What is Web Hosting?
Just as you would need a brick and mortar space, an address and other essentials to set up a business in the physical world, The Web host can be equated to a real estate agent in the physical world who helps find the required space, albeit, in the digital world.
How It Works
The website created for your business must be stored in web servers which are high power computers connected to superfast networks. When a user puts your URL (web address) into his browser, the web server that has stored your website transfers the content to the user so that he can access all the information that you have placed on your website.
A web hosting service manages the web servers with appropriate software, support, security, speed, bandwidth and other features to ensure that your website is accessible to users from around the globe on a 24x7x365 basis.
A domain name is essential to find your website and works like your physical address. It is important that you choose a relevant domain name that is easy for users to remember. Though most domain names are priced around $10 per year, some domain names can be expensive while some hosting packages may offer domain names for free.
Web Hosting Types
With advancement in technology different types of web hosting have evolved to meet the needs of customers as well as the websites. The more common type is shared hosting and the easiest for beginners. This system employs a common server and is shared among several customers. The following are among the major advantages/disadvantages of the system.
Cheaper because you pay only for part of space in the server
Easy to use because it is preconfigured for most options and the hosting company takes care of maintenance and security updates.
You share the server resources with others. If one site gets too busy, it can slow down others on the same server
Less flexibility – More like living in an apartment where restrictions on pets, wild parties etc. your ability to carry out modification of components or block specific ports can be compromised.
Large organizations often choose dedicated hosting services considering the large volume of data they are required to carry on the site, complex functionalities, shopping cart, payment gateway and similar added features.
In choosing a web host, you have the ability to decide between Linux and Windows operating platforms. While Windows is designed for the windows machine, Linux is specifically designed for web servers.
Html, PHP, Perl, and ASP are the popular scripting languages. While Windows use Asp, Linux uses PHP and Perl as scripting languages. However, some hosting companies also offer both the options.
Free Web Hosting
This is another option that is suitable for websites that have little or no revenue objectives. Customization can be difficult with this option because of limited accessibility. Similarly, bandwidth and domain names can also be a challenge. WordPress and Blogger are examples.