What is Web Hosting? A Beginner’s Guide 

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    The three main components to owning a website on the internet includes web hosting, domain name, and website. If you already have a domain name or are looking to buy one, the second step is to choose a web host for your website. Learn what you need to know about hosting a website and what to consider when picking your web hosting provider. 

    What is Web Hosting? 

    Just like renting an apartment or a house, hosting a website means that you are renting space on a server. A web host is a service provider responsible for maintaining, securing, configuring, and running physical servers that host websites. Servers are literally physical computers that house websites. When someone accesses your URL, the server will run and transfer all data such as text, videos, audio, photos, and other files to the visitor’s browser. 

    What’s the Difference Between Web Hosting & Domain?

    Let’s use the same analogy of renting a house. Think of the land as the web hosting, the house you want to build as your website and the street address as your domain name. 

    A domain name is your website’s address. It is what gives your website a name, an identity. Some examples of domains are Google.com, Amazon.com, BBC.uk, and ManagementHelp.org. 

    Why You Need One

    To run a website, you’ll need these three keys: a website, a domain address, and a web host. It is possible to self-host your own website, but that requires advanced technical skills and tools such as the right pieces of equipment, infrastructure, software, and hardware. Outsourcing this complex process to a web hosting company is the best choice, especially for beginners. 

    Types of Web Hosting

    Now that you know what web hosting and a domain are, the next step is to understand the different types of web hosting to choose the best option for your business. 

    Many web hosts offer various hosting packages for different customers – from e-commerce to personal blog creators to enterprises. Ideally, for small businesses to get their first website up and running efficiently, we recommend starting with the simplest hosting option. Later, as your company scales and your website gathers more traffic, you can upgrade to another plan. We’ve wrapped up the main types of web hosting. 

    Shared Hosting

    • Cost: $
    • Technical expertise: Low
    • Server admin: Low
    • Performance: Good
    • Best option for: Beginners, freelancers, and small businesses

    As the name suggests, shared hosting is the solution in which several websites share the same server, including storage space, memory, and bandwidth. Shared hosting is the cheapest option being the perfect one for first-time users with little to no technical expertise. Small businesses and personal websites that require a more straightforward configuration and setup would do well with this option.

    However, the downside is that if something happens to your “neighbor” (another website on the shared server), your website might feel the effects. For instance, higher traffic on other websites might decrease your website speed and performance.  

    Virtual Private Server (VPS)

    • Cost: $$
    • Technical expertise: Advanced
    • Server admin: Root access to the server
    • Performance: Great
    • Best option for: Medium-size companies, large e-commerce stores, or websites and blogs with large numbers of visitors 

    Using a VPS hosting solution, you still get to share server space with other websites, but in this case, the host offers a partition for each user and dedicated server space. VPS can be an upgrade option from the shared plan, as it provides more robust performance and autonomy over your website. 

    However, it requires advanced technical knowledge to manage it, and you may have to hire a developer to maintain the virtual server. VPS hosting plans are a good option for businesses growing and scaling fast, websites with high traffic, and e-commerce shops. 

    Cloud Hosting

    • Cost: $$$
    • Technical expertise: Advanced
    • Server admin: Root access not always provided
    • Performance: Excellent
    • Best option for: Large e-commerce and enterprises

    Cloud hosting uses a variety of virtual servers to host websites. Also, it works in a way so that if one server gets a spike in traffic or experiences a problem, the remaining ones will take over and maintain the website operating, so your website shouldn’t experience any downtime. 

    This is considered one of the most secure options for large enterprises and big e-commerce shops that need ample storage and high-performance capacities. Like VPS, cloud hosting requires advanced technical skills, but it’s more expensive than the previous options.

    Dedicated Hosting

    • Cost: $$$$
    • Technical expertise: Advanced
    • Server admin: Full root access 
    • Performance: Excellent
    • Best option for: Large digital businesses with heavy traffic

    A dedicated hosting solution is the best option for companies that need complete server control and a dedicated physical server. This type of hosting lets you choose your operating system, configure and manage the server, and all the specifications within the hosting environment. 

    The whole website performance and optimization have to be done by you (or your team), so it’s highly recommended to have a dedicated team of professionals working on it. Costs are also high, so large enterprises with heavy traffic will benefit from this solution. 

    WordPress Hosting

    • Cost: $
    • Technical expertise: Low
    • Server admin: Low 
    • Performance: Good
    • Best option for: Small-size companies and beginners

    Optimized to run WordPress websites, WordPress hosting plan comes with many tools and services dedicated to WordPress sites, such as automatic software updates, customer support specialized in WP, plugins, and themes. WordPress hosting plans are low cost, easy to manage, and beginner-friendly. 

    How to Choose the Best Web Hosting for your Business?

    Suppose you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, independent contractor, or run a small-size company, and this is your first time building a website for your business. In that case, you should consider beginner-friendly options such as shared hosting or WordPress hosting if you have a WP website.

    As your website or business scales, and there’s a need for extra storage, speed, or bandwidth, you may consider upgrading to a more advanced hosting plan such as VPS or cloud hosting.  Nonetheless, we recommend you choose a web host that offers different types of web hosting plans so you can migrate at any time you need. 

    However, there are a few essential factors to bear in mind before you choose the best web hosting provider. We’ve wrapped up the main ones:

    Control Panel

    In a nutshell, a control panel is a dashboard where you can access and manage all things related to your website, such as installing applications, creating and purchasing domain names, and managing email accounts. 

    Some of the most popular control panels are cPanel, Plesk, hPanel, Direct Admin, Webmin, and ISP manager. They all have different designs, features and tools, and it’s provided by the web hosting server – some hosts may even have proprietary control panels. 

    However, not all control panels are the same – every host provides its own, and at times they can be a bit complicated to navigate. So, it’s best to go with a web host that offers a user-friendly dashboard that’s easily manageable by all types of users.

    Website Performance – Uptime/downtime

    More than choosing the right web hosting provider or the best website builder for your website, it’s crucial to opt for the service provider with a fairly good uptime rate. Unstable web servers and excessive downtime can negatively impact your business, and you might lose sales if your website is too slow to load or if it suddenly crashes. 


    It’s essential to consider a web host provider that guarantees security measures against attacks, at least, for its physical servers if you wish to keep your account and website safe. A step further in security measures will offer protection against cyber-attacks and malware. So, for instance, web hosts often provide SSL certificates (mostly included in web hosting plans), network monitoring, SSH access and backups. In addition, some web hosting plans even provide CDNs at no cost, which can be helpful in case there’s a DDoS attack. 

    Customer Support

    This is the most important thing about deciding which web hosting you’re picking. You’ll need exceptional customer service support, preferably 24/7, if your website experiences a crash or any other technical issue and you need to solve it as quickly as possible.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Web Hosting

    Sometimes technical terms in digital technology can be confusing. So, some people might mix up a domain name and web hosting, for example. We’ve listed some of the most common questions about web hosting. 

    Bottom Line on Web Hosting

    Having a website involves a lot of decision making and some basic knowledge about a few terms if you wish to start your online business or simply have an online presence. Website hosting is the service provider that allows your website to be available for visitors on the internet.

    Whether you’re a small business owner or a large enterprise manager, after choosing a domain name, the second step to setting up a website is to find a web host. There are several web hosts out there, so knowing a few things about the types of web hosting and what type of service is the best fit for your business will help you make the right decision.