One of the most common questions we’ve heard while helping people start their businesses online is definitely: what is a web hosting service?
Because, the concept of domain names is rather easy to comprehend (it’s a name of your website and its main address online), but hosting might be a tricky topic. Furthermore, what many people do not know is: the quality and reliability of your site’s host can either make or break your business.
Let’s dive right into it.
What is a web hosting service?
Essentially, without having a web host, your website cannot exist online. Hosting service provides the complex structure of technologies which store or host, but also support the entire content of your site.
By content, we don’t mean only textual posts, images, or videos. Content, in this case, includes the building blocks of your website – web resources, documents and applications.
The domain name is an equivalent of the actual postal address, but your hosting service is the ground/foundation and real physical place where your house will be built on. Merely having an address doesn’t provide a roof over your head. Similarly, hosting is where your online properties are safely stored.
But, where are they stored? The simple answer is on servers, which are nothing more than special computers equipped to serve their role.
To sum everything up:
- A hosting service stores all the content of your website, including backend documents
- The data itself is hosted on special computers, called servers
- Having a domain is just a starting step – your website cannot go live without a host
How does it work?
Let’s see what happens behind the scene, whenever an Internet user wants to discover more about your business or lifestyle online.
Assuming that the complete setup works fine, this happens when someone clicks on a link leading to your website or types in the address manually:
- Once their computer received an enquiry, it will connect to a server
- The server then responds and delivers your web pages to the visitor
- Web content itself is delivered through a browser (Chrome, Mozilla, or any other)
Which means that in a way, a host also serves as a bridge between your website and your website’s visitor. This simple concept explains why do you need a hosting service in the first place.
Types of hosting services
Each web hosting service type serves a different need.
Therefore, we believe it’s crucial to understand what is available to you, so you could choose accordingly. The main types of web hosts are:
- Website builder services (great for beginners)
- Shared hosts
- Dedicated hosts
- Collocated hosts
1. Website builders
This type is the most common and beginner-friendly option. Also known as a Basic plan, it’s perfect for users who want to build their first site or just aim for a simple one. Here at CanSpace, we provide an easy-to-use browser-based builder (rvSiteBuilder), which can help you setup your website in minutes. It comes with any of our hosting plans!
2. Shared hosting service
As the name itself suggest, this type enables you to share a server with other site owners. Not only the physical server will be shared, but also the applications stored on that server. This type is usually used because it’s affordable. Still, there’s a price – the website performance might be slower, due to the nature of this service.
3. Dedicated hosting service
On the opposite side of the spectrum, dedicated hosting is used if you want to be the only user of a server. At one side, your website should perform faster, but it surely will require a larger investment in the means of cost and responsibility. Dedicated hosting is often used by established businesses, who need stronger security and a lot of resources for their site.
4. Collocated hosting service
Somewhere in between, lies an option of a collocated server. This means that you as a site owner, buy a server, but host it at your hosting provider. So, the responsibility is entirely yours in this case, which also includes the complete control over it.
- What kind of a website do you want to build (a blog, an online store, forum or something else)?
- The size/stage of your business – what number of visitors do you expect?
- What is your planned budget for site hosting?
- Will you need a lot of additional applications?
- Would having support for something specific help you out (for PHP, as an example)?
- Is there a special software your website would need?
You can read more about this topic here.
Often we encounter people (either having a personal or business websites) who purchase the cheapest hosting service, without even knowing what did they actually buy. We hope that our guide helps answer the crucial question: what is a web hosting service and why do you need one at all?
If it did, then let your friends know about this article too. Share the knowledge, so we could all choose hosting services with full understanding and clarity!