Web Hosting Buying Guide

Web hosting makes websites accessible on the Internet, but let’s not get into the technical details because I don’t think many people are interested to know as much as I am not interested to write about it. This web hosting buying guide is for those who do not wish to get into too much details, but would like to know more about what they are buying.

To make it very simple, think of a web hosting as your Google Drive, but for storing your website. I hope that makes sense.

How I usually explain Web Hosting and Domain Name to my ‘non-techy’ clients.

There are two things that you need to pay yearly to maintain a website. A domain name and a web hosting. Think of web hosting as a car, and domain name as a license plate. You can drive around a car without the license plate, but it would be difficult to identify a car without a license plate right? You can run a website with just a web hosting, but in order to give your website an identity, you need a domain name.

Hanif (Every time when he has to explain web hosting to his clients)

Thanks to my editor, here is some of the technical details for those who are interested to know more about the types of web servers available for consumers today.

Types of Web Servers

Apache
This server is by far the most commonly used server in the world. Its open source software runs on almost all of the operating systems out there – Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, FreeBSD, etc. Apache servers are so popular because of their customizability and their modular structure.

IIS
The IIS (Internet Information Services) server was developed by Microsoft. It runs on Windows NT/2000 and 2003, as well as on the newest Windows version. It’s also fairly customizable and easy to administer.

Nginx
This lightweight web server has an event-driven system, and it’s most famous for its high performance, resistance, and low CPU and memory usage.

Jigsaw
Jigsaw is an open-source server, as well. It’s Java-based and runs on multiple operating systems, too.

Now that I’ve listed different types of web servers, I’d like to address different web hosting service options and their pros and cons.

Web Hosting Services (What you need to know)

What’s the most important thing to look out for when choosing a web hosting? That would be Bandwidth.

Bandwidth represents the capacity for visitors on the website. Different types of web host packages offer different bandwidth options. Choosing the wrong option for the website (choosing too small of a bandwidth) results in an underperforming website.

Do you need to know how much ‘Bandwidth’ your website needs? Nope!

Thanks to the magic of branding, advertising, and marketing in the corporate world. Bandwidth are usually represented as ‘Number of Visitors‘ that a web hosting package could handle. When choosing your hosting package, you will often see this :

Wait a minute, but bandwidth doesn’t only refer to number of visitors. It’s more than that. Correct! However, normally if you are running a website for your personal or business project, that is pretty much what you need to know. Having said that, nobody really knows how much bandwidth that they really need and it all depends on the type of website you are running. If you are running a website with a lot of self-hosted videos (not YouTube videos), you will need a lot of bandwidth.

Types of Web Hosting Service

1. Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the cheapest type of web hosting and where you should start when you create your first website. This type of hosting involves a setup where one server hosts the rest of other websites that they are hosting. Meaning, you are sharing the same server (resources) with other people. Websites in shared hosting environment share common resources.

Don’t think of Shared Hosting as a web hosting for poor people or poor project. That is wrong! Many webmasters who are making 5 figures income are still using shared hosting for their projects. Let’s just say that it will take a huge amount of resources to make it ‘worth it’ for a website to move on to the next type of web hosting, VPS.

2. VPS Hosting

VPS or Virtual Private Server hosting gives a user much more control over their website than shared hosting. Unlike shared hosting, VPS hosting gives users their own servers that connect to the main server. So, there’s no sharing of resources or restrictions. The users have full administrative power over their servers.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. While you do get more freedom, there is also more risks of making mistake. In fact, my first experience with VPS was not a good one. I had so many problems with my VPS hosting.

Which is why, many hosting companies offer two types of VPS. Managed VPS for the less technical folks and the Unmanaged VPS (cheaper) for those who know exactly what they are doing.

As I have stated earlier, in many cases and for many website projects, Shared Hosting will do the job better than VPS even though VPS is pricier.

3. Dedicated Hosting and WordPress hosting

Dedicated hosting enables users to have a whole server for themselves. There’s even more freedom in terms of administration and resources. It also supports a large number of visitors on your website. That’s why high-traffic sites work best with dedicated hosting. This type of hosting also requires skills or hiring a professional to keep the website going.

One of the newer and increasingly popular options in web hosting services is managed WordPress hosting. The ‘managed’ part refers to it being a dedicated hosting service, but with even more advantages. With managed WordPress hosting service, there’s also a team of experts that, well, manages the website, so there’s no need to hire anyone or deal with it yourself. However, it is the most expensive option.

I recommend dedicated and managed WordPress hosting for large corporations and businesses since their websites will have a lot of traffic.

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