What is website hosting and why do I need it?

What is website hosting and why do I need it?

Without getting too technical, web hosting is transferring your local files (developed website) to a remote site or server (hosting server). Hosting servers are just remote servers on the internet that are mapped to a particular domain record so that when users type your website address in the browser, the domain is resolved, and your content shows on the user’s browser. Without a host, your website is not online.

Types of Hosting

Shared Hosting – Each physical server (think PC) is used to host many websites. All the files for each website are hosted on that one box, and the memory and processing power of that box has to be shared between all the sites.

It is like having multiple windows open on your own computer. As long as you don’t run too many, and each of them behaves, everything works fine. But, if you have too many programs open, or one starts chewing up the processing power or memory, then all of them grind to a halt.

The same goes for all the websites on a shared server.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) – A VPS still has many websites on that one box, but you get a dedicated portion of the processing power and memory (that is exclusively for your website to use).

Basically, you get your own server (virtual), but with less processing power and memory than a full server which most websites do not need. Hosting companies that offer a VPS will configure your dedicated portion with the resources your website needs.

The advantage of a VPS is that other sites on the same server will not slow your site down like they can on shared hosting.

Dedicated Server – This is just what it sounds like, your website would be the only one on this server, you are given sole use of a physical server – all of the processing power and memory are yours to use as you want.

Normally, the host will take care of connecting the box to the internet, and any hardware maintenance, but you are responsible for everything else – including configuring the operating system and the web server.

So, unless you have your own technical support department, or you’re a technical guru with time on your hands, this type of hosting is probably not for you.

Cloud Hosting – The idea here is that your site doesn’t just exist on one physical server but is copied to multiple servers around the world. When someone requests a page on your site, the closest server delivers that page.

It is often promoted as being faster (because the data doesn’t have to travel as far), but the overhead of working out which server to pull from pretty much offsets any savings in transit time (especially with internet backbone speeds getting higher and higher).

In reality, the only benefit of cloud hosting is that you are less likely to suffer site outages – since there are multiple copies of your site, and it’s unlikely all copies will be offline at the same time.

Most hosting companies have a greater than 99.99% uptime, the extra cost and complexity of cloud hosting is not worth it for most websites. Your hosting company should be able to advise you of any benefit to your website so that you can make an informed decision.

The Pro Web Difference – What differentiates us from other hosting companies is that our servers are “thoughtfully managed”.  What we mean by that is before placing a website on one of our servers we are thoughtful of the needs of that website and the other websites on that server. We keep the total number of websites on a server low so that we can allocate the resources based on each website’s needs. We also have security measures in place to help prevent a site from being hacked, in the unlikely event that should happen (it is the internet after all), there are additional protections to prevent access to every other website on that server. We have monitoring software that will notify us 24/7 should there be an issue on any of our servers so that we can respond quickly with minimum interruption or risk. Our managed hosting infrastructure is tailored for security and site speed, we manage all aspects of your hosting leaving you the time to devote to growing your business.

Call us at 877-577-6932 to discuss your hosting needs.

In our next article we will discuss why it matters where you host your website.