and other files.
Getting paid when someone purchases a product you offer is crucial, and you’ll need to choose a payment processor that works for you.
Choosing the right order fulfillment service is another significant consideration when setting up an online store, as you’ll need to determine how to get products to your customers.
There are various shipping solutions available, and choosing the right one will depend on several factors, including the products you’re selling and where your customers are located.
From using SEO tools to help improve your website’s ranking in search engines to running paid ads to the right target audience, there are various ways to drive traffic to your store.
Traffic is the lifeblood of any site, and when it comes to ecommerce, it’s essential to ensure potential customers can find your products and purchase them easily.
Blogging is another use case that might require a few additional steps when setting up a website.
To provide helpful and informative content to your readers, a blog can take on many different forms; thus, the steps required to set one up will vary accordingly.
The best web design software can either help you create a completely custom website or give you pre-made templates and tools to help you quickly create a professional-looking site with minimal effort.
You can also choose a web host that doesn’t require you to know what’s under the hood of your site, which can make the design process more manageable.
That said, going for WordPress-managed hosting solutions is usually a good idea when it comes to blogging.
If you want your website to rank highly in search engines and ensure that people find its content valuable, focusing on having well-written and keyword-optimized articles is crucial.
Using AI writing software, you can create content that is not only keyword-rich but also engaging, well-written, and free of grammatical errors.
Similar to ecommerce sites, there are various ways to drive traffic to your blog.
Getting website visitors is essential to monetize your blog through advertising, increase your influence or build a loyal following.
Website builders can be a good solution for those who want to create a website quickly and without coding skills.
They provide various templates that can be customized to match your brand and style, and most website builders on the market today are easy to use.
However, website builders usually have design customization, scalability, and flexibility limitations.
Additionally, migrating your website can be difficult if you want to switch to a different platform later down the line.
That said, for the average user, using one of the best website builders can be a time and money saver.
This allows the user to get up and running quickly with a website that looks professional and has all the features they need without any headaches.
Many websites hosting solutions offer email accounts that you can use to stay in touch with your customers or clients.
While there’s nothing wrong with this type of solution, if you plan on using email marketing to grow your business, you might consider using a dedicated email marketing service.
Email marketing tools offer features specifically for businesses, such as automation and segmentation,
These can help you save time by automating repetitive tasks, and they can also help you improve your results by sending targeted emails to the right people at the right time.
Additionally, they provide detailed reports that can help you track the success of your campaigns and make necessary adjustments.
To finish this article, here are a few key terms related to web hosting that you should know about when it comes to web hosting.
- IP address: This unique number identifies your computer on the internet.
- DNS: The Domain Name System is what converts human-readable domain names (like example.com) into IP addresses that computers can understand.
- MYSQL: This is a database management system used by many websites to store information like user data, blog posts, and more.
- Plugins: Plugins are small software that can add functionality to your websites, such as contact forms or social media buttons.
- FTP: File Transfer Protocol is a way to transfer files from your computer to your web server.
- CPU: CPU stands for Central Processing Unit, and it’s the brains of your web server. It handles all the requests and sends the appropriate data back to the user.
- PHP: PHP is a programming language often used for web development.
- Bandwidth: The amount of transferable data from your server to a user’s computer in a given time. It’s usually measured in bits per second (bps).
- Data centers: Data centers are facilities where website servers are stored. They typically have high-speed internet connections, backup power supplies, and security measures to protect the servers.
- Apps: In the web hosting space, apps usually refer to applications that can be installed on your server to add functionality.
- Add-On: Sometimes used instead of plugins, add-ons are used to optimize a website. For example, in the SEO world, you might install an add-on like the Yoast SEO plugin. Add-ons are usually optional, but they can be very beneficial.
- Operating System: Linux is a popular operating system for web servers. It’s known for being stable, secure, and efficient. Windows is another option, but it’s not as popular for web hosting.
Web hosting can cost anywhere from $2.95 per month to hundreds of dollars per month.
The cost of web hosting depends on the hosting plan you choose, the features you need, and the size of your website.
There are cheap web hosting services that can get the job done for smaller websites, and there are also more expensive plans that come with robust features and support for larger websites.
Whatever your budget may be, there is a web hosting service out there that can fit your needs.
Web hosting is a service that allows you to publish your website online.
When you sign up for a web hosting plan, you will be given access to a web server where you can upload the files for your website.
The web server will make your website available to visitors who type in your domain name.
There are a lot of great web hosting providers out there, but GoDaddy, HostGator, and Bluehost are some of the most popular.
These companies offer great features at reasonable prices and have a good reputation for providing excellent customer service.
Understanding web hosting and the different types available is key to finding the best hosting solution for your needs.
From managed solutions to cloud hosting, the options are quite vast.
That said, with a bit of research along with knowing what you need, you’ll be able to find the perfect provider for your website.
Nowadays, having a website is essential for businesses of all types and sizes.
No matter what industry you’re in, potential customers are looking for you online, and it all starts with choosing the right web hosting.
Do you currently have a website, and which hosting are you using?
How was the setup process when you started?
Let me know in the comments section below!
Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: Here are a few web hosting site review comparisons for you to read if you’re interested in learning more about specific providers: