The files and folders that make up your website need to be stored or “hosted” in a place that can be accessed on the Internet. A hosting company provides the storage you need on a computer called a server. This server is identified through a sequence of numbers called An IP address. To make it easier for visitors to get to the server where your website is stored, the IP address is masked by your domain name (i.e. “example.com”).
Types of Hosting Services
There are a few different types of hosting services. Some are more expensive than others, some allow more control. The following is a few examples of the different hosting services provided along with the pro’s and con’s of each service.
The most common and most widely used type of hosting service for beginners is called shared hosting. This is where the hosting service provider allocates space on their server for customers to share.
Pros • Most affordable which makes it very a common first choice for beginner website owners.
Cons • Sharing space on a server also means sharing resources. If any one website gets a surge in web traffic AKA “visitors”. This could have a negative impact on the other websites sharing space on the server such as decreased performance.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
Users get their own space but still on a shared server. However, With a VPS there are fewer people sharing the same space. You are partitioned off from everyone else.
Pros • More control over managing your site and less competition for space and resources.
Cons • Higher cost, • Must have command line knowledge, Terminal knowledge, and Operating system installation and management knowledge. • Isn’t the best choice for beginners as there is very little tech support given when configuring a VPS.
A dedicated server allows you to rent your own server. The web host takes care of the server by providing power to the server, and hardware, and maintenance services. If you own your own server, you would be paying the hosting company a fee to house your server in their datacenter.
Pros • Space on the server is not shared with anyone else.
Cons • Dedicated servers can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars a month in rental fees and maintenance.
This service is like shared hosting, but the hosting provider is responsible for the site setup and ongoing maintenance.
Pros • With this service, the customer can focus on the content for their website but leave the technical issues to the hosting provider.
Cons • Cost is comparable to the higher priced hosting services such as VPS
When choosing a hosting provider, it is important to consider the different types of services. It is also important to consider the type of website you will be using. Important questions to ask yourself are will your website receive a lot of visitors, Will your website have an online store, will your website be blog, how much control do you want to have over the technical side of your website? These questions will give you clues to the type of hosting services you will need.