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Web Hosting for Beginners: Your Guide to Web Hosting

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When it comes to setting up a website you may encounter the need for web hosting. So what is web hosting? Why is it important? What types of web hosting can I use? All these questions may be going through your head if you’re a first time website owner. The following is your guide to web hosting and how to choose which one is the best choice for you.

What Is Web Hosting Anyway?

A website host is the term used for basically a specially designed computer which is connected to the internet and which is never shut off. When visiting a website, files are downloaded from the source machine that stores or hosts that particular website. Web hosting companies use powerful computers which are highly optimized with memory and hard disks to deliver any website files simultaneously to thousands of readers. This is beneficial for any website owner like yourself, as it allows your website to continue to run efficiently all year round.

Do I Need a Website Host?

Yes, and the best part about it is that there are many options you can look into to host your website. The different options include:

Hosted Services

Hosted servers refer to the simplest and easiest to understand hosting solutions, which create a sub-website within a larger hosting site that is mainly used for blog applications. Although there are so many hosted servers available on the internet, some of the more common ones include WordPress.com and Blogger.com.

Advantages

  • Generally feature great bandwidth speeds
  • Simple to get started and set up

Disadvantages

  • Little control over the technical side of the website
  • Doesn’t support non-approved plugins
  • Portability: Moving your website to a different host becomes tricky and difficult

Self-Hosted Services

Self-hosting is possible to do from your own internet connection at home, although you should know that most ISPs don’t approve of self-hosting, and it may violate your terms and conditions. It is a good idea to check your terms and conditions first.

Advantages:

  • Freedom to do what you want with your website
  • The ability to throw as much computing power you can at your website
  • Free to use

Disadvantages

  • Requires a high level of knowledge in computer technology
  • Requires a lot of patience to learn how it’s done
  • Your website speed all depends on your internet connection speed

Shared Hosting Services

Shared hosting refers to a hosting sever that you share with thousands of different websites. These websites are also stored within the same computer. The shared hosting option is generally for the budget conscious website owner. Usually there are many packages available with most offering unlimited bandwidth and storage along with free domain name registration—although, don’t be fooled by this: most shared hosts usually only allow basic web files, meaning that you can’t use your unlimited storage for computer backup.

Advantages

  • Affordable and great to start a website with a custom domain
  • Doesn’t require you to have lots of technical knowledge
  • Offers easy to install options for forum web apps and popular blogging apps

Disadvantages:

  • Incredibly slow
  • You will get host warnings regarding memory and CPU overuse

Virtual Private Server & Dedicated Servers

Website hosting is available with 2 top options, which include dedicated servers and virtual servers. These two server options allow you to have a whole server system to yourself. Dedicated servers are singular physical server systems which you can easily rent inside that of a data center. Virtual servers are singular virtual machines which have their own operating system.

Advantages:

  • Almost unlimited domain hosting
  • Available as one of the fastest hosting options available

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • Requires a higher level of technical knowledge

Starting Out

If you’re serious about starting either a blog or a business, it is best to weigh the different options to make sure you have the right website hosting option to choose from. Some things that you may need to consider are your budget, what you will be placing on your website, and how much estimated traffic you are looking to gain. Businesses may opt for dedicated or virtual servers, while blog owners may be best served by hosted servers or shared services.

It’s important to understand that when setting up a website it does cost money, although, by becoming knowledgeable about the costs of website setup, you can easily keep it well within your budget. You also need to remember that it is a long term commitment, if you want to make it thrive, and choosing the right web hosting company to cater to your web hosting needs can really help your website thrive. So … what web hosting option did you choose?