What Is Web Hosting?

Photo of author

Written by Jerlynn Tay


Business owners and creative individuals alike keep hearing about how they should start a website.

The former need it to promote their company while the latter can use it as an outlet for their ideas.

However, this may seem a bit scary at first, especially to people with little to no technical background.

That is where web hosting enters the scene, lending a helping hand to those in need.

Let’s recap some of the web hosting terms that we will generally be using here.

But what is it really?

Web Hosting Services

Let’s assume for a moment that you’ve already built a website.

It’s brimming with relevant information about your business and shows off your hard work.

Now, you just need to make it accessible on the internet; but the question is, how?

Web hosting is the answer to this problem.

Hosting providers are companies that, as their name suggests, play host to your website.

They provide you with technical services such as storing your website on their server and keeping it secure.

Your website is given an address, making it a part of the world wide web.

To put it more rigidly, website hosting is a service that allows businesses and individuals alike to post their websites on the internet.

Companies that provide you with web hosting services put their hardware and software at your disposal.

By going with a service provider, you get access to their advanced technology, security measures, and experienced technical support.

They will help you along the way and make sure that your website’s needs are met.

Different Types of Web Hosting

As you know by now, websites are hosted on servers, which are located in large data centers.

However, not every server is the same, and their differences do matter.

There are multiple types of servers, and they cater to various needs website owners might have.

We usually consider the following four types of web hosting to be the most common:

  • Shared Hosting
  • Dedicated hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Virtual private server (VPS) hosting

Shared hosting means your website will be hosted together with some other sites on a single server. This option is less expensive than others since all the websites share the same server resources. It’s the simplest way of hosting a website and is better suited to smaller businesses with less traffic. Our best 10 shared hosting listed here.

Dedicated hosting is great for websites with a lot of traffic and site owners who want greater control over the server. You will have all the server resources for yourself but at a considerably higher price. But with more control comes greater responsibility, and not a small amount of technical expertise is required.

Cloud hosting operates on a network of computers, providing you with all the resources you could need. That makes it highly scalable and the perfect solution for rapidly growing businesses. Also, you don’t have to invest in your own computing infrastructure. Do you know how Cloud Hosting really works?

VPS hosting is a combination of shared and dedicated servers. You have just enough control over your server and get more storage space without really paying for dedicated hosting.

Which server is right for you depends on several factors: the amount of money you’re willing to pay, the need for control over the server, performance, scalability, security, etc.  Such things are best discussed with the service provider.

What is Website Uptime

If you researched some of the website hosting services already, you might have noticed that they boast high uptime figures.

Website uptime is simply the time during which your site is accessible to users over a certain period.

It’s crucial to note that this number does not account for the performance of the site or its limited functionality.

Uptime just shows that the website is available. Here are a few services that can help you monitor your website uptime. Uptime & Uptime Robot.

Obviously, website owners want as much uptime as possible.

A website that is unavailable will cost the owner a lot of money.

This is especially true for highly-competitive environments such as eCommerce websites.

For that very reason, web hosting providers do their best to keep the sites up and running 24/7.

Most of them claim 99.99% uptime, as promising 100% is simply not realistic.

This means that, on a scale of a single year, your website would have a downtime of 52 minutes.

Is Website Load Time Important?

Before users get to witness how incredible your website is, they need to request the page from the server.

The time it takes for the entire page to appear in the browser window is called page load time. And yes — it is vital to the success of your website.

The ability to have any piece of information at the click of a button has spoiled many people. For that reason, there is less and less patience for websites that cannot quickly deliver their content.

Akamai’s study has shown that about half of the users expect the page to load within two seconds.

If it takes more time than that, users are likely to go elsewhere.

Moreover, online stores with inadequate load time lose even more customers than other websites.

But, it’s not just customers that you lose — the SEO ranking of your website might also suffer due to high load time.

Google recommends your site load in under 2-3 seconds.

Check your PageSpeed here.

You might be running too many plugins, add-ons, or large images on your web page.

However, one of the main problems (and also the one you can prevent) is the distance between the user and your web hosting provider.

The closer the server is to the user, the faster the page will load. That is why you should carefully think about the location of your web hosting provider relative to your target audience.

Also, pay attention to what kind of hardware your hosting provider is using. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are all the rage now.

Websites stored on these vital devices will load much faster than they would from a hard drive.

Do You Need Web Hosting Services?

YES, if you want to have a website of your own.

The same applies to anyone looking to promote their business or ideas. Web hosting is a necessary step in achieving recognition online.

You need a server that will host your website and display it to online users.

But website hosting providers do much more than that — they take care of the infrastructure, making sure that both hardware and software are operating smoothly.

Then, there’s security, maintenance, uptime, and server management — all of which are best left to experts to handle.

Furthermore, this is only scratching the surface of what web hosting providers can do for you.

You need web hosting services because that is the most practical method of running a successful and competitive website.

You can certainly host your very own website as well. But let’s not go down that route for now.

Find out what others are saying about hosting websites on your own here.

Do not miss out on our guide to the Best Web Hosting