By definition, Website Hosting is an online service that provides computer resources needed for a website to run visible for internet users. Just like you need SEO marketing to be seen on Google, you need a hosting company to be seen, at all, online. Examples of these resources are hard-drive space, bandwidth, and memory. The one that provides this service is called a server, while the host is the device that connects your content to the network. Every website you have visited online is hosted. So, to sum it up, a server is the software or hardware device that provides services to programs and other devices on the internet. Both connect you to different sites all over the world. Or in this case, the internet world.
You need SEO marketing to be seen on Google, you need a hosting company to be seen, at all, online. Examples of these resources are hard-drive space, bandwidth, and memory. The one that provides this service is called a server, while the host is the device that connects your content to the network. Every website you have visited online is hosted. So, to sum it up, a server is the software or hardware device that provides services to programs and other devices on the internet. Both connect you to different sites all over the world. Or in this case, the internet world.
Every digital marketing agency knows how hard it is for “private” people to understand these concepts. So I will try to explain it in a way that everyone can understand – regardless of prior knowledge.
In Layman’s Terms
Let’s say you go grocery shopping. And the goods of different kinds of brands are websites. Now, the grocery holds a place for these brands for you to see. The owner of the grocery store takes care of the space, rents out the place to do this than it actually has an address. If this was the “online” world – the store would be the host.
But in order for you to cook some scrambled eggs at home, you need to actually get the eggs from refrigerated products and the oil from the aisle by a cart and then go to the cashier to pay for it. How everything is barcoded, to be scanned whether you had paid for it or not at the exit, (and sets an alarm if you didn’t) is all part of its paying scheme. It’s how grocery shopping is done, and this can be compared to how a server works.
The grocery store is the host which is most often a device like your laptop or desktop. Its street address is the IP addresses that these hosts have which is necessary to know for retrieval of sources of data and input. Sometimes when you go grocery shopping, there is a service that delivers the goods later for you (when you didn’t bring your car or something). Now, these delivery trucks or vans serve as devices like the hub, routers and things alike are not considered hosts because they do not have IP addresses, just like the trucks. They deliver for the grocery store, but they cannot be considered as the main source of the goods. They may be considered accessories, portals or conduits to the actual data transmission.
The websites, like I said are the goods. Let’s say when you got the eggs, it was on a designated shelf. And eggs can be categorized into white eggs and not white eggs, refrigerated and not refrigerated, and there are also 100-year-old eggs, duck’s eggs and salted eggs. The shelves where each kind is stored, are what we call “the servers”. Each computer’s program is specific for each website you come across. Just like how each dozen-egg-cartons have a specific barcode which obtains specific prize and details. Now let’s zoom out a little bit. The area that holds all of these… the grocery, the parking lot, the goods and everything else, is the internet. Or the worldwide web.
How does Hosting work?
When files that make a website are uploaded from your desktop, Website Hosting happens.
There are various styles of hosting. The amount of space allocated in a server reflects the need of the websites. A website which is supposed to represent a small-medium scale business may need more space than that of a personal blog. But if this personal blog expands into e-commerce, then eventually, it may change its hosting plan into something that could provide bigger memory with additional features.
To make it a bit easier to understand: choosing the right web hosting plan is like finding the right office for your business. If your business is a food processor, then find it a kitchen. But if it’s a restaurant, you’ll have to go to a kitchen with an extended area for dine-in.
Styles of Website Hosting
Let’s extend our perspective of figuring out whether you’ll be getting only a kitchen or the one with an additional dining area. First, you need to make sure that the equipment and facilities inside the kitchen are complete and running smoothly, right?
Are the electric circuits running? Do you have to use gas or electricity in cooking? Do you have utilities in case of emergency? The same thing applies to your website.
Here are some Hosting options that are commonly used:
- Shared Hosting – is like sharing a kitchen with other chefs. It’s noisy, doesn’t give much privacy and their tools are your tools. Commonly, you share the pantry, refrigerator, grill, workstations and the lieu – generally, with shared hosting, you get a “co-working space”. You have access to high-tech kitchen appliances, huge big ovens and different kinds of tools to bake. However, you cannot change the way it looks, the design of the gas and water pipes and connections to burners. Examples of this option could be Google or Yahoo.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) – If you are to expand your food factory into a dine-in restaurant, you might want to attract more customers by adding a parking lot to that. Because of this ability to customize and change things around the space allotted to you, it differs from shared hosting and obviously, users are isolated from each other. They work side by side but are not necessarily dependent on one another.
- Dedicated Server – Only huge companies go for dedicated servers. Not only can you customize it, but all control is in your hands. From designing your website and dealing with configurations, it has that much space to utilize. These kinds of plans are the priciest ones, yet the most lenient with space.
Avoid The Biggest Mistakes
Now that you understand what web hosting is, it’s easier to evade the biggest mistake of clicking yes to plans that include free web hosting services with the domain name you purchased from the beginning without understanding what you really need.
Great planning is also an advantage in deciding which style of web hosting you want to go for. As to how it will serve you in the future, having your own website is a good investment. So, make sure you decide how it will be hosted.