Bluehost is one of the biggest names when it comes to web hosting services. The company offers professional, and trustworthy managed WordPress hosting services. Managed WordPress hosting from Bluehost...
GoDaddy web hosting is a shared web hosting service. Compared to other top names in the industry, GoDaddy ranks lower. The prices are cheap, which makes GoDaddy a go-to option for beginners. Apart fro...
What is Web Hosting Service?
Let’s say you have a business website, instead of hosting it on your computer, you’d want it hosted in a safe environment. Local servers are costly, require constant attention, and even the smallest mistake can lead to huge losses.
Web hosting is the concept of hosting your website on a professional server, or some other server.
No business wants to spend huge sums on buying a server, setting them up, and dealing with network setup. It’s far easier to pay a small fee per month and get professional web hosting services.
A web hosting service provider is a business that has all the equipment in place to run web apps, websites, and more. Whenever someone wants to visit your website, all they have to do is type in your domain name. It’s the web hosting service provider’s responsibility to make sure your website shows up.
Some web hosting providers ask you to give your own domain so they can host your website. Some web hosting service providers also offer you domain purchasing services.
Take GoDaddy for example, you can buy a domain name, and web hosting service all on a single platform.
You also need to be careful while choosing a web host. Not all web hosting services are equal. A web hosting service for a website won’t work for a web app that has a front end, a back end, and a database.
Types of Web Hosting
There are multiple types of web hosting services to choose from today. Technological advancement has made it possible for you to hire a team of dedicated professionals who’ll handle every aspect of hosting for you.
Do keep in mind that the rule of “expensive is better” doesn’t work with web hosting. You don’t need a supercomputer’s worth of computing power when you’re running a simple blogging website.
Some types of hosting will require you to have substantial knowledge about the technology. Some services are super simple, even a toddler can make a choice (hypothetically, ofcourse).
Let’s break these types of web hosting services down:
1. Website Builders
This particular type of web hosting service allows you to build your website within minutes. There’s a drag-and-drop interface for customizing your website as you want. Almost all web builders will have pre-built themes that you can use. Themes are both free and paid, so keep an eye out for sneaky additional prices.
Some of the most common website builders software include Wix and Squarespace. We can also include WordPress in this list as it also allows you to build your website from scratch.
On average, every website builder will have thousands of themes and plugins that you can add to your website. You can also add blogs that are also stored on a database somewhere that you have to worry about.
Most small businesses like to use Wix to get a website up and running. Wix is simple to use and there’s no technical knowledge needed.
Website builders are backed by content management systems like WordPress.com. This is why WordPress has an advantage over website builders. You don’t have to add a new post/page on your website for every new piece of content you add.
Another type of website builder is a static site builder. This web builder allows users to generate completely static HTML pages based on the markdown files you edit.
Static generators don’t host websites, some web hosting options like GitHub Pages, only support static hosting and use a static site generator.
If you want to deploy a custom code, then website builders aren’t a great option. Website builders are perfect for blogs, but they’re not the right platform if you want to use custom code.
Some popular website builders include:
- GitHub Pages - GitHub Pages has its own static website generator Jekyll to publish your site, and they’ll host it on one of their subdomains, or you can use your own domain.
- Wix - Wix has great drag-and-drop functionality that allows you to edit elements on your website.
- WordPress.com - WordPress is the biggest website builder in the world. Almost 50% of the world’s websites are built on WordPress.com. Plus, you don’t have to worry about tinkering with your server, or installing WordPress.
2. Shared Web Hosting
Shared Web Hosting is an upgrade from website builders. As the name suggests, with this type of hosting, you have to share the server’s resources with other web apps and websites. It’s up to the hosting provider to handle all the configurations of the server.
Shared hosting providers offer additional services like a domain email and databases that are hosted on servers that are shared by other users. Usually, web hosting providers offer complete packages, so users can get everything in a single package.
In a shared hosting service, you’re sharing the resources of a server with other people. Basically, you’re getting a specific percentage of the resource the machine has to offer. This makes the plan cheap, but you are also limited in the resources you can get. In some cases, it even affects your app/website’s performance.
While shared web hosting is pretty cost-effective, it does have a fair share of disadvantages. Your web app’s performance will be based on the type of other apps hosted on the same server.
Sometimes, all your shared hosting neighbors get limited traffic on their websites, so you have ample resources at your hand. Other times, the server is full of web apps and websites that get huge amounts of traffic. Which ultimately hurts your website’s performance.
Some other disadvantages of shared web hosting includes:
- Open to security issues. If one website on the server is attacked, chances are other properties on the web will also be affected. If the server itself gets hacked, then every single app/website on it will be impacted.
- On shared hosting, there’s a limit to what you can install. If you want to use languages like Python, Node.js, C#, Java, or something similar, your options are limited.
- There’s no root access. You can’t change the configuration of the server. That control is only with the hosting service provider.
- Shared web hosting service customer support is pretty limited. In most cases, you’ll be asked to upgrade to a higher plan.
3. Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated web hosting is the better option compared to shared hosting services. In this service, you rent a whole physical server from your hosting provider. You don’t have to share the resources with anyone else. You will also have root access, meaning complete control over the configuration of the server.
When you order a dedicated server, you’ll have to choose between two options. You can either manage every single part of the server by yourself, or you can get managed hosting service.
As the name suggests, in managed hosting you’ll get a team that will manage the server.
It’s important to have basic technical knowledge before you order a dedicated hosting service. You can choose the operating system, the amount of RAM it will have, the type of CPU on board, and the physical storage.
The higher specifications, the higher the price will be. If the traffic on your app/website becomes too much and one dedicated server isn’t enough, then you’ll have to configure a load balancer.
If you feel like your needs won’t be met with a dedicated server, you can go for a cloud hosting service. Cloud hosting offers you flexibility, where you can scale up the resources whenever needed, and scale down as per your need.
Some of the biggest shared hosting service providers include:’
- HostGator: There are multiple types of shared and dedicated hosting plans to choose from.
- GoDaddy: GoDaddy will sell you the domain name, and the hosting to get the website up and running.
- InMotion: InMotion has a range of shared, dedicated, and WordPress hosting plans for users.
4. Cloud Hosting Service
Cloud hosting service providers have data centers all across the globe. All the services are basically virtual, there’s no physical server that you can rent. In simple words, you can get more storage, RAM, and computing power as you need.
The servers for cloud hosting are available worldwide. Users can choose a server that’s closest to them with the lowest latency. As a cloud server can be scaled up or down at any time, you always have enough resources at hand.
But this flexibility comes at a high cost.
5. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
With IaaS, the cloud hosting service providers deliver your infrastructure all over the internet. Basically all the networking, storage, servers, memory, and CPU you’ll use will be virtual and easily scalable.
You will have to configure and maintain these resources, but you don’t have to worry about the physical infrastructure. As everything is virtual, all you can do is maintain, and configure through a browser, or via the command line. You can make almost real-time changes to the infrastructure.
Some of the top-rated IaaS providers include:
- Digital Ocean: an IaaS cloud service provider that’s simple to use. They’re one of the leading names in the world.
- Amazon Web Services: Also known as AWS, they’re the first and most popular of all cloud providers.
- Google Cloud Platform: This is Google’s own IaaS.
- Microsoft Azure: Microsoft’s IaaS Solution that’s highly scalable and incredible.
6. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is a bit different than common services. PaaS providers offer frameworks to developers that they can use to build their apps. Users don’t have to spend any time setting up the servers, or configuring the virtual machines. All they have to do is build the apps, the PaaS provider manages everything else.
But, as you’re using a specialized framework using PaaS, you’ll have to code your app based on the rules of the framework. It can be a bit annoying at first, but you can get habitual of it.
Popular PaaS providers include:
- Heroku: Heroku is a great PaaS provider. It makes it easy to deploy Node.js, Ruby, Java, PHP, Python, Go, Scala, and Clojure applications with a few simple commands.
- Google App Engine: The Google App Engine allows you to build highly scalable apps on a managed serverless platform.
7. Function as a Service (FaaS)
With FaaS, you don’t deploy your services to the cloud, you just deploy the functions. This service type also protects you from spending your time configuring your server.
Just choose the amount of time you’ll need to write the code, then write the functions to return the data you need.
The cloud hosting service provider will handle the hardware, VM, OS, and web server software. You don’t have to get your hands dirty.
Some of the most popular FaaS Providers include:
- Amazon Lambda: Probably the biggest name when it comes to FaaS.
- Azure Functions: Microsoft’s FaaS Solution for users.
- Cloud Functions: Google’s Cloud Platform FaaS offering for users.
What Kind of Hosting Features Should You Look for?
A lot of web hosts offer limited features if you’re going for their started packages. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions laid out by your providers so you don’t have any troubles later on.
Still, it’s a great challenge to choose the right type of web hosting service, and you need to know which features are offered by which providers:
The first and foremost thing that you need to consider about your web hosting provider is the uptime percentage it offers.
It's not just frustrating for the users, it's also frustrating for Google. If your website keeps crashing every now and then, it severely impacts the SEO rankings. So, you need to choose a provider that offers incredible uptime.
Every website requires a different level of storage. If you have an eCommerce website, then it will require more storage than a blogging website. Regardless of what’s the case, you should choose a web hosting service and plan that best fits your needs.
If you think you’ll need a lot of storage in the upcoming months, then you should invest in the plans from early on instead of upgrading them later on.
3. Monthly Traffic
Most users skip out on this factor, but it is an essential step for choosing a web hosting provider. Some web hosting providers have a monthly traffic limit, so it means you’ll have to pay an additional charge if your monthly users cross that limit.
Make sure you read carefully how many visitors you’re allowed in a month. If it's possible choose a web hosting provider that offers unlimited visitors per month so you don’t face any issues.
4. Loading Speed
Your website loading speed is of great importance when it comes to SEO. Google often prioritizes websites that load faster. It offers a better user experience to visitors which is crucial to Google.
So, check if the website hosting service you’re hiring offers great speed. This is a factor you should keep in mind as most users tend to forget it. If your website opens in a second, then the visitor will be more inclined to read the content, compared to having to wait 5-6 seconds.
5. Customer Support
I think customer support is one of the most vital factors you need to consider when choosing a web hosting service provider. Especially, if you’re not technologically proficient. You would want the customer support team to pick up your phone or reply to your email whenever you want.
You need instant response whenever your website runs into trouble. That’s why it's important to consider good customer support while choosing a web hosting service provider.
Best Hosting Solutions for Beginners
If you’re a newcomer to the world of web hosting services, all this information may be feeling a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered too. To get started, you need to have access to some basic information.
Before choosing a web hosting provider, take advantage of free demos, and see what works best for you. Always consider your needs against what the web hosting service is offering.
There’s no one size fits, so you may want to use some of these, or you may not want anyone of these. Sometimes, it works best to use a mixture of all the solutions.
Here’s a simple breakdown that may help you out:
- Shared web hosting - Suitable for blogging websites.
- Dedicated Web Hosting - For web apps and websites that need tons of resources.
- Cloud Web Hosting - Perfect for businesses that want complete control over the resources at hand. Can scale up or down at choice.