What Is Web Hosting? Beginner’s Guide

Web hosting is an online service that enables to make websites accessible on the internet by storing and serving the website files on specialized servers.

Web Hosting is one of the important steps to take into account before making your website. Because it acts as the foundation for your website and makes the website exist on the internet.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • What is web hosting and what is used for?
  • How does web hosting work?
  • The different types of web hosting.
  • What to look for in a web hosting service?
  • How to choose a web hosting provider?
  • Web hosting and domain hosting.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a hosting service that provides computer hardware and software necessary to run a website.

This includes a web server (can be a part of or multiple servers) with resources such as Bandwidth, CPUs, and RAMs.

The server also contains an operating system such as Ubuntu and can have applications such as WordPress.

Web hosting provides a secure space for an online upload and delivery of a website’s content, like folders, data, images, videos, and text, so the content can be accessed and viewed by the user on the internet.

It also provides you with the necessary tools to make your site function properly.

What is a Web Host?

Web hosting services are provided by hosting providers who manage the hardware and software used to run the servers.

A Web Host is a company that provides the hosting environment with all required resources that allow users to store, manage, and deliver web pages to their visitors.

They also provide an IP address, which is used by computers to communicate with each other over the network.

What is Web Hosting Used for?

Web hosting makes websites accessible on the internet by storing their files on servers and providing the necessary infrastructure to deliver these files to users when they visit the website’s domain. It’s used for:

  1. Storage of Website Data: Web hosting offers a digital space to store all elements of a website, from text and images to dynamic content.
  2. Reliability and Accessibility: Web hosting ensures that websites are up and available all the time by offering reliable hosting solutions.
  3. Maintenance: Hosting involves not just storage but also the upkeep of servers, by secure them and offer up to date technology and software.
  4. Scalability: As websites grow, they need more resources. hosting providers will allow you to easily scale up your server resources to meet your website needs.
  5. Support: Hosting providers offer technical assistance, helping resolve any issues website owners might face.

How Does Web Hosting Work?

Web hosting services work by dedicating to you a stable and secure server or a part of a physical server. The service provider will allow you to upload files and data to your website on the server that you rented.

Once you rank for any query or someone types in your website name, the server will allow him to access your website content and deliver to them the page you wanted.

Types of Web Hosting

There are many different types of web hosting you can choose to host your online app depending on your needs, budget, and the level of service you require.

If you want to host a small website, you don’t have to buy an expensive dedicated server, shared hosting is quite enough.

On the other hand, a big eCommerce site needs a powerful dedicated server that shared hosting can not handle.

1. Shared Hosting:

Shared hosting is the most affordable web hosting type. It is a popular option for personal and small websites and blogs.

With shared hosting, multiple websites share the same server. which means that they share the same resources such as storage space, bandwidth, and memory.

This means that the speed and quality of your website can vary depending on how many other sites are hosted on the same server.

Shared hosting is a good option for beginners, new websites, portfolios, and small websites. The best-shared hosting provider is Hostinger.

Shared Hosting Pros:

  • Shared hosting is the most cost-effective way to host your website.
  • A beginner-friendly option for those who don’t know much about websites and web hosting.
  • Many free features such as a free domain name, free SSL, and Free CDN.
  • Since Shared Hosting targets beginners, they offer the best support to help their non-technical customers.

Shared Hosting Cons:

  • Shared hosts often have limits on the amount of bandwidth and disk space that can be used per month.
  • Inability to customize the server environment to suit your needs.
  • The more customers on a single server, the slower it will perform.
  • Shared hosts have a much higher risk of getting hacked or infected with malware.

2. VPS Hosting:

With Virtual Private Server (VPS), you get a server on a shared physical server with dedicated resources such as RAMs, CPUs, Bandwidth, etc.

The price is higher than the shared hosting plan but the VPS hosting overcomes all the risk and problem that comes from sharing the server and the resources.

VPS hosting is ideal for small to medium sites, growing websites, eCommerce, big blogs, and CMS apps.

There are Managed or Unmanaged VPS hosting:

  • Managed VPS hosting is managed by the service provider so you don’t need to worry about configuring the server. The best-managed VPS hosting provider is A2 Hosting.
  • Unmanaged VPS hosting is when you get a server that has not been configured in advance so you do it by yourself. The best VPS hosting provider is A2 Hosting.

VPS Hosting Pros:

  • VPS servers are isolated from other servers and they have fewer vulnerabilities than shared hosting.
  • You can scale your website’s resources as needed instantly without any downtime or performance issues.
  • You get full control over the operating system of your server.
  • Higher uptime rates and loading speed than Shared hosting.

VPS Hosting Cons:

  • VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting.
  • Un-managed VPS hosting requires some knowledge to setup the server.

3. Cloud Hosting:

Cloud hosting is a web hosting VPS in the cloud. A better version of the VPS.

In this type of hosting the website, data is hosted and replicated on multiple servers with more computing power.

There are Managed and Unmanaged Cloud hosting:

  • Managed Cloud Hosting is managed by the provider. The service provider will take care of all the maintenance and management tasks. The best-managed Cloud hosting provider is Cloudways.
  • In unmanaged Cloud Hosting the client rents space on a remote server and manages all the server configuration by himself. The best-managed Cloud hosting provider is Vultr.

Cloud Hosting Pros:

  • Cloud hosting is scalable.
  • The ability to provide services even if some servers go offline.
  • Cheaper than traditional VPS hosting because you pay only for the resources you consume.
  • More stability and reliability.
  • The security features of the cloud are top-notch.

4. WordPress Hosting:

WordPress hosting is a type of web hosting service optimized to support websites built using the WordPress content management system (CMS).

This hosting type offers features and resources to improve the performance, security, and management of WordPress-based sites.

WordPress hosting Pros:

  • A beginner-friendly option.
  • Optimized for WordPress sites.
  • . trained in WordPress issues
  • Pre-installed WordPress plugins and themes.

WordPress hosting Cons:

  • Not recommended for non-WordPress sites.
  • More expensive than shared hosting.

5. Dedicated Server Hosting:

With the dedicated hosting type, you get a whole physical server with all the resources. It is the most expensive type of hosting, but it is also by far the most powerful.

There are two types of dedicated servers:

  1. Virtual Dedicated Servers.
  2. Non-Virtual Dedicated Servers.

Dedicated Servers Pros:

  • Dedicated servers offer better security.
  • Can handle any spikes in traffic without crashing or slowing down your website.
  • You have total control over your server.
  • Provides the best performance such as uptime and loading speed.

Dedicated Servers Cons:

  • Expensive. They require a lot of upfront investment and monthly maintenance charges.

6. Managed Hosting:

Managed hosting offers a specialized hosting plan for specific site requirements. The hosting provider manages the server and website and offers additional services including resources, security, plugin add-ons, and more.

It’s more expensive due to the enhanced services provided and it can be Managed WordPress, VPS, and Cloud Hosting.

This hosting option is best for beginners wanting Cloud or VPS servers or those seeking secure and ready-to-use servers.

Managed Hosting Pros:

  • Enhanced security.
  • User-friendly for non-techies.
  • Reliable client support.
  • Regular data backups.
  • Improved site speed and performance.
  • Access to plugins/addons.

Managed Hosting Cons:

  • Less control over server configuration.
  • Pricier due to enhanced support.
  • Some plugins may be blocked.

7. Reseller Hosting:

Reseller hosting involves purchasing hosting services wholesale and reselling them to clients. The Resellers handle all client website tasks and maintenance. This hosting type is best suit for web developers and creators who make websites for multiple clients.

Reseller Hosting Pros:

  • Steady income stream.
  • Full control over the hosting service.

Reseller Hosting Cons:

  • Full responsibility for client sites.
  • Need a substantial client base to ensure profitability.

What to Look For in a Web Hosting Service?

When you are trying to decide to go on a hosting plan, there are many factors you need to consider.

You have to take into account the features that each hosting provider offers, how often you intend on updating it, what type of website you are building, what type of website traffic your site gets, and if you have a certain budget.

There are many differences that we can take as examples to differentiate between what is good, better, and worse hosting service.

Here are several important considerations that you can take when comparing web hosting providers to choose one among the many out there:

1. Performance:

One of the crucial things to look at when applying for a new web hosting provider is its performance.

Web hosting performance is a vital factor for any website. It determines how fast your website loads and how much traffic it can handle.

There are many factors that affect web hosting performance, such as the server speed and location, the type of data center, and the uptime. Let’s see what each of them means.

Server Uptime:

Uptime is the amount of time that a website is operational. It is a measure of how long a website stays up and running.

If a website has an uptime of 99%, it means that it is available for 99% of the time and unavailable for 1% of the time. It means that every month, the website goes down for 7.2 hours.

When you are running a website, you need to ensure that it is always up and running. This is important because if your site goes down, then people will not be able to access it.

So, when you like a web hosting service and want to sign up for it, make sure that it has great uptime, 99.5% or above.

Website Speed:

A website’s loading speed can have a significant impact on its success. Slow-loading websites frustrate visitors and may cause them to leave the site before viewing any content and resulting in a higher bounce rate

According to Google, “Site Speed has a direct impact on customer conversion rates.” A fast-loading website can help improve user satisfaction and increase conversion rates.

Yes, the nature of the website, the theme, and the plugins may affect the website speed. But the major cause of slow-loading websites is the web hosting service. So, consider applying for a web host that delivers fast loading times.

Server Location:

Server location performance is also an important factor to consider when choosing a web hosting company.

The performance of a server location is measured by the response time. The response time is the time it takes for a server to respond to a request.

The closer the server is to your customers the faster the server will serve the customer. So, make sure that the web hosting company at least has a data center near to your audience.

Customer Service and Support:

A customer service representative is a company’s first point of contact with its customers. They are the face of the company to all its customers.

Customer service helps customers by answering their queries, resolving their problems, and providing them with information about the company’s products, services, and policies.

You need to apply for a web hosting that has a good reputation when it comes to answering the queries that might face the users of the companies, especially for beginners who don’t know much about it.

Reliability:

Web hosting reliability is an important factor that website owners should consider when choosing a web hosting provider.

The main reason for this is that the hosting company will be responsible for storing and managing your site’s data.

Don’t sign up for web hosting that has not been tested before or is simply not known.

Security:

The importance of security in web hosting is obvious. you need to ensure that your website is secure to protect the hard work you did.

Security is also important to have security in a website for the sake of your website’s visitors and any sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers to protect it from hackers.

A good host ensures that the security of your website is good enough to protect you from cyber-attacks that happen around the clock, to ensure that your website cannot be hacked.

Do some research about the web hosting provider before purchasing a server or a plan on their platform such as the security measurements that they provide and if they have been hacked several times before.

Automated and On-demand Backups:

If your website is down due to hacking attacks, accidental loss of files, or updating problems that means your customers can’t find you.

Website backup is the process of making copies of a website’s files and database, typically on an offline storage device.

To avoid downtimes you must have a frequent backup technique for your website so that if anything goes wrong on your website, you always have a backup to get back to and bring everything to normal.

Try to avoid web hosts that don’t create a cluster of automated backups of your website, at least once a day, or on-demand backup whenever you make major changes, you can with one click create an on-demand backup

Scalability:

Web hosting scalability is the ability of a web hosting service to provide enough resources to handle an increased load of traffic. So when your website grows, you can easily with one click scale up your server resources.

The more scalable a server is, the more resources it can provide and the less likely it is to crash.

A good web hosting company will offer scalable hosting solutions that do not break or crush under heavy load. They should also offer a variety of plans with different levels of scalability for customers to choose from.

Ease of use:

Ease of use is a big factor in deciding what web hosting provider to use. Especially if you are a beginner.

If the dashboard of a web hosting is too complicated, you will find it hard to use and you will not be able to perform its tasks efficiently.

When you like web hosting and want to apply for it, watch tutorial videos and read articles about it.

How Does Web Hosting Affect Site Performance?

Website performance plays a crucial role in search engine ranking and user experience.

If visitors encounter difficulty accessing your site, they may opt for competitors instead. Also, Google considers factors like uptime and loading time for ranking.

Web hosting performance can be affected by the following:

  • Hosting type.
  • Loading time.
  • Uptime.
  • Server location.
  • Server resources.
  • Security.
  • Scalability.

How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Provider?

Choosing the right web host for your site is essential for a successful online business.

It is important to have a hosting service that offers a high level of security and performance including uptime and loading speed.

What’s the Difference Between Web Hosting and a Domain Name?

A domain name is an address that people use to find your website, while web hosting provides the server infrastructure to store and deliver your website’s content to visitors.

These two components work together to make your website accessible on the internet.

Why Do You Have to Pay for Web Hosting?

When you want to have a space on a server for your website, you will have to pay for the web hosting.

This is because the hosting provider offers many services including the hardware equipment, and skilled staff for continuous monitoring, maintenance, and customer support.

Also, the servers are energy-intensive, requiring not just electricity to run 24/7, but also cooling systems to prevent overheating, adding to the overall cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Host a Website?

The cost of hosting a website can vary widely based on several factors. It can be from 0 “free hosting” up to $3,500 and more.

Web hosting can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are many different types of web hosting services out there ranging from $2/month. and there are hosting services that cost thousands monthly.

Web hosting prices can vary widely based on several factors, these factors include:

  • The type of website you want to build.
  • The features you need
  • The number of monthly visitors you expect.
  • The level of performance and support you require
  • The amount of storage space that you need.
  • The bandwidth you need.

Web Hosting: The Conclusion

Considering the huge web hosting market, it can be difficult for new customers in the market to figure out what is the best web hosting choice for them. That’s why we made this article to make it simple for you.

You can take all the considerations in this article and compare them to what you have found. Or perhaps you want our experience to make it even easier for you to suggest the best web hosting providers for you.

Here are our top pics:

  • If you are just starting a brand new website or you have a small website with less than 10K monthly visits, the best choice for you is Hostinger shared hosting. It’s cheap -$2/month- and reliable.
  • If you have a website with a decent amount of monthly traffic or you just want to start a little bit bigger for better performance, I can’t think of a better web hosting than Cloudways cloud hosting. Read about Cloudways.
  • If you have the knowledge to run an unmanaged server and want the best and cheapest cloud hosting. Vultr is the guy. Read about Vultr.

Web Hosting FAQs

Is Web Hosting Free?

Web hosting can be free. Hosting a website on a reliable web hosting service costs money. However, some are free, but free hosting is usually limited in terms of features, speed, and reliability.

Can I Get Web Hosting For Free?

Yes, you can get free web hosting from providers like GitHub Pages, Netlify, Vercel, 000WebHost, and InfinityFree. However, these services may have limitations such as less storage, potential ads on your site, limited features, and lower reliability compared to paid hosting. Free hosting is best for small, personal projects or for learning purposes.

Should I Pay For Web Hosting?

Yes, if you need reliability, control, support, and advanced features, especially for a professional or business website or high-traffic sites, you should pay for web hosting.

Do I Need a Web Host?

Yes, if you want to publish a website on the internet, you need a web host. A web host provides the server space and technology necessary for your website to be accessed online. Without a web host, your site cannot be seen or used by others.

Can Web Hosting Be Changed?

Yes, you can change web hosting providers. The process involves selecting a new host, backing up your website, transferring files and databases to the new host, and updating your domain’s DNS settings to point to the new hosting server.

Can I Do My Own Web Hosting?

Yes, you can do your own web hosting with a dedicated computer, a stable and fast internet connection, server software, and knowledge of server management. However, it requires ongoing maintenance and security measures, making professional hosting services a more practical choice for most users.

Why Web Hosting Is Important?

Web hosting is crucial because it ensures your website is reliably accessible online, offers performance for quick loading times, provides security against cyber threats, includes support for technical issues, and allows for scalability as your website grows.

Can I Run a Website Without Hosting?

No, you cannot run a website on the internet without some form of hosting. Hosting is what allows your website to be stored on a server, which is then accessible via the internet to users. Without hosting, your website’s files have nowhere to reside publicly for access by visitors online.

Is WordPress a Web Host?

WordPress is not a web host itself; it is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to create and manage websites. However, there is often confusion because there are two main versions of WordPress; WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While WordPress.com offers web hosting services, WordPress.org does not; it requires you to arrange your own web hosting.

Awab Alzubair
Awab Alzubair

Hi, my name is Awab. I'm the founder of HostingEngines, and I'm a highly skilled and experienced writer in the fields of web hosting and CMS. With a passion for technology and a deep understanding of the industry, I have established myself as a leading authority on all things related to web hosting and website building.

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