When a website is developed, we need a platform through which it can go live and be available to the Internet users. Hosting (or Web Hosting) is a service which allows the websites by individuals or organizations to be published on the Internet. This service provides a platform on which websites can be deployed and is provided by Web Hosting Providers. Websites are hosted by storing the website files on the servers. A server is basically a high powered computer connected to a special network.
To view the hosted website, we require the IP address of the server on which the website files are stored. Of course, it is not a good idea to remember the IP addresses for the websites. Therefore, the smart solution is to use domain names to access the web pages from the server. Domain name is an alternative to the IP address and also uniquely represent a single website. When we enter the domain or website address in our browser, the web pages are fetched from the server and loaded on the browser.
Hence, before web hosting, we purchase our own domain name for the website. Afterwards, we provide it to the hosting providers who deploy our website on the server. Then, it becomes accessible to the users.
Choosing the Web Hosting For Your Website
When choosing the appropriate web hosting for our website, we consider many factors such as:
- Speed (response time)
- Performance (under different circumstances)
- Operating System
- Security and privacy (for website data)
This type of web hosting is the most popular and economical way to create a web presence. In shared hosting, multiple websites are hosted on a single server. The server resources and the storage are shared among these websites. However, every website is provided a sharing limit by the web hosting provider. It is a good and affordable option for the beginners, but not recommended for the websites with high traffic users since the servers can become overburdened, affecting the other hosted websites as well.
Dedicated hosting is more reliable and has better performance in comparison to the shared hosting. The websites are hosted on dedicated servers. Custom firewalls can be added to modify access controls and there is a flexibility of adding or removing software and changing the configuration of the server. In addition, server overburdening due to high traffic is rare. The only con it has is its high cost.
The Virtual Personal Server (VPS) Hosting is a special type of web hosting, which consist of a virtual server that resides on a physical machine having multiple OS. In this type of web hosting, a dedicated space is provided in a shared environment. In this shared environment, every website is provided a dedicated space and privacy is maintained by no access to other website files. Since the website has a dedicated amount of memory; it is not affected by high traffic on the other websites. The VPS Servers are easy to maintain and less expensive than the dedicated servers.
It is another popular type of web hosting in which websites are hosted on virtual servers which reside on physical web servers, connected to each other. Otherwise speaking, the website is hosted is on a cluster of servers (cloud). The biggest pro of using cloud hosting is that the website is supported by multiple servers which end its reliance on a single server. This also reduces the risk of the downtime of a website either due to all of a sudden high traffic or malfunction of a server. The load is distributed among the servers and can be maintained with ease. Another Pro of choosing cloud hosting is that one has the flexibility to pay the exact amount of the usage of the server resources. There is no cost for unused resources. Also, the resources can be reduced or increased anytime as per demand, resulting in cost saving.
Linux-based servers VS Windows-based servers
Choosing the right OS platform is also valuable, on which the website will be hosted on. We can opt for either a Windows-based server or a Linux-based server.
Linux is considered scalable, flexible and cost-effective Operating System for Web hosting servers. Since it is an open source platform, regular updates and upgrades are available due to the contributions of researchers and developers from around the World. Unlike in Windows in which updates and bug fixes take time some time to arrive. Moreover, Linux is free to use while there is license fee to use Windows.
Windows-based servers are preferred by people who want to deploy their Windows Applications developed using .NET or ASP languages. Windows is also an advanced tool with the capability to run almost everything that a Linux server can. But the most important factor that outweighs Linux over it is the cost and licensed tools required in Windows.
Half of the World’s population is expected to be online in upcoming years. Having a web presence has become a necessity for every business. Hence, it is important that individuals or organizations choose the right web hosting platform for their websites. The choice of web hosting and web hosting provider matters the most and can depend on various factors for e.g. cost-effectiveness, flexibility, performance, versatility, robustness and agility. Since the website contains all the information about the business and offerings, customers expect it to be accessible at every part of the day. Further, the privacy of your hosted files and security is also a major concern. Therefore, it is highly recommended to make sure if it is in the right hands.