Web Hosting Explained
What is web hosting?
In just one sentence: Web hosting is a place where individuals or organizations place their websites.
Normally when we talk about a web hosting, it means a company that provides space on a computer (server) to *host* the files for your website, as well as providing Internet connectivity so that other computers can access to the files on your website.
I guess it’s not that clear unless you are well aware that your website is actually a collection of various computer files (HTML files, images, videos… etc) that are interlinked together. To put up your website on the Internet and share these files, a super computer (which we call a server) with high speed Internet connection is needed.
Web Hosting And Data Center: Aren’t They The Same?
Normally when we talk about web hosting, the term “web hosting” refers to the server that host your website or the hosting company that rent that server space to you; when we talk about data center, we mean the facility that is used to house the servers.
A data center could be a room, a house, or a very large building equipped with redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and security devices.
Generally, there are four different types of web hosting: Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting. While all types of hosting servers will act as a storage centre for your website, they differ in the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement, server speed, and reliability. Let’s dig in and look at the main differences between a shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting.
In shared hosting, one’s web site is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few to hundreds or thousands. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. As cost is extremely low, most websites with moderate traffic levels running standard software are hosted on this type of server. Shared hosting is also widely accepted as the entry level option as it requires minimum technical knowledge.
No root access, limited ability to handle high traffic levels or spikes, site performance can be affected by other sites on the same server.
A virtual private server hosting divides a server into virtual servers, where each websites is like hosted on their own dedicated server, but they’re actually sharing a server with a few different other users. The users may have root access to their own virtual space and better secured hosting environment with this type of hosting. Websites that need greater control at the server level, but don’t want to invest in a dedicated server.
Limited ability to handle high traffic levels or spikes, your site performance can still be somewhat affected by other sites on the server.
A dedicated server offers the maximum control over the web server your website is stored on – You exclusively rent an entire server. Your website(s) is the only website stored on the server.
With great power comes… well, greater cost. Dedicated servers are very expensive and it’s only recommended to those who need the maximum control and better server performance.
Cloud hosting offers unlimited ability to handle high traffic or traffic spikes. Here’s how it works: A team of servers (called a cloud) work together to host a group of websites. This allows multiple computers to work together to handle high traffic levels or spikes for any particular website.
Many cloud hosting setup do not offers root access (required to change server settings and install some software), higher cost.