Basics of Web Hosting

The term hosting, as in web hosting, simply refers to the place where you store your website. Because of the importance that the concept holds with regards to online activity, understanding the basics of web hosting and the sorts of web hosting services you can use will prove more helpful than trying to figure out which HTML editor to make use of.
 
There is little point in trying to understand the basics of web hosting if you do not have a clear understanding of some basic concepts about the internet, websites, blogs and so on. And even with these concepts in mind, there are certain basic terms and concepts that underlie web hosting and which must be understood before hand, such as:
 

Domain name

This is the name that you use to identify your website, i.e. words that you type into the address bar of your browser to access a website, usually leading to the homepage of a given site.
 

URL

The uniform resource locator is the address of your website and is usually delineated by the ‘http://’ statement generated by you browser. Each and every site has its own unique URL.
 

Name Server

Every website on the internet has a unique set of numbers collectively known as an IP address used to identify its location on the internet. The objective of a name server is to convert the entered domain name into an IP address that it can use to determine the location of the website.
 
To understand web hosting, you need to first understand that websites run on computers. In other words when you create a website it will have to then be run on a computer. Signing up with a hosting company involves opening up a hosting account which will be placed on one of their computers, and your domain name associated with your hosting account, hence allowing the site to run on that server. It is on one such server that the name server will locate the site using the IP address, which of course means that websites run on computers that are connected to the internet.
 
Web hosting comes in different types, namely:
 

Free hosting

As it sounds, there are companies that host web sites for free, instead meeting costs through advertisements placed on the hosted web sites. With free hosting, you should expect less space and bandwidth than with paid hosting.
 

Standard hosting

This is the most common hosting method where one pays for a certain amount of server space and is then granted all the necessary facilities such as bandwidth, space, software and so on.
 

Shared hosting

Most web hosting is shared, usually by default unless stated otherwise. The idea here is that your website is running on a server, sharing space with other hosted websites; a few companies will provide either Linux or windows server options for shared hosting, though for most companies, Linux is the default choice because it is cheaper, unless you intend to run some special applications in which case you might use windows.
 

Dedicated hosting

With dedicated web hosting one is provided with complete control of an entire server to use as they wish, usually customized to meet the customer’s exact needs. As one would expect this is expensive, which is why shared hosting is more commonly used as it allows a single server to share maintenance costs among many users.
 

VPS hosting

Virtual Private Server hosting is actually quite similar to dedicated, in that you have full control of the server, or seem to and can install software as you wish, yet the hardware is nonetheless shared by other virtual machines. Either way it is much cheaper than dedicated hosting.

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