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What is web hosting? Do I really need one?

The web hosting subject is all over Google and YouTube, with blogs and articles which give you the simple answer to this question – What is web hosting? Is web hosting really needed?

And the answer always sums up to ‘Yes, you need a web host if you want to run a website’.

At first, everyone is a beginner when it comes to websites and how exactly they work, even the experts now were beginners back in the days they were starting off.

We believe that knowledge of web hosting and what it consists of, is vital in order to make the right decisions when choosing to start off your website, and avoid making the mistakes which come with unawareness.

Why do you need a web host to run a website?

Before we answer this we must understand what a server is.

Web servers are computers which are stored in spaces of very high security and controlled conditions, sometimes called data centres. These computers are the reason you are able to read this article right now on this website from wherever you are. It interconnects users to websites and makes it possible for webpages to exist.

Now, what’s the relationship between a web host and a server?

Imagine that Earth is the server. Imagine now that every house on Earth is a website filled with furniture and materials which resemble the code, files, and images of the website. Houses need a piece of land to be built on, exactly like websites need space on the server to run.

The process of which a website owner pays to rent a space on the server is what we call Web Hosting.

massive area with thousands of computers called a data centre with lights

What type of hosting should you use?

The type of hosting you will choose will depend completely on your needs, on your technical and coding skills and on your website’s traffic.

Let’s Dive into 4 of the main types of hosting and let’s see which one suits you best.

Shared Hosting :

With shared hosting you basically have ‘server neighbours’ which you share the same resources with (software). You share the space you use on the server, with other websites.

This is the lowest budget choice and could be exactly what a beginner needs.

However, bear in mind that shared hosting isn’t built for websites that are used to getting high amounts of traffic. In addition, if some of the hundreds of websites you are sharing resources with, get boosts of traffic, then your website’s performance might get hurt.

black square with white lines representing the server, and a blue circle in front representing the space of the server you rent with little white houses representing the websites that share the same space on the server with you

 

VPS (Virtual Private Server):

This type of web hosting can be considered as the ‘sandwich’ host between shared hosting and dedicated hosting – which is covered in the next paragraph.

VPS hosting basically sums up to this: you share the server with other websites, but your website has it’s own space on the server. This option offers more flexibility in customization and control over resources, as well as more storage space and possibly better performance than with shared hosting.

This type of hosting costs slightly more than shared hosting but a lot less than dedicated hosting.

A downside to VPS hosting might be that your site’s performance might still get affected by the sites you share the server with. In addition, for VPS you might need some technical skills.

VPS hosting' should be placed right under the second paragraph of the section 'VPS Hosting

Dedicated Hosting:

This type of hosting basically means that you share the server with no one. You have complete control over the software, and you can modify anything regarding security, functions, etc.

If you have a website that gets big amounts of traffic daily, then this hosting type might be the best option for you.

Dedicated hosting is quite pricy, and expertise is needed regarding the managing of the server.

If you are worried that you do not have the expertise needed to pull this off, you can purchase a dedicated hosting plan which will provide experts on server management, for you.

black square with white lines representing a server, and a house which indicates that you don't share the server with anyone

Managed Hosting:

Managed hosting means that you have experts on software making sure your website will be performing perfectly (optimized, updated, etc.) Managed hosting is versatile as a hosting type since it has different package deals which satisfy different needs.

Therefore, depending on the amount of traffic your website generates and other features you’ll choose to have, you will rent an appropriate space on a server. The space you rent on the server will be managed by the experts of the company you purchased your managed hosting from.

This means that you don’t need any expertise to pull this one off and the cost of it depends entirely on your needs and the specific hosting plan you chose.

Conclusion:

To sum things up…

Yes, it is vital for you to have a web host if you are serious about creating a website.

You have some good options regarding web hosting types, but we recommend you do some research before getting excited and purchasing the first web hosting plan you see on the web. Every website is different, it generates different amounts of traffic and has different needs.

All of the above translate to a specific type of web hosting that will be able to indeed satisfy the needs of your website at the moment.

You can always switch from one hosting type to the other if you outgrow your current one.

Make sure though you are aware of what you are looking for upfront, and if not, as we said before – some research goes a long way!