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Web Hosting – A Guide For Beginners

Are you interested in learning web hosting? Do you want to have an idea of its potential benefits? Do you know much about web hosting? If you have no previous knowledge of web hosting, you need not be ashamed. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. By starting from scratch, you will soon get to know the nitty-gritty of web hosting. Now, let’s discussing web hosting.

First, what does web hosting mean, and how does it work?

Web hosting refers to the business practice of providing bandwidth and space on a high-powered computer server which is connected to the internet at very high speeds. Hosting companies control massive networks of high-powered web server computers in a physical setting that is referred to as a data center. These computer servers are linked to a high-speed, and naturally unessential, internet connection.

The data centers are equipped with a fast internet connection, primary and backup power, and security monitoring staff. The web hosting companies offer customers available bandwidth and a share of disk space for a monthly fee. Customers can sign up and upload files to their personal space on the web server. Any interested persons on the internet can view the information.

The web hosting company charges a monthly fee that is far below the cost of running a server from your home or data center. These companies exist mainly for this reason. Their sole responsibility is to manage all the software, hardware, and technical issues to cater to your needs.

Types of Web hosting

Web hosting comes in different types, but the most popular ones are shared, reseller, and dedicated web hosting. Each of these types has a unique purpose.

Shared Web Hosting

This is the most common type of hosting. In shared hosting, the hosting company provides you with disk space and bandwidth on a high-powered server. This server also hosts several other websites, while the hosting company has some of these servers in a massive data center. The server distributes its resources to the sites that are allocated to the computer.

Shared web hosting is relatively less expensive than other forms of web hosting. If you plan to spend less on a site that attracts only a few thousands of daily visitors, you can opt for shared web hosting.

Reseller Web Hosting

This is a cheap but very popular option that you can use to start your web hosting business. Reseller hosting is of two types: private- label and a reseller of services.

Private-label hosting service grants you full control over your customer’s websites; hence it can be regarded as the best type of reseller plan. Besides, it grants the reseller the opportunity to hold the full monthly payment of the web-hosting customer. The reseller, however, must pay the larger hosting company a monthly fee for the reseller space.

Unlike shared hosting, private-label hosting permits you to host as many websites as possible. This is a reasonable option for those who own many websites. It allows them to organize all the sites in one location to save costs.

The reseller of services plan resells the standard web hosting plans of a bigger web hosting company. The plan guarantees you a discount for referring a customer, and you receive a monthly payment so long as the person remains a customer. With this plan, you have no control over customer websites, and you only keep a percentage of the expected monthly revenue.

Dedicated Web Hosting

Dedicated web hosting is the best and cheapest solution for hosting a busy website. You don’t need to acquire your equipment or subscribe to a fast internet connection by paying hundreds of dollars monthly. Dedicated hosting involves a single server without anyone else hosting on the computer. This gives you a choice to pick from various configurations. Any owner of a busy website will agree that dedicated hosting is the best choice.

Web Hosting Considerations

Are you amazed at all the information you find in web hosting plans? You need not. I am going to take you through what you should consider while choosing a web host.

Price

The price of a web hosting service is an essential factor to consider before choosing a web host. Hosting companies offering cheap packages are everywhere, but they may be providing poor services in other areas different from hosting. In another vein, some hosting services charge exorbitant prices but have excellent features to offer their clients. Hence, price is a critical decision of a web host plan, though there are other things to consider too.

Disk Space/Storage Space

Disk space refers to the size of the physical storage space a web host allocates to you to store your files. Nowadays, hosting companies offer plans with disk space measured mainly in terms of gigabytes, though some still allot plans in the megabytes for storage space. Your needs for file storage space largely determine the storage capacity that you should request for. Naturally, the more disk space they offer you, the better and more efficient your task will be.

Bandwidth/Data Transfer

The size of the available bandwidth is a significant factor to consider when choosing a hosting plan. Generally, the more bandwidth a hosting company allots to you, the better and more efficient for the job you will use it for. More bandwidth will enable you to support more traffic to your website as your business thrives. Be careful of web hosting companies that offer you unmetered or unlimited bandwidth. Though some of the offers are genuine, there are many of the companies that oversell their bandwidth, hoping the average user would use just a little amount from it.

Customer Support

Customer support is a vital component of the survival of any business. Providing exceptional customer services will endear customers to a business. This fact is also applicable to web hosting. Most host companies are available 24/7 to attend to your needs and resolve any complaint you have with your website. However, some are available only for specific hours of the day. If your site is temporarily down and you need their assistance to restore it, the hosting company’s unavailability may deny you some potential revenue. Therefore, ensure that your preferred web host is always available for support.

Money-Back Guarantee

Some web hosting companies give you a 30-day money-back guarantee, while some offer you a longer-term one. You can choose any of them. But be careful of those companies that provide you no money-back guarantee. Never purchase web hosting services from any company that refuses to offer you a 30-day money-back guarantee or even more, unless they have a proven track record as a leader in the web hosting industry with an untainted reputation.

Operating System

An operating system is a software that manages the interface between a computer user and the hardware of a machine. Most websites on the internet run on the Linux Operating System because it is generally more stable than the Windows operating system. Therefore, you can consider hosting your website on the Linux Operating System. Meanwhile, some sites have some features whose requirements can be satisfied by only the Windows Operating System. However, there are always other available options for those requirements.

Backup

Typically, a web hosting company should have a standard procedure to back up the data on all its web servers. Hosting companies should back up their data at least once in a day. The more frequent the files are backed up, the safer for both the web host and its clients.

Control Panel

The control panel is the agent that the website administrator uses to perform management and administrative operating system tasks and grant access to specific software features. It is necessary to have an efficient and simple control panel interface. I have a preference for cPanel, which is a leading hosting control panel in the industry. Another outstanding control panel is Plesk.

Many other companies will design and create their control panel to your satisfaction. Many web hosting companies will give you a link to a demo of the control panel that they use with their hosting plans. The type of control panel they use may not really matter; what should be of concern is that it must be user friendly.

Email

Email is an integral form of communication on the internet. The majority of web hosting companies will provide you with enough space to hold email messages. Search for companies whose conditions on their email accounts are very stringent, and only offer a small number of message space.

Uptime

Uptime means how often a website hosted by a company is available online. Uptime shows how long or efficiently a system has been running. It can be an absolute value (e.g., 72 days) or a percentage (e.g., 99.5%). Uptime percentage is commonly used to determine the reliability of a web server. Whenever a system is restarted, the uptime number resets. You don’t need to expect 100% uptime from any company because it is impossible to achieve such feat as sometimes, software, hardware, and power failure can become a threat to efficient services.

Most of the companies provide excellent uptime, which is always backed by a guarantee. However, it is still advisable to be wary of the uptime advertised by some companies. An uptime must be at least 99.5% to be worth hosting with a company.

Statistics

It is excellent if, as a webmaster, you have an idea of the number of visitors to your site, their locations or origin, the duration of their stay on your website, their frequency of visit, and the amount of the bandwidth they have spent. The web server collects this set of data and puts it in a log file. A statistics software package can scan the collection of data, process it, and furnish the webmaster with meaningful information. The information in the logs can be beneficial to improve viewers’ experience of a website.

FTP

FTP is an acronym for file transfer protocol. It is a way of describing how files are quickly uploaded to, or downloaded from, a web server. FTP is a standard network protocol used in the transfer of computer files between a server and clients on a computer network.

Typically, the end-user machine is referred to as the host machine and is connected via the internet to the remote host- which is the second machine managing the FTP software. The majority of web hosting companies grant their clients access to their web hosting interfaces and accounts via FTP. FTP is a compelling and valuable feature you should look out for before purchasing a web hosting account.

Scripting

Since the advent of the World Wide Web, a lot of scripting languages have been created and developed into the interactive and dynamic environment we experience today. A scripting language adds functionality, such as calculation of numbers or loading of information from an external database, to a web site.

Scripting languages have ensured that electronic commerce comes to reality. Examples of scripting languages are PHP, JSP, ASP, VBScript, Javascript, Coldfusion, and Perl. This article will not delve into the complexities of these languages to avoid derailing. If you are vast in using these languages, you should have an idea of what to search for in a web server for them.

Databases

A database refers to a place reserved for the storage of data that can be used in so many ways. Some of the areas in which databases are used on the internet are message boards, product catalogs, cats, and more. The number of applications you can deploy on your web server depends on the number of databases your web hosting allows you to create. Advanced webmasters make use of databases to undertake various tasks. You can get further information online if you want to have an in-depth understanding of what database entails.

Conclusion

Choosing a web host can be a tough decision because there are thousands of web hosting companies online. It is necessary that you pick a plan that suits your needs and meets the various requirements explained earlier in this article while choosing your hosting company. If you follow the points and criteria that you have read above, you can easily make the best decision when choosing your web host.

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