What is Web Hosting and How Does It Work?

Julia Smith
Julia Smith
Community manager @ SOAX19 August, 2022

With modern technologies expanding it is almost impossible for independent users, small and medium companies as well as enterprises to run a business without a solid online presence. Whether they want to start a blog, run an online store or move the entire business on the Internet, they address to web hosts – companies that rent out their services and technologies to host websites on the internet.

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What is Web Hosting?

Website hosting is the most convenient way to create and run a website (whether it is a personal blog or a business-related website) without the need for 24/7 control on whether it is working or not. In other words, web hosting is an online service that enables users to publish a website on the Internet and allows their websites to function correctly, be always available for viewing, and be protected from cyberattacks.
The choice of which web hosts to use usually depends on users’ needs. The personal website used for blogging apparently requires less control and is simpler management-wise whereas large businesses’ needs are more sophisticated as their website contains multiple media files, has numerous visitors a day, requires more storage space, and should run fast.

How does Web Hosting Work?

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When creating a website you purchase a domain name that is your website’s name (it helps users to find your website easily instead of using its IP address) and a place – a web host – where your website will be served and that will store your website files. Whenever someone types in a browser search bar your website’s name, your hosting server executes this request delivering all content files that are stored on your website.

Types of Web Hosting

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Hosting servers do not just store and deliver files, they maintain a website, ensure backups, provide security, and improve speed and uptime. Different host providers offer different hosting specifications and add-ons, and their prices vary depending on clients’ needs.
What are the most popular hosting options available?

Self-hosting

You can create your own web server and configure software but the cost may be higher compared to prices offered by third-party hosting service providers. Moreover, by choosing a hosting service, you can be sure that your website will be routinely maintained, secured from hackers’ attacks, and supported technically on a 24/7 basis.
Large corporations may create and host their own website to keep total control over their facilities. For small and media businesses although third-parties hosting providers are the best option budget-wise.

Shared hosting

It is the best for private blogging and entry-level businesses because it is the most economical hosting option. Shared hosting offers often come with pre-configured server options (templates, website builders, and email options) to simplify the onboarding process for beginners.
The main setback of shared hosting is that you actually share the bandwidth and disk space with other clients so a few risks are involved. Shared hosting can compromise your site’s security, as a result, your website may send spam, display unwanted or malicious content, and redirect your visitors to unknown sites.
The website uptime ratio is crucial for a business and shared hosting can worsen website performance and slow down your website’s work when your neighbor’s site runs heavy traffic.

Dedicated hosting

It is the opposite of shared hosting. Usually, the most expensive hosting option, because it gives website owners total control over a web server. You will get the best speed, custom solutions, and flexible server configuration. That means that you must have some technical expertise to adjust hosting features to your business-related needs. If you are tech-savvy, then go ahead. 

VPS hosting

Virtual private hosting (VPS) has common features of shared and dedicated hosting types. With VPS every website receives its own (“virtually” dedicated) server and has ultimate control over it yet still, shares the server space with other sites. The price tag for VPS hosting service is lower in opposite to dedicated hosting but sites with heavy traffic will experience uptime lags. 

VPS hosting is used by both small and large companies and many private users. 

On the VPS server, you can create your own proxy or VPN server. In the dispute over VPN vs. Proxy, both services have their own pros and cons. A proxy deployed on a virtual hosting would not keep your anonymity, but it helps to bypass websites’ blocks or access a website that restricts access from multiple IPs. Whether you need a more stable and secure connection and transfer encrypted data you should create a virtual private network on a VPS hosting so each user has an access to this private network from every place in the world

Cloud hosting

The most reliable web hosting is cloud hosting. There is no physical server that stores a website’s data in a centrally-controlled location. All website files are stored in various locations and they can be easily backed up and restored when there is a need to fix errors. With cloud hosting it is easier to scale a storage space to a user’s needs. 

It is the best option for sites with heavy traffic that require good bandwidth, much processing power, and disk space (for instance e-commerce sites).

Managed hosting

By opting for managed hosting you will get a dedicated server without administrative rights to manage it. A provider takes responsibility for the website’s maintenance and security whereas a user manages content using the file transfer protocol that helps two network computers to communicate with one another.

What to Look for When Choosing a Hosting Provider?

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Choosing the right provider with a suitable hosting plan is essential to ensure business growth. But it is not the only way to improve the business potential and speed up business development. Knowing how to use proxy for a business you can access marketing data and analytics, view an ad campaign from the audience’s perspective, create and manage multiple social media accounts, and more. Plus by adding a reliable hosting service for your website your business will benefit increasingly.

Making a decision on which web host to choose can be tough. Features like speed, security, usability, and reliability should be taken into consideration when looking for a suited hosting offer:

  • Drive space that you can use to store your website’s files. The more content-rich your website is the more storage space you need.
  • Bandwidth helps your website to function properly. When the bandwidth is poor and your website is always down, there would be no business success. Having large media files or streaming content you should opt for higher bandwidth that speeds up your website’s work.
  • Disk space and bandwidth scalability (you are expecting to grow your business in the future, are not you?) are also important when choosing the hosting service.
  • The uptime ratio defines the availability of a website for its visitors. The closer to 100% uptime the better for you.
  • Speed affects user experience. Enough speed ensures that your website will be downloaded fast otherwise it may lead to potential customer losses.
  • Security. If you are not experienced you should opt for a hosting plan where security features are set up by default or hack-proof add-ons (such as two-factor authentication, IP bans, geo-blocking, and more).
  • A user-friendly interface and 24/7 technical support are very helpful to control processes quickly and easily.
  • An e-mail that is associated with the domain adds up to the overall impression and speaks of your competence.

Every year more and more business owners try to strengthen their presence by moving online. A good website’s download speed, bright and colorful marketing videos, audio, pictures, website usability, and error- and hacker-proof operation — might help enhance a website over the Internet.
You – being a tech-savvy user or a beginner – should choose web hosting options that suit your needs the most. It is either you would like to have full control and pay more for sole web hosting ownership or share disk space with other users thus having more affordable prices and sharing possible risks.
By choosing a reliable web host you are able not only to publish a website on the Internet (and to purchase in the process a site’s domain name, secure the site’s operation, ensure timely maintenance and back-ups, and protect the site from malicious attacks) but also to affirm your online presence and to boost business growth in a highly competitive environment.