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What is hosting?

Hosting is a rather mysterious concept – people who are not related in any way to IT or running websites rarely know what it means. Sometimes even people running their own websites do not fully understand its meaning or the differences between different hosting. Do you belong to any of these groups? Find out what web hosting is!

What is hosting?

Almost every tutorial on starting your own website begins with a recommendation to get a domain and hosting. These are two key elements of any website. The domain is the same as the address (name) of the website, while the hosting is the server space on which it is located. However, hosting is also defined as a service consisting in making available part of the server space in order to publish a page on the Internet.

This dual meaning probably partly contributes to the fact that many people do not fully understand what hosting is. Basically, however, the point is the same in each case – the use of server space. The hosting user can place any files on it and then decide on their publication. It is hosting that makes it possible for anyone to enter a given website and use the shared resources. Depending on the type and size of the server part, it gives different possibilities, therefore the choice of hosting is a very important issue for every website owner.

What is a server?

It would be appropriate to explain what a server is, since hosting allows you to rent a part of its space. A server is a computer that:
– is continuously connected to the Internet,
– has specific performance parameters,
– has a specific space,
– meets specific safety requirements.

The owner (administrator) of the server can share the space on it with others. It can separate a specific space and allow any user to use it. However, it still exercises control over the parameters and operation of the server. It can also decide on the ways of using the server and the tools used for it – most often it is a dedicated user panel. This is what is called a hosting service. Web hosting is usually intended for website hosting (web hosting), but can also handle e-mail. It should also be noted that it is the administrator’s responsibility to ensure the proper, continuous and stable operation of the server and thus any hosting accounts used.

It is also possible to invest in your own server and use all its space. This is an option with many advantages (more on them later in the text), but also with one major disadvantage, which is high cost. That is why most websites on the Internet use the so-called Shared hosting, i.e. just a separate space on a shared server.

Hosting – types of servers

If you’re considering hosting, it’s also worth knowing the types of servers you can use. Each of them is intended for a slightly different recipient, so the choice in this area should not be a particular problem – even for someone who does not have specialist IT knowledge. What types of servers are available and what possibilities do they offer?

Shared hosting
Most websites use servers that offer shared hosting. It is the technology described above which consists in allocating a certain amount of space on a given server and assigning it to individual users. Usually, in this case, all accounts are assigned to the same IP. This makes such hosting the least efficient and stable. Of course, this does not have to mean problems – good shared hosting can only periodically (in times of increased traffic) work a little less smoothly, causing e.g. slower page loading. However, this is often only minimally noticeable.

The greatest advantage of shared hosting is definitely the affordable price. This is the cheapest solution, although of course each server owner proposes slightly different prices and payment plans. It is also a good choice for people without IT expertise. The account and website maintenance is usually done via an intuitive user panel, and all the work related to the maintenance and maintenance of the server is carried out by the hosting company. Shared hosting is used by basically all smaller websites, including blogs.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)
A slightly better solution in terms of stability or bandwidth is VPS hosting, i.e. hosted on a virtual private server. What does it mean? Hosting in this case is also a separate part of the server, but it is created as a separate virtual machine. This involves assigning a separate IP address and clearly better operation, completely independent of other users. You can freely customize and organize your workspace. Such hosting also allows you to install any software.

However, it should be remembered that the physical hosting is still only separate from the server used by many other accounts. Therefore, such a solution is not synonymous with the highest level of security. A VPS server is more expensive than a shared server. Usually, using it also entitles you to additional services, such as the care of a dedicated consultant. It is a solution designed for larger parties that care about stability and smooth operation. It is used, for example, by game servers and large online stores.

Dedicated server
A dedicated server can be called the “crème de la crème” of all web hosts. This option is based on the use of your own individual physical server. One computer supports one account, which of course offers many advantages. The first is independence. Second – stability, even in moments of increased traffic. Third, it is the safest solution. Separating the site on a separate server significantly reduces the risk of cyber attacks and other similar problems. Fourthly, a dedicated server gives you complete freedom of action, software installation, etc. So it is not difficult to guess that this is the most expensive solution – the price difference compared to a shared server is huge. That is why only the largest websites use it – e.g. e-mail servers, streaming services or popular internet portals. A dedicated server also requires the employment of professionals to operate it.

What Makes Good Hosting Different?

Website owners and entities planning to launch their own website often look for “good hosting”. But what does that actually mean? Hosting is largely responsible for the operation of the website – primarily its smoothness and speed. Therefore, it is important to:
– hosting used a high-quality, stable server,
– the operation of the server was constantly monitored by the technical team,
– the server was configured in such a way as to ensure data security for users, protection against cyber attacks and other threats on the network,
– the server’s connection to the Internet was stable (in the event of a link failure, it should be automatically changed so that there would be no disruptions).

For many people, server and hosting support will also be very important. It is important that the devices are supervised by specialists who know their job very well, and that any unforeseen faults are removed as soon as possible. Customer service will be no less important – technical support that allows you to consult both on problems and configuration of the website on the server or other activities.

Paid or free hosting?

There are both paid and free hosting plans on the market. Some companies offer different hosting plans, including one that is completely free. However, is it worth choosing? Not necessarily if you are thinking about creating a real functional website. Free web hosting may be tempting, but in many cases it just doesn’t work. Such a service is usually distinguished by:
– very limited disk space – which allows you to build only a very simple, small page;
– low, limited transfer – which may cause problems with displaying or loading the page;
– the presence of advertisements – often quite intrusive and making it difficult to read the content of the website.

In addition, when choosing such a solution, you often have to take into account failures and other similar problems. So you should never use free hosting for sites that are intended to represent any kind of business activity. A website that is inefficient, slow or flooded with advertisements looks highly unprofessional and has a negative impact on the company’s image. You can use free hosting, for example, when trying out new features or learning how to create, modify or maintain websites.

How to choose a hosting?

So how do you choose hosting? What parameters should you pay attention to? If you already know what type of server you need, it’s time to start looking at specific offers. Before you decide on a specific hosting, be sure to check all the above-mentioned parameters. Hosting providers often tempt with promotions and attractive fees, e.g. for the first year, and after signing the contract, it turns out that after this time, hosting costs increase dramatically. Sometimes it also happens that the server from the promotion simply “does not demand”. How to avoid such mistakes? Drive on hard data. Check what to look at before signing the contract.

Uptime is a rather mysterious-sounding parameter that simply means availability. It determines how often the server is unavailable due to outages or other problems – that is, how often you have to reckon with a broken website. It is defined as a percentage. If you’re looking for good hosting, choose a company that boasts an uptime of at least 99%. Some service providers also provide compensation if the uptime drops below a certain level. It is a sign of customer care, as well as hard work on the stability and proper operation of the server.

Data transfer
Data transfer is called link speed. It indicates how much data can be transferred per second between your website and the network. How fast your website loads depends on the speed of your internet connection. Of course, it is worth looking for the highest possible values. Hardly anyone has the patience to wait more than a second for the site to load. Slow action is able to effectively discourage reading its content. It is also good to check if the hosting has any data limit. Of course, unlimited offers are the best.

Security is one of the most important issues. Moreover, its importance is constantly growing. It is up to the hosting company to ensure the appropriate level of security to protect the data of the website owner and his customers. Of course, hosting should support the standard SSL certificate you already have, but it’s also worth checking if there are other security services available. Among other things, the frequency of backing up the accounts is important. It is also worth finding out how long these copies are kept.

Disk space limit
Each hosting service is associated with obtaining a specific slice of disk space. Depending on the complexity of the page, you will need more space. If you only intend to create a business card page, as little as a few hundred megabytes may be enough. However, most pages need more space. Remember that each subsequent bookmark, each photo or graphic will require a specific disk space. You can also attach an e-mail box to the domain, which will take up more megabytes. That is why adjusting the space limit to the user’s needs is so important.

It is also worth finding out what the company’s policy is in case of exceeding the space limit or the transfer limit. This is because sometimes the website is blocked. It is worth choosing a hosting provider that shows more understanding and, for example, sends warnings about exceeding the limits, asking you to modify the website or purchase a higher service package.

Other Limits
Depending on the type of account and hosting company, there are also other limits imposed on users. Of course, the most restrictions are related to the basic, cheapest accounts. Sometimes the number of databases may be limited, other times administrator accounts, domains or subdomains. Think about what is important to you and how you want to run your website before buying hosting, especially the cheapest one.

Technical assistance
Anyone may need technical support. Problems with the pages and their operation vary. They tend to be unexpected and quick removal is crucial. That is why good hosting offers its customers 24/7, easily accessible and reliable support. Everyone should be able to get answers to their questions quickly. It is also worth checking the issue of passing the crash messages and the average time needed to fix the problem. Good hosting can even offer you compensation related to breakdown, ongoing repair or maintenance.

The price of the service is undoubtedly important. However, you should take into account not only the promotional price, which is often offered to new customers (even hosting plans for a dollar for the entire year are available), but also, and maybe even above all, the price for the next billing period. Extending the service with many hosting providers costs much more than creating an account and using it in the initial period. So let’s carefully analyze the offers before you decide on the right one.

The feedback can definitely help you choose the right hosting. There are tons of sites on the internet that collect feedback on hosting services. However, it is worth remembering that the entries posted there do not always have to be reliable. It is a competitive market, and both positive and negative word of mouth marketing are basically the order of the day. Therefore, it may be a much better idea to use your friends’ experience. You can also ask a question e.g. on a trusted Facebook group or a closed forum. Then the chance of receiving reliable opinions is much greater.

What’s the best way to check a given hosting? Of course, during the trial period! Not every company offers such an opportunity, but if it is available, it is definitely worth taking advantage of. Usually it is no more than 14 days, but during this time you can check in practice how the server works and how convenient it is to use the hosting.

Hosting – essential for your website

Hosting is a must for any website. Without it, the site cannot reach other network users. There are many hosting service providers and many options for using them. Therefore, if you run a website or intend to set up one, you will surely find the right option for you.

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