What is Web Hosting: Importance, Types, How to Host a Site

by

June 17, 2024

Domain & Hosting 12 min read

What is Web Hosting? Meaning & Types

Web hosting can be a tough concept to navigate, particularly if you're new to this field. There are different types of web hosting options, each with varying technical specifications, pricing, and features.

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about web hosting—from what it is to its types. Explore which ones might best suit your business needs. Also, go through the step-by-step guide on how to host a site, along with some tips on how to select the best web hosting service provider.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a service that allows you to store your websites and make them accessible on the Internet. The hosting provider allocates space on a server and provides the necessary technologies and services to make your website online.

The provider will manage the server hardware, software, and network resources for you so that your website remains functional, high-performing, and secure.

Great Hosting Sale Banner

Why is Web Hosting Important?

The type of web hosting you choose will determine the "quality" of service you deliver to your visitors—this makes it one of the most important decisions you'll make for your website.

Here's how the right web hosting service impacts different areas of website performance:

  • Better security: Web hosting keeps your website safe by protecting it from threats and regularly updating security features to safeguard your data.
  • Technical support: You get expert technical support to help you solve problems quickly and keep your site running smoothly.
  • Lower cost: The right web hosting plan can save you money while providing all the resources your website needs.
  • Data storage: Web hosting provides plenty of data storage space, so you can manage your content without worrying about running out of space.
  • Uptime: Reliable web hosting provides a safe and stable server environment. This ensures your website is always accessible and online 24x7.
  • Dedicated servers: These servers offer exclusive resources for your site, boosting its performance and reliability.
  • Domain management tools: Web hosting includes easy-to-use domain management tools so that you can organize and manage your domain names seamlessly.
  • Website performance + search engine rankings: Good web hosting speeds up your website, ensures quick loading times, and leads to a better user experience for your visitors. Thanks to fast and reliable site performance, this also boosts your search engine rankings.
  • Server configuration: You don’t need to worry about server configurations as the web hosting vendor handles the technical stuff, so you can focus on your site.
  • Scalability: Web hosting makes it easy to upgrade your resources as your website grows, so you’re always ready for more traffic.

What Are the Different Types of Web Hosting?

There are six types of web hosting you need to know about. Here's a run-through of each type:

1. Shared Hosting

Source

Ideal for: Those who don't mind sharing their website's resources with other accounts on the server, such as people who are just starting out or those running smaller sites like personal blog accounts

Put simply, most website owners choose shared hosting because of its cheaper price. By sharing server resources with other websites, you can save money without compromising on essential tools and features.

However, do note that hosting your website with shared hosting can cause performance issues. If there are too many accounts sharing the same server, your website's speed and performance might suffer.

2. VPS Hosting

Source

Ideal for: Users who need more power and customization for storing resources without the high cost of a dedicated server; mid-sized businesses with moderate to high traffic

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting offers a balance between shared and dedicated hosting features. You get more control and better performance than shared hosting.

In this web hosting type, website content is stored in separate, virtually partitioned sections on the server. This gives the feel of a dedicated server while still sharing the physical server with others.

VPS hosting offers better uptime and speed than shared hosting. You get many benefits of a dedicated server but at a lower cost. However, it can't handle very high site traffic, and you still have limited control over certain server aspects.

3. Dedicated Hosting

Source

Ideal for: Large enterprises and websites with high traffic volumes, such as eCommerce sites

Dedicated hosting provides you with an entire server exclusively for your website. This means no sharing of resources with anyone. On the upside, you get full control over the server's resources and configuration. This means you can select your own hardware, software, etc., and deliver top-notch site performance and security.

4. Cloud Hosting

Source

Ideal for: Anyone who wants to make their website or app accessible online

In cloud hosting, you outsource your organization's computing and storage infrastructure to a service provider. This provider offers resources to help your site be online using the cloud, maintains the infrastructure for you, oversees implementation, drives security updates, and more. Typically, most providers offer a pay-as-you-go model for cloud hosting services.

5. Managed WordPress Hosting

Source

Ideal for: Users whose websites are built using WordPress

Managed WordPress hosting is a type of web hosting service that is specifically made for WordPress sites.

The hosting provider handles all the technical aspects—such as automatic software updates, performance optimization, WordPress-centric security, and automatic backups—so you can focus on your publishing and writing quality content.

You also get to leverage the services of a dedicated customer support manager to support your WordPress hosting needs.

6. Colocation Hosting

Source

Ideal for: Businesses that own their server hardware but want to avoid the costs and complexities of maintaining a physical data center

In this advanced hosting type, you own the hosting servers but rent space in other organization's data center to:

  • Transfer the responsibility to maintain the hardware to the other company
  • Eliminate physical costs, such as electricity, air conditioning, etc., that come with renting the physical space
  • Keep control of having your own infrastructure without the need to manage the physical environment

Pro tip: You also have the more scalable cloud hosting option, which allows you to run numerous applications on a network by combining resources.

How to Host a Site? 5 Easy Steps to Bookmark

Anyone can host a website, regardless of their technical expertise. More importantly, although hosting a site seems complicated on paper, it is easy—only if you know how to do it.

Here's a five-step checklist that you can bank on:

Step 1: Do your homework, educate yourself.

The first task is to educate yourself about the types of web hosting options available:

  • Which hosting type will suit your business and website needs? Will shared hosting suffice for you as you're just starting out? Or do you need VPS hosting, at the very least?
  • Will you be able to self-host, or do you want a managed hosting service?
  • On what criteria will you narrow down the service provider list?
  • What is your budget for web hosting? Will your budget be able to accommodate the essential features your site must have?
  • How much traffic do you expect on your website? Do you think your hosting choice can handle it?

Step 2: Select a web hosting provider.

Once you have a basic understanding of the different types of hosting, it's time to research providers. By now, you know there are many options available. Skimping on initial research will not help you find the best fit for your business.

If you’re unsure which provider to choose:

  • Start by narrowing down a few options and reading online reviews
  • Reach out to the vendor's customer service to get a clearer picture of the web hosting plans
  • Ask specific questions, such as whether the vendor offers:
    • Useful security features, such as SSL certificates and DDoS protection, right off the bat
    • Scalability options if the website grows in the coming months
    • Uptime guarantees, as well as backups and data recovery options
    • Add-ons, such as email hosting, domain registration, etc., within the hosting package
    • WordPress hosting or eCommerce hosting, depending on your requirements
    • Lower prices for renewing
    • Cancellation policies

Step 3: It's time to select your hosting plan.

Once your vendor is finalized, you need to select the right web hosting plan from the options we saw in Step 1. Visit the vendor's website to compare hosting plans, their features, prices, and so on.

Step 4: Set up or enter your domain name.

If you are in need of a new domain name, your hosting provider should be able to help you get started. But if you have a domain name already, all you need to do is plug in the name when setting up your hosting account.

Step 5: Select a long-term hosting package if you are ready to commit.

The truth is that the longer you leverage the services of your website host, the easier it will be on your pocket. If you want, you can buy the plan for more than one year and get handy add-ons in the process, such as an SSL certificate, additional storage, better bandwidth, site backups., etc.

These extras can provide better value and give you a greater sense of peace for your website's performance.

How to Select the Best Web Hosting Service Provider? 8 Key Considerations + Tips

You could have the most well-designed website in the world, but if your hosting plan is unable to meet your site's demands, all that effort will be in vain.

Here are 8 criteria to consider when choosing a strategic hosting provider:

1. Are You Able to Monitor and Report Issues on the Fly?

Make sure your web host monitors your website closely for important issues such as server limits, technical errors, slow speeds, security concerns, etc. They should send proactive emails and be prompt in communicating problems that arise.

It's beneficial to:

  • Look for hosts that offer real-time monitoring tools and automated alerts
  • Get regular performance reports to identify and fix issues before they impact your visitor's user experience

2. What Do the Host's Refund and Free Trial Policies Look Like?

When selecting a web hosting service, probe about their refund and free trial policies if they're not being upfront.

If the service fails to meet your expectations, you should easily be able to get your money back.

This is why you should:

  • Always opt for a host that allows you to try their service (which includes the host's performance, customer service quality, etc.) before making a long-term commitment
  • Prioritize a web host provider with offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Check reviews from real-world users to get accurate information on the vendor's refund and free trial policy

3. What Kind of Site Security Measures Are in Place?

Even with your best efforts, cybercriminals can always target your site. Hence, you need a host that has robust security features and a clear plan for dealing with data breaches.

So, ensure your host offers:

  • SSL certificates, firewalls, DDoS protection, and regular security audits
  • Automated malware scanning and removal services
  • An actionable plan for handling security incidents on the go

4. Do They Offer Managed Hosting Services?

Yes, we know that unmanaged servers are more cost-effective, but they also mean more work for you.

With managed hosting, you get a dedicated team of professionals who will keep your site running smoothly and provide backups. You really can't put a price on this kind of support.

When talking to the vendor about your managed server needs:

  • Verify the services included in the managed hosting package, such as software updates, security patches, consistent backups, and so on
  • Ensure the support team is available 24x7 and has a quick response time
  • Ask how the team will assist if you need to scale your resources during high-traffic spikes

5. Do They Have a Ready Repository of Helpful Documentation?

Your chosen host provider should have clear and straightforward documentation and guides. Granted, you can always reach out to customer support for help, but self-helping your way into minor issues is faster.

So, ask if they share their well-written resources, such as a comprehensive knowledge base, video tutorials, and step-by-step guides with you. Also, enquire if they have a community forum where you can ask questions and share tips with others.

Pro tip: Regularly updated documentation is an indicator of a proactive hosting provider.

6. Is The Hosting Plan Offering Fast Page Load Times?

Fast page load times help retain visitors to your site. Slow-loading websites can frustrate customers and drive them away, never to return.

So, look for a hosting service that:

  • Ensures your pages load in three seconds or less
  • Use tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights to test the host's performance
  • Check if the host uses SSD storage, content delivery networks (CDNs), and server-side caching to speed up your site
  • Optimize your images and code to improve load time

7. Does the Host Provider Guarantee Reliable Uptime and Support?

Your web host's reliability and customer support will determine how well your site manages periods of high traffic. To give you an absolute number, select a host provider that offer at least 99.9% uptime and has a transparent uptime monitoring system.

You must also investigate the provider's redundancy and failover mechanisms to ensure your site stays online during server maintenance and unexpected outages.

Another point to note: Even with all the amazing features your host offers, there will come a time when you will need help and support for glitches and other types of technical snags. As a best practice, test out the host's support channels, such as live chat, email, phone, etc., during your trial period.

8. Are They Transparent About Their Pricing?

If your hosting provider is upfront about their pricing, it gets a big thumbs up. Many new entrepreneurs choose cheap packages only to discover that renewal costs are much higher.

So, select a host with stable pricing so you know what to expect. Here's how you can make the right choice:

  • Look for hosts that display all fees clearly on their website, including setup fees, renewal rates, and optional add-ons
  • Compare the total cost of ownership over multiple years to avoid surprises
  • Ask about discounts for long-term commitments or if you opt to pay annually

Sort Your Web Hosting Needs with Vodien

Figuring out how you will host your website is an important decision that will decide the fate of your site. The right web hosting plan ensures you:

  • Content is easily and always available to visitors at their fingertips
  • Website never experiences downtime
  • Brand reputation stays put as your website continually delivers excellent user experience

Partner with Vodien to accelerate your web hosting journey. With Vodien, you can get your site online within minutes. Our plans factor in important features such as fast loading times, scalable hosting, and unlimited bandwidth.

We offer hosting plans for 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years. If you have a smaller budget and want to test the waters, we suggest going for shared hosting. For more customized advice, book a consult with the team.

Get started now!

FAQs

1. What is web hosting?

Web hosting is a type of internet service technology that allows you to make your website accessible to visitors online. With this service, you can store important files, documents, and data that are needed to keep your site up and running smoothly.

2. What is a domain name?

A domain name is a website's actual name. In technical terms, it's the address visitors type into the search engine to access your website.

3. What is VPS hosting?

VPS hosting is a combination of cost-effective shared hosting and powerful dedicated hosting services. In this hosting type, the server is partitioned into numerous virtual server environments, each of which acts as a dedicated server for the end-user.

4. What are the considerations for website hosting?

The primary considerations of web hosting include:

  • Average uptime guaranteed by the service provider
  • Page load time for your website
  • Level of customer support offered by the hosting provider, such as live chat, email, phone, and so on
  • Pricing models, along with renewal costs
  • Possibility of a free domain for a year for first-time users
  • Type of storage and bandwidth offered for the web hosting plan
  • Access to a free SSL certificate with your hosting plan
  • Regular, automatic backups with security measures being offered
  • Additional features such as free email accounts, site transfers, CDN availability, and more

5. What are the challenges and risks of hosting a site?

Hosting a website comes with several risks, such as:

  • Gaps in security: Websites can be targeted by hackers, which can lead to sensitive data breaches and loss of customer information.
  • Downtime: Websites hosted on unreliable servers may experience frequent downtime. Even an hour of downtime leads to a significant loss of traffic and revenue.
  • Performance issues: Hosting on inadequate servers can lead to slow loading times and, by extension, a poor user experience.
  • Data loss: Without proper backups, website data can be lost due to server failures or, worse, cyber-attacks.
  • Legal compliance: Hosting a website means adhering to various legal requirements, such as data protection laws, which can be challenging to navigate.
  • Cost: Hosting fees can add up, especially for websites with high traffic and/or specialized hosting needs.

6. What are the things needed to host a website?

Before you host a website, you'll need to purchase a domain name or the address of your online business. So, pick a name that's easy to remember, unique, and memorable.

7. What are the three types of web hosting?

Generally speaking, there are three main types of web hosting:

  • Shared hosting: It's a basic, cost-effective form of web hosting where numerous websites share the resources on the same server. Shared hosting is a great option for businesses with low traffic and for smaller personal websites like portfolio sites, blogs, etc. Given that it's shared, it can lead to slow performance and technical problems from time to time.
  • Virtual Private Server Hosting: A better alternative than shared hosting, VPS hosting offers better performance and security. In this hosting, a physical server is divided into multiple virtual servers. Each server has its own dedicated resources. Think of a VPS as a mid-option between shared and dedicated hosting.
  • Dedicated hosting: This hosting is the most powerful option but it is also the most expensive of the three. In this setup, you get the entire server dedicated to your website. This means granular control over your site's security, speed, and performance.

Skip to section