All About Web Hosting

There are a couple important requirements when you want to start a website. Of course, one is your domain name, or the URL that visitors will type into their browser’s address bar to to access your website. However, web hosting is also important because once you purchase your domain name, you need a location to store the pages, images and scripts that will make up your website. The name of this service is called web hosting, or simply hosting.

Web Hosting in a Nutshell

Hosts have powerful computers, or servers, where your files reside. You must associate your domain with your host, so that your website files come up any time someone wants to access your website. If you use the same company to purchase hosting and your domain, this may be done automatically. Otherwise, the common method to associate these two services is to enter the nameserver information from your host into the control panel of your domain registrar.

Shopping for Hosting

There are several types of hosting that you will see when shopping for hosting. Shared hosting means that multiple customers are located on the same server, and this type of hosting is ideal for small websites and blogs that don’t need a lot of space or bandwidth. Dedicated server hosting is better for large websites with greater needs, and ensures that your websites are the only ones on the server. Virtual private servers refer to virtualization, in which the server is located on the same machine as other servers, but is created in such a way that it works independently from the other virtualized server accounts.

Generally, shared hosting is the most cost efficient, and some hosts provide this service for less than $5 per month. Dedicated and VPS hosting is more expensive and can cost as much as a several hundred dollars per month. When comparing between the same type of hosting, you’ll want to take note of the total file space allocated for each plan as well as the monthly file transfer, or bandwidth, you’ll be able to use.

Operating System

Prices can also vary between operating systems. Server versions of Windows and Linux/Unix operating systems exist, providing support for various scripts and features. Most hosts offer Unix hosting by default, and this supports common PHP and CGI scripts as well as the HTML Web programming language. If you have specialty needs, such as ASP or the .NET Framework, you will require hosting on a Windows server. However, if you’re brand new to website operations, a Unix host will suit your needs and may be able to save you some money.
Once you purchase your hosting plan, you can begin uploading the files that are your website’s backbone.

Webmaster Tools Reviewer

You can follow the author @JulianaP16 on Twitter. Juliana is a webmaster for a VPS Hosting provider based in Los Angeles, @InMotionHosting.

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