Web hosting also known as website hosting or web hosting is the process where a web hosting provider stores and maintains website files and applications on a server to make its customers’ websites accessible on the internet. Web hosting requires the use of one or more physical or virtual servers to serve as the web host, as well as a domain name system (DNS) for name configurations and pointing to the hosting service.
Hosting also refers to the provision of infrastructure, services, or resources to make digital content, applications, or websites accessible over the internet. In the expansive realm of the World Wide Web, hosting serves as the backbone that enables individuals and organizations to showcase their digital presence, share information, and provide services to a global audience.
One of the most common forms is web hosting, where providers offer the infrastructure and resources to host websites. Websites consist of files and databases, and web hosting servers store and deliver these elements when users navigate to a specific domain. It’s akin to renting space on a server to make a website accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Cloud hosting has gained prominence in recent years. Unlike traditional hosting models that rely on a single server, cloud hosting utilizes a network of interconnected servers. This decentralized approach offers scalability and flexibility, allowing users to scale resources up or down based on their needs. Additionally, users only pay for the resources they consume, making it a cost-effective solution for various applications.
A hosting provider must obtain accreditation from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) before they can sell domain names, particularly top-level domain names (TLDs). ICANN is a nonprofit organization that oversees the DNS, root servers and central database of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Moreover, ICANN manages the overall supply of IP addresses.
Types of web hosting
Each website has unique needs, whether it’s a personal blog or a business website. In addition to selling storage space on servers, hosting companies offer services such as server management, antivirus options, website backups and technical support.
Similar to sharing a house with roommates, shared hosting stores multiple websites on each server. The websites also share the server’s resources, such as RAM and a processor. Shared hosting is the least expensive of all hosting options and is great for small businesses, beginners, first-time website owners and hobbyists. User-friendly website-building tools, such as drag-and-drop website builders and WordPress hosting, are usually included with a shared hosting service plan. The downside of shared hosting is that website owners can’t control server resources and could suffer from performance degradation. But some hosting providers offer resource protection options for stable website performance, regardless of how many sites share the server at any given time.
With this option, web hosting plans can be purchased in bulk from experienced web hosting companies at discounted rates. Those who purchase these bundles frequently resell them to their customers to make money. The original hosting company offers the necessary hardware, software and infrastructure to host the websites. This hosting is popular among web designers and developers as it offers them the option to host their client websites. Resellers have the flexibility to set their own web hosting plans and prices along with white labeling, which lets clients see the reseller’s branding and not that of the actual hosting company.
Instead of a single on-premises server, cloud hosting employs virtualization technology to pool resources from a collection of servers provisioned in the cloud. This flexible hosting option lets website owners manually scale resources up or down, depending on their usage requirements. It also offers an autoscale option where resources are automatically increased during traffic spikes. Cloud hosting is best suited for businesses that need a cost-effective option that comes with extra resources, is fully scalable and doesn’t require much technical expertise. For e-commerce websites, a fully managed cloud hosting provider is a good option, as they can quickly set up and run a store and also provide continuous maintenance and support for the website.
Virtual private server hosting:
VPS hosting allocates a dedicated portion of a server, also called a partition, to website owners. Each partition provides dedicated RAM and processing power for each website. Websites hosted on this type of platform rarely suffer from performance issues. VPS hosting is less expensive than dedicated hosting but costs more than shared hosting. But VPS hosting resources might not be ideal for users who want to host large online stores or stream media files on their websites. However, VPS hosting is suitable for small business owners as it provides root access for customization and specialized software installations.
This type of hosting offers the website ownerfull control and comes with admin and root access to the web server. Website owners can install their preferred security tools and OS. Dedicated hosting is more expensive than other options. It also requires technical expertise, as website owners are responsible for managing the servers.