What is Webhosting?
When you develop a website, the webhosting service provides the foundation. The webhost is where your files are stored for visitors to access. When someone visits your site, it is the information stored on the webhosting servers that is accessed. In a sense, it’s much like setting up land in order to build a house. Before you can build, you need to have the right piece of land for your purposes. The domain name is the address of your house and the webhosting would be the land, the space in the world wide web where your website would be built.
Types of web hosting
There are many different kinds of webhosting services available. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses for different purposes. Depending on what kind of a website you wish to build, you need to decide which would be the more cost efficient method of building. However, you can move your site to a more efficient service should you decide that you need more power later on. Moving a website isn’t as difficult as it is to move a house if you find a better piece of property at a later date. The more common of these hosting services include:
- Virtual Private Servers
- Cloud webhosting
- Clustered Servers
- Home Servers
When you have dedicated hosting, you have full control over all of the software configurations and updates. Your site also benefits from using 100-percent of the server’s resources. This means that the entire server is dedicated to the functionality of your website. This would be like buying your own real estate with a home. While the bank holds the mortgage, you can still build virtually anything you want while modifying it in various ways.
Who Would Use Dedicated Hosting?
Large businesses and eCommerce sites would greatly benefit from a dedicated server. Since all of the resource belong to your website, it is able to run efficiently. Other hosting options share resources which could slow down your site.
Drawbacks to Dedicated Hosting
- All maintenance and software configurations are conducted by you
- Dedicated hosting is usually more expensive than various alternatives
Shared web hosting plans are some of the more common that are on the Internet. It allows providers to store many websites on a single server in order to condense space and save money on hardware. The problem with this setup is that you’re sharing resources with every other user. This would be like living in an apartment where everyone shares the water and electricity that comes into the building. Even though you only take a five minute shower, the guy in 5B spends three hours using all the hot water.
Who Would Use Shared webhosting?
Shared hosting is often less expensive as the hosting company can make more money per unit than with a dedicated server. As these costs are lower, they are often used by those developing personal sites and small businesses. Larger and more robust companies may decide to use alternatives in order to gain performance.
Drawbacks to Shared Hosting
- Shared resources can decrease the performance of your website
- If one user is attacked by a virus, it puts all other websites and users at risk
Virtual Private Server
When using a virtual private server, all users have their own operating system with administrative-level access. This makes the system behave like a dedicated service, but you’re still sharing resources with other VPS users on a single server. This would be like being able to change the carpet and repaint the walls of your apartment as if it were your own house, but you’re still taking a cold shower.
Who Would Use VPS Hosting?
One of the most attractive features of VPS is the ability to easily scale in size. If you grow too large for the available space, you can purchase more online real estate. You are also able to install proprietary programs that are required for business functions. This makes VPS hosting ideal for businesses, eCommerce sites and large corporations that are continuously expanding online.
Drawbacks to VPS Hosting
- Like in a shared environment, VPS hosting has reduced efficiency due to sharing resources
- VPS is usually more expensive than alternatives
In the managed environment, you have your own web server but are unable to access administrative-level commands. All of the modifications, updates, security and maintenance is done by the hosting company. This would be akin to leasing a house. Although you can fill it with your own stuff, the property itself is managed by the owner.
Who Would Use Managed Hosting?
The prospect of not worrying about the background configurations can be attractive for virtually anyone. All types of websites are found on managed servers. Whether you’re developing a personal page or developing one for the business, the hosting company takes care of everything except the actual site itself.
Drawbacks to Managed Hosting
- Managed hosting is usually more expensive than many alternatives
- You must rely on the software and security practices of the hosting company
When you need strong reliability, few services can compete against Cloud hosting. Instead of your information being stored on a single server, it is maintained by many different system possibly stretching across several locations. This creates a redundancy the allows the site to remain online even if one server experienced a catastrophic failure. It would be like having a home that could almost instantly reassemble itself after being hit by a tornado.
Who Would Use Cloud Hosting?
As Cloud-hosted websites have a layer of redundancy and high reliability, eCommerce sites and database-driven content flourish in this environment. Since Cloud webhosting is also incredibly easy to scale, sites that need future growth potential could also benefit from this method such as medium to large corporations and other businesses.
Drawbacks to Cloud Hosting
- Users usually don’t have administrator-level access to the Cloud hosting service
- Unable to implement your own security if your organization requires such
- Can be more expensive than alternatives
A clustered hosting service uses several servers to host the same website. Various points of the site are controlled by separate systems. For instance, your main page is operated by one server while your database is on another. This not only increases efficiency for each aspect of the site, but it reduces total downtime. If the database server goes down, the main site is still operational. Like the rooms of a house, each section is separated and independent of the whole. If a tree falls into one room, the rest of the house remains intact.
Who Would Use Clustered Hosting?
Large organizations that utilize several databases and other materials that can be separated would find benefit from using clustered hosting. Complex eCommerce sites that can utilize separate servers for customer information and products could benefit from this method as well. Clustered hosting is usually more ideal for very robust online developments such as financial, medical and law enforcement practices.
Drawbacks to Clustered Hosting
- Clustered hosting can be incredibly more expensive to maintain than other solutions
- Many control panels for website development are not compatible with this kind of a system
One method that can give you absolute control of every aspect of webhosting is by setting up your own server. This can be in the home or on location at the business. However, this can be more expensive as you need to buy all of the equipment up front and requiring a great deal of work for configuration. This would be the equivalent of buying the real estate and building the home from scratch. It gives you the power to do anything you want to the server, but requires a great deal of knowledge and skill.
Who Would Use Home Server Hosting?
Individuals and large corporations that have the resources and the staffing to install local servers often do so in order to have complete control over the website and installed software. Network administrators are needed to maintain the system which could increase the overall cost exponentially. You’ll need the time and patience for building the server and maintaining every networking aspect relating to the device. Otherwise, it may be a poor choice for any website developer.
Drawbacks to Home Servers
- All work is performed by you or others you hire requiring time and money
- Home servers have a considerably higher startup cost
When it comes to your website, nothing is ever set in stone or permanent. If you decide to move it to a more efficient service, all of the files can be easily transferred including the database. You can do this even if you choose to use a different webhosting provider. Essentially, you can pick up what you’ve already built and place it on a new piece of online real estate.
And you? what kind of webhosting have you ever tried ? How was it?