Explain web hosting and packages for beginners

How many types of web hosting packages are there?

There are a number of types of web hosting packages available. The consumer has such a great choice as the market is becoming ever more competitive. It can be confusing with such a wide variety. We will explain in simple terms each web hosting package and how to make a wise and sensible decision. Which features to look out for? Ultimately the choice of website will impact your experience and your business.

Why it’s so important to choose the correct web hosting?

A website is much more than just a page. It helps brand building and marketing. It has great social implications.

What is web hosting?

Essentially you are creating information (files) and making it available to all. The hosting company keeps those files “live” for you. It is your estate on the web. To manage and control these files of information will depend largely on the hosting company and the services they provide. To make it easier for the customers, the hosting companies have a variety of packages for every type of budget.

What are your requirements? What is your budget?

For example a personal blog with a few pages may need fewer resources, as compared to a website like Google or Amazon! Stores with 1000’s of products have different resources to function as compared to a small company. We will explain each.

Choosing the best option for your needs involves understanding how hosting is sold and provided. We will learn the benefits and draw-backs of each type.

Different Types of Hosting Services

We need to understand that the features and performance are also taken into consideration. Ultimately these will affect your presence on the World Wide Web. The decision is not only about money, but also service. So let’s have look.

What is Free Hosting?

Why get free hosting? Maybe you have just started out and it’s your first experience of hosting. There’s that joy. A happy day. Typically, your website site will have few pages. You may ask? So why do companies give free hosting? The aim behind this promotion is that the resources needed to host a few pages are minimal. They are hoping in time you will switch to a paid service and remain a loyal life-time customer. It is known, for obvious reasons as “bait and switch”. With the internet expanding, hosting companies tempt you, hoping in time to come you will buy other services. They understand that customers do not switch their hosting often.

So, what’s the catch and the deal? With free hosting, you get very little control of anything. The speed of the website or the memory amounts. This is fine, as you will not be having 1000’s of visitors or pages. (Keep in mind, that every page and visitor is using some memory)

Free hosting limitations.

You may be restricted to using your own website name, which is known as a domain. The applications and software are limited. Free hosting is certainly not recommended for businesses. To compensate the cost of these free websites, your provider may run their own adverts on them. The website speed and load time may be compensated. As you would expect, the user has the least amount of control of the website

As you become more comfortable, you will most certainly want to upgrade to a paid package. With some providers selling packages at just $3.00 per month, very soon the users of this package will change.

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is as the name suggests, sharing. Your website space is shared with others. This is usually the cheapest and is known as entry level hosting. The hosting company tries to be fair to each of their clients as they are sharing resources. If none of the other user are active, your webpage will load quickly. If there are others using it at the same time, your services are restricted. It’s like a water pipe having many taps, hoping not all will be opened at the same time.

This service is better than the free one

Though your website is sharing memory, this service is better than the free one. Here you have an account and usually your own user friendly interface, a cPanel. Each customer can control much more of their website. You can have your very own chosen domain name! The greatest benefit of shared hosting is cost. Shared hosting can be very cheap, in fact the cheapest available! Alternatively, having your own dedicated private server costs a lot more.

The disadvantage of shared hosting is speed, performance and security. You have no choice who those others are and how many they are. Some servers are shared with thousands! The good thing is that each user does not know the other. As many sites are competing for memory, CPU and bandwidth, the load speed of pages of these websites fluctuates greatly. However, your web site is still configured as a separate web site on the server and can still have its own domain name etc. It is simply sharing the server with other web sites.

Not only are the resources shared, but the operating system is shared too. You have no control or say what you co-shares are doing and how much traffic they’re getting. So bear this in mind. If you have sensitive information, then this may not be the best choice.

A shared hosting package is usually good enough for beginners

If you’re just starting out and are learning about hosting, a shared hosting package is usually good enough. Shared hosting is usually priced the lowest. The hosting company hopes you will upgrade to a more costly one soon! A VPS or Dedicated server may not be necessary at the beginning stages. The server is maintained and managed by the hosting provider. Watch out for “unlimited” bandwidth and “unlimited” space. You can’t use your “unlimited” in one go! You are sharing the resources.

Many hosting companies will cram 1000’s of “shared” packages where the operating spends so much time swapping files between clients websites. This naturally affects your “load speed time”. You must keep an eye on page load times. If is consistently above 8 seconds, maybe it’s time to change the hosting supplier. Sadly, performance is never assured with shared hosting. Some hosting company may determine your website too busy for their servers and slow it down, forcing you to upgrade or leave!

Who should buy shared hosting?

The users who just want a personal website or a business website, not expecting much traffic, having just a few e-mails and pages. Some one who wants just a minimal presence on the internet. These website do not require many resources. Shared hosting is the place to start-up and get experience. Shared hosting is not recommended for serious, high traffic businesses.

What is Virtual Private Server / Virtual Dedicated Hosting

This is an upgrade to the shared hosting. So what’s the difference then? The resources are shared similar to the Shared hosting, but, each client has their own operating system. The memory and other resources are set and reserved just for your use. Other users have no access to your resources. You get the benefit of a dedicated server at a low cost and do as you please on your reserved server space. This is the go-between your ultimate dedicated server and your humble beginnings of shared hosting. Not too cheap nor too expensive. You will need to choose a managed or unmanaged VPS/VDH. You can ask the host company to manage the technical part and security of the website.

Who should buy a VPS/VDH ?

Websites that have high volumes of traffic and need plenty of resources. It will give your customers a better experience and faster reliable up-time.

What is Dedicated Hosting?

Dedicated hosting is the final stage, the best and the most costly. As the name says, your website has it own computer linked to the internet. All the resources are at your disposable. You do whatever you wish with no restrictions whatever. You have full and total control as you are leasing the whole computer. This operates faster and is much more secure. Your users and customers experience will be excellent, with fast page loading, very short down-time and a well secured website.  The hosting company will give you premium support and the best possible service and help. You can chose to manage it yourself or as the hosting company to manage it.

Who should buy a dedicated server?

If you are a big company and your earnings and sales depended heavily on your website. The websites that get 1000’s of visitors a day.

In Conclusion

The hosting market and services are very accommodating. Each service can be tailored to the customer. Needless to say, the more the services and resources, the higher the price.

Hope you have a better and clearer understanding of how the hosting market works and why there is so much price difference.

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