A beginners guide.
Web hosting, in the simplest form, is defined as the activity or business of providing storage space and access for websites. In other words, a web hosting provider such as Arcane Technology Solutions gives you space on the internet to build your own website.
Most web hosts assume that you’re at least somewhat familiar with the basic terminology. If not, then you’ve come to the right place. This article aims to give you the basic knowledge to understand what it is, and why you need it.
What is a Web Host
A Web Host is a company that owns and maintains web servers with the purpose of hosting web sites. You rent space from these companies and in return, they will maintain and service the server. Part of this entails keeping the server software current, applying any security patches, and ensuring the site is always available, this is known as ‘uptime’. To achieve peak performance, these servers are normally housed in specialist ‘datacenters’ with dedicated high-speed connections to ensure that website loading speeds are as high as possible.
Web Host companies come in all shapes and sizes, and a number of them will include a lot of other services to make them a one-stop-shop to get yourself on the web. This could include domain name registration which ensures your domain name will point to the correct IP address as soon as the name is registered. If you register your domain name with a different company you will need to specify the IP address of your hosting server before anyone is able to view your files.
Types of Web Hosting
- Shared Hosting
Shared hosting means your site will be hosted on a web server that is also hosting a number of other websites at the same time. The server disk space and server resources, i.e. RAM, data transfer is divided up between the various clients. Although your site is located on a shared server, your files are still secure and can not be viewed by anyone else who also has their site on that web server.
As well as sharing the server resources, all the websites also share the same IP. This can be important in some cases as some websites can get banned by search engines for improper behavior such as SPAM or illegal activities. When a website is banned, the search engine will block the IP address which means all the other sites on the web server may also be affected. It is therefore important to ensure that the web hosting company carefully monitors the activities of the websites they host or state what kind of sites are appropriate for that server.
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- Virtual Private Server Hosting
VPS hosting is one of the most popular hosting services you can choose for your website. It uses virtualization technology to provide you with dedicated (private) resources on a server with multiple users.
It’s a more secure and stable solution than shared hosting where you don’t get a dedicated server space. However, it’s smaller-scale and cheaper than renting an entire server.
VPS hosting is usually chosen by website owners who have medium-level traffic that exceeds the limits of shared hosting plans but still don’t need the resources of a dedicated server.
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- Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated Hosting means that the entire web server is ‘dedicated’ to one website, or one client. A client can host a number of their own websites if they choose to do so. The benefits of this are that you control the server, and can be assured that no one else is doing anything on their website that will affect your site. It also means that all the systems resources are geared to your site which will boost the speed and reliability of your site. On the downside, having your own dedicated server incurs a much bigger investment and you are responsible for ensuring that the server is always running.
This can be a great option if you run a large site that will cover these costs and you have the technical expertise to manage the server.
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Basic Terms You Should Know
These are the basic terms of the industry you should know before signing up with any web hosting provider.
- Servers. These are computers with the sole purpose of hosting websites and web applications, that are almost always online.
- Domains. Using domain names enables visitors to identify websites and access them through their browsers. For example, our site’s domain name is www.arcanetechnologysolutions.com.
- Top-Level Domains (TLDs). These are the suffixes at the end of every domain. The most popular TLD is .com, but there are hundreds of alternatives.
- Subdomains. A subdomain enables you to set up multiple websites using the same domain name. An example would be blog.yoursite.com, where blog is the subdomain.
- Content Management Systems (CMSs). This term refers to software that’s built to help you create and manage specific types of websites and content. For example, WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs available.
- Bandwidth. A lot of web hosts restrict how much data you can send and receive from your server, as a way to limit how many resources you can access. Most plans will tell you whether they can handle unlimited bandwidth or only up to a certain point.
You’re going to run into these six terms all the time, so make sure you’re well-acquainted with them. Alternatively, you can bookmark this article so you can reference it whenever you need to.
Signing Up For a Hosting Plan
Armed with the basic knowledge of what web hosting is, you can now sign up for a web hosting plan. But which one? If you’re new, I’d recommend starting with a small shared hosting package, you can always upgrade from there as your website, and knowledge grow. Of course, you’ll also need a domain for your new site. Most hosting companies will walk you through the process of purchasing a domain during the hosting plan ordering process.
Many providers, including Arcane Technology Solutions, gives you all the tools you need to start experimenting with creating a website, including a free drag and drop website builder.
Start building your new site today with Arcane Technology Solutions