How Does Web Hosting Work?

web hosting

If you’re creating a website for your business or hobby, you’ll need to set up web hosting. But what exactly does that mean, and how do you get started? In layman’s terms, web hosting is a service that provides storage space on a server for a website or application. The Internet seems very abstract these days, especially since the infrastructure is already well established and there are so many wireless devices, but it actually requires physical servers to function. That means you need to find a home for your website on the servers of the Internet.

There are several companies that will host your website for you. They will also help you troubleshoot and keep your hosted site updated and secure. Now that you know what it means to host a website, Virtual Market Advantage will dig a little deeper and look at the details of web hosting.

Before Setting Up Web Hosting

There are quite a few options out there for web hosting. When you’re setting up a website, you need know what type of site it will be. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to narrow down the options:

  • Are you hosting a blog?
  • Do you need an e-commerce portal?
  • Is it a news site?

Just knowing the answer to these three questions will help you choose what’s best for your business. These different types of website services determine the type of web traffic your site will receive and will help the web hosting company know what kind of infrastructure is necessary in order to host your site properly.

Next, estimate what your end goals are for the site. You’ll need different amounts of storage space and bandwidth, depending on your expectations for growth. If you’re creating a small blog to share with friends and family members, you won’t need nearly as much space as a business that sells hundreds of items a day through its online store.

You should also consider how involved you want yourself to be in setting up the website. This will determine how much control you have over your server and how much money you’re willing to spend on your hosting. The more work you’re willing to put in yourself, the cheaper the options become, but keep in mind that setting up a website yourself will take some effort and knowledge to do correctly. Also think about whether you’re willing to be the one who troubleshoots problems as they arise, or do you want someone else to do it for you?

Web Hosting Options

There are several types of web hosting options to choose from for a modern website. Here’s a breakdown of the basic options:

Shared Hosting - If you have a small business or blog, this is a great option for you. Since you share the hosting space with other websites, it’s very affordable. It’s also simple to use. Since several businesses are relying on the same server, any hosting problems that arise will most likely be fixed for you and quickly. One downside is that if you’re sharing the space with larger websites, the server could get overloaded at busy times and slow your site down as well. Shared hosting means less control over the server you’re using, but this may appeal to you.

WordPress Hosting - If you’re setting up your blog or website through WordPress, you can simply purchase a hosting package through their site. These packages are specially optimized to cater to the WordPress dashboard.

Reseller Hosting - If you want to get into the hosting business, then you can purchase hosting. This allows you to rent out or re-sell hosting services that are provided by the parent hosting company. This option requires more knowledge about how hosting works, and you’d be more accountable when problems arise.

Dedicated Hosting - This type of hosting gives you 100% complete and administrative control of your server with full root access. It allows you to install any software that you choose, but requires a lot of knowledge of how web hosting and website creation works.

VPS Hosting - Virtual Private Server is essentially a superior type of shared hosting. While you still share a server with other websites, you’re also given resources that are not shared with the other properties. If you’re unable to purchase a dedicated server, but need more than basic shared hosting, VPS is a great intermediate option.

Domain vs Hosting

Your website’s domain and hosting are two different things, and you need both for it to function. However, they often get tangled together as you navigate setting up your website. Companies usually offer both at once. To help differentiate between the two, think of your website as a house. The domain is the address, and the hosting is the physical space that holds all of your belongings. If you don’t have an address, no one would be able to find the building, but if you don’t have space, it wouldn’t be a very useful house.

Registering a Domain

Once you have your hosting figured out, you must register your domain. Here’s a list of steps to make sure you have everything ready to go:

  • Think of a good name for your website. It should be simple and on-topic.
  • Your domain name must be unique. Have more than one option ready, in case your first choice is already taken.
  • Make a search for the site on one of the registration websites.
  • Order your site domain instantly if it’s available. Note the registration cost and when it needs to be renewed.
  • Lastly, you will need to point your domain to your hosting site. This updates its DNS (Domain Name System) record, which is how the domain name is translated into an IP address.

Once you've completed these steps, you’re ready to get started with building that website.

This is web hosting in a nutshell, from the basics of what it is to the types of hosting you can use. If you get overwhelmed, there are many resources out there to help you. If you hire VMA to set up your website, we’ll take care of setting up your hosting, domain, and everything else along the way to create a simple, beautiful website. We’ll also handle troubleshooting any problems that come up. It’s important to set up web hosting in a way that works best for you and your business, since it’s the fundamental part that the rest of your website relies on to function.

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