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What is hosting? – That's a normal question among internet users. If you're planning on familiarizing yourself with building websites (whether it's for a blog or creating other pages of your own), it's necessary to understand what hosting is since it'll be fundamental in your decision making.
There are some important aspects that should be considered before choosing which type of web storage is right for you.
In this article we'll cover some useful points, including how hosting works, its differences with other key concepts (such as domains and IP addresses), along with the types of hosting.
What is hosting?
In simple terms, web hosting is the space where a website lives so that anyone can see it on the internet.
Hosting providers are the ones that offer you the storage service.
How does hosting work?
Web hosting works like a USB drive in that you simply store your documents on it. When you want to use the files stored on a USB drive you simply plug it into a computer and open the folder you're interested in. That is, the documents live there, just like hosting.
In other words, hosting is limited to saving your site information and when a user wants to see it, the web browser retrieves the information from the server that stores it.
The process is fairly simple. The first step is to type the website address into an web browser or use a search engine to find the page you want to access. Once you do that, the web browser searches for information on the server. Finally, once the web browser finds all the content of the page, it downloads it to your computer so you can access it.
While it may sound complicated, this whole process takes a matter of seconds.
What is the difference between hosting and a domain?
When we talk about hosting we mean the space in which you store all the information on your site, while the domain is the name you assign to your page on the internet so that users can easily find you and access your content.
The function of the domain is to give an identity, as is the case with the hostingniche.com domain.
What is the difference between hosting and an IP address?
Within hosting we store information, while the IP address is a unique and unrepeatable set of numbers that serves to identify a computer connected to the network that carries information packets, so that there is no doubt about the origin and destination of the data transmission. An IP address looks like this: 188.8.131.52.
Let us give you a clearer example. Hosting is like the house you are renting. In it are all your things: living room, dining room, TV, photo albums, clothes, shoes, etc. (which are stored files and information).
The domain would be the house address, which helps to easily identify where it is located: Calle Margaritas No.4218, Colonia los Volcanes. And finally, the IP address would be the coordinates with which you can locate the house on the GPS.
What types of hosting exist?
Although the market offers several types of hosting that cover different needs, here are the 6 most common:
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Server
- VPS (Virtual Private Server)
- Cloud Hosting
- Reseller Hosting
- Mail Hosting
Each of them with different benefits and specially created for the specific needs of each client.
Shared hosting is a type of hosting where the provider rents small spaces to several websites within the same server. Thus, all clients host their content and at the same time share server resources, among other CPUs, processor, RAM, bandwidth, IP address or monthly data transfer.
It works like an apartment building. The building (server) has certain divisions that form small houses inside. Each department (shared hosting account) is rented by different people and among them they share services such as the elevator, surveillance, maintenance, light, or water (resources).
If the elevator breaks down and one of the tenants have not paid their maintenance fee, then it will not be repaired until it clears its debt.
What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated server is one whose exclusive use is of a single client. That is, it does not share resources with other people or companies, since it uses an entire server, so performance is not affected by traffic, as can happen with shared hosting, in addition to having a higher level of security.
If the shared hosting could be compared to renting an apartment, the dedicated server would be like renting your own home, since you would be renting the entire property.
You don't share services with anyone – if you forget to pay for electricity, the only one affected is you.
What is a VPS (Virtual Private Server)?
A VPS (Virtual Private Server), is a web storage service characterized by a physical server divided into independent virtual partitions capable of working with its own operating system and without sharing resources with other VPS. The provision is similar to shared hosting, but with the benefits of a dedicated server.
VPS is usually compared to shared hosting because the same server is virtually divided and rented by different clients. However, in this case the performance of the web pages is not affected because resources such as RAM, processor, bandwidth or data transfer capacity are not shared among multiple users, so its benefits are compared with the dedicated server.
A VPS is like a fractionation. The land (server) is sectioned into a certain number of individual lots in which houses are built with their own services (virtual servers). Each house is rented by different tenants.
The only thing they share with each other is the cost of street lighting inside the subdivision and the guard who opens and closes the gate.
What is cloud hosting or server in the "cloud"?
Surely cloud is a term with which you are already familiar. Today, technological advances have led us to use "the cloud" to store documents, photographs, and music. Web storage works similarly; All the resources used to collect the information on your website are executed from a cloud.
The main advantage of cloud hosting is that you pay only for what you use unlike other services that already have pre-established packages.
What is reseller hosting?
Reseller hosting is basically the resale of the web storage service. That is, you acquire the hosting service with a provider and at the same time you have customers who pay you for a hosting within the same plan you hired.
As a reseller you can include external domains or create subdomains, in addition to creating the hosting plans you want.
Advantages of reseller hosting:
- You don't need technical knowledge to handle it. The most common control panel to manage the service is known as CPanel, which in addition to facilitating certain tasks and reducing your implementation times, gives your clients independence so that they themselves manage their web storage service.
- You can create your own hosting plans. The reseller hosting works the same as when any other type of web hosting is hired: different plans are put together depending on the needs of the users and each plan is assigned a monthly price or fee depending on the benefits they offer. In this case, the only difference is that whoever is sublet the service will be the one who receives the monthly payments for the rent.
- Technical support is provided by the provider. Most of the providers that allow you to be a reseller of the storage service take care of the technical support. They perform all maintenance work so that there is no fault or to solve some kind of existing problem.
What is mail hosting?
There are currently companies that offer the possibility of having a personal email account for free; Some of the best known brands are Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo. However, the mail hosting service allows you to register your own domain name and have a professional mail service.
For example, if your company is called "Fulanitos Tres," by having mail hosting all emails will have the domain: @ fulanitostres.com.
This is highly recommended when the business level seeks to generate an image of seriousness and trust. The advantages offered by this type of storage are very similar to those of the free options, with the difference that the email address will be personalized, you will have more storage space and you will have more security.
Does free hosting work?
Free hosting is useful for learning and experimenting with real web hosting, but it is not recommended for a serious and professional project because it has limited features.
In addition it is usually financed by advertising that detracts from the image of quality that we want to offer to our customers.
How do free hosting services work?
Most hosting provider companies that offer free services actually provide an extremely basic service hoping that the user's needs will drive them to hire a more complete package.
In many cases, the only real advantage that they offer you is the space to upload your website, since the inconveniences are usually greater.
What are the limitations of free hosting?
The service providers offer you a space to host your website, but among other disadvantages are:
- Disk space limit.
- Bandwidth limit, which drifts slowly.
- Advertising and lack of backups.
- Limit on visitor traffic and technical support.
- Subdomain type http://mypage.provider.com/.
When is free hosting useful?
Free hosting is usually a decoy to attract the most reluctant customers to the payment options. However, it may be useful to try, for example, WordPress.org to learn how to create a web page, to experiment with real hosting or for small websites like forums or blogs without much traffic.
How do I choose the best hosting option?
Choosing the best hosting option is not a simple task, since today there is a wide variety of companies that offer different web storage services. The diversity of packages and benefits is very wide and it is normal that we feel slightly confused because we are not experts in computer matters.
Determining what type of hosting is best suited to our needs or finding a reliable provider are basic aspects that we must take into account when choosing a good hosting.
Likewise, we must not ignore the most important technical aspects to consider when choosing a web host, issues that we will develop in depth throughout this article.
What type of hosting suits me best?
If your website is an SME (small and medium business) or a WordPress blog, usually a shared hosting or a specialized hosting in the CMS that you are going to use is enough. If instead you expect many thousands of daily visits, a site with many pages or you will use a very complex web application, better opt for another hosting.
To define the type of hosting you need, first think about how big you want your web project to be and what your technical knowledge is to deal with issues such as managing a website. Depending on these two aspects you can choose the most appropriate hosting for your needs and your economic budget.
Let's see below a list of basic aspects to consider:
- Shared hosting and specialized hosting. In many cases, good shared hosting or specialized hosting is more than enough, such as WordPress. The two types of web hosting are especially suitable for projects that have relatively few users and whose owners do not have advanced technical knowledge. Anyway, keep in mind that a good shared hosting can support 20,000 users or more per month.
- Dedicated hosting or VPS. For larger projects, such as an online store, the dedicated server or VPS (Virtual Private Server) is recommended. A dedicated hosting is at the service of a single client, which has access to all server resources, while in a VPS space is shared in the server hardware, but the client has its own resources.
- Hosting in "the cloud." The cloud hosting is the web hosting indicated for those more advanced users in the technical plane. It is also for those who are looking for a good value for money thanks to the scalability of services, that is, the possibility of increasing or decreasing them according to needs. It is not recommended for beginners because administration can be complicated.
- Mail hosting. Mail hosting is advisable for those users who do not wish to create a website and what they are looking for is a corporate email type @ your company.
How do I choose the best hosting provider?
To choose the best hosting provider you must take into account your needs and analyze what web hosting companies offer. Remember that on many occasions "cheap is expensive," so the best option will be to make a comparison of what companies offer for the same service. Check our comparisons and you will leave doubts.
Some of the variables that you should consider are the following:
- Positive comments. The positive opinions of the clients of a hosting service are those that provide greater credibility and it is a reliable way to check if the provider fulfills his promises or not.
- Customer service. Customer service must be "24/7," that is, twenty four hours during the seven days of the week. Try to find a provider that offers chat and telephone attention for urgent questions.
- Payment methods. Look closely at the available payment methods and check that they fit your geographic location. Remember that in some countries there are sometimes problems with credit cards such as payment gateways, but you can pay by card from any country in the world through PayPal® system, which also has a security protocol, as well as Skrill®.
- Prices. Prices are very important and it is essential that you choose a supplier that offers good value for money, but also keep in mind that quality has its price.
- National or international supplier? In general, a user can contract their hosting with any international provider. You just have to make sure that the company has a data center near your country or the main region of your audience. You also have to keep in mind that international suppliers often only have technical service in English. If you aren't proficient in English, look for a provider that offers you support in your language.
- Uptime or performance. As you know, the uptime tells you how long your website is available for anyone browsing the internet to see it. Verify that the hosting service offers you at least 99% uptime. On the Internet there are many tools to verify uptime and it is one of the aspects that must be checked when choosing hosting.
What technical characteristics should I consider for hosting?
A good web hosting must have a series of essential technical characteristics for effective operation, but sometimes hosting companies try to capture customers with deceptive advertising, so you must be aware of what you really need to make your online project A lasting success over time.
The following is a list of important variables in the technical aspect:
- Does it include a domain? It is not an essential requirement because you always have the option to hire your domain apart from hosting and then connect it with your web hosting account.
- How much disk space is there? In general, it is not a very important factor when you do not want to store extreme amounts of data. Many webhosts or hosting companies use it for their advertising, but the truth is that 90% of users (with a blog or corporate website) do not care if they have 1 GB, 5 GB or 10 GB of storage space.
- Monthly data transfer. You should not have limits so you don't have a bad surprise at the end of the month. Currently, the standard package includes a monthly "unlimited" transfer, so you won't have to worry about this aspect.
- SSD vs. HDD. The SSD disk is superior, but also more expensive, in addition to not all hosting services offer it. We can define SSD hosting as a new type of storage in the market. Its benefits include its higher speed (up to 300 times faster than a mechanical disk) and its high reliability, since it heats less, makes less noise and consumes less energy. In return, its biggest disadvantage is a noticeably higher cost.
- Mail accounts. If we want our online presence to be truly professional, we need a hosting that allows us to open email accounts type firstname.lastname@example.org. Typically, hosting includes this service, although some consider it an additional extra for which you have to pay. We must, therefore, take into account our needs and act accordingly.
- Backups. It can happen to us that the light goes out and we run out of work done on a document, for example. The same happens with hosting: we have edited our website and suddenly the server goes down and it is impossible to recover it. Most hosting providers add this feature to their list of services, but this is not always the case, so it is necessary to check if the plan we are interested in includes backup copies.
- Security. Security not only refers to any hacker entering our system, but also to whether the provider's infrastructure ensures that only authorized users access it, that our files cannot be altered, deleted, damaged or destroyed or that they are eliminate the possibility of phishing, among other things. In this section you also have to check if the provider offers us antivirus or spam control, among others, in addition to automatic updates.
- Minimum requirements of your CMS or web application. If you are going to install a CMS, make sure that the hosting plan has minimal features for the web editor. It is important, for example, that the plan includes at least one MySQL database and a recent version of PHP, although these requirements may vary depending on the CMS or the web application you choose.
- Specialized hosting for CMS. If you use a CMS such as WordPress it is interesting that you consider using specialized hosting, either for WordPress, Joomla or Magento. These web hosts are usually shared hosting with especially high performance since the provider optimizes them for the respective CMS. In general, due to their higher performance, VPS or dedicated servers are still superior to specialized hosting for WordPress, Joomla, Magento or other CMS.
- Scalability. Finally, don't worry if at first you choose a modest plan because most providers allow you to upgrade (switch to a higher plan) without any problem. If scalability is really important to you (in the case, for example, that you have an application or web page that is growing rapidly), you should opt for cloud hosting or a virtual server, since these options offer you the best scalability.