Web hosting: What it is and how it works

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Web hosting

If you have been considering starting your very own website, it’s likely that you will have come across the term web or website hosting. It’s the perfect solution for most of us, and with a wide range of hosting options available at a variety of price points, you are sure to find a hosting solution that works for you.

What is web hosting?

Put simply, website hosting is a service provided by a third-party company, which allows you to get your website online and available to be loaded by visitors. Every website is made up of data and other information files, which need to be stored on a server. Servers are a type of hardware that must be kept running day and night, in order for your website to remain constantly available. When you opt for website hosting, rather than having your own physical server (which can be an extremely expensive undertaking), you enter into an agreement with the hosting provider whereby you lease server space from them instead.

Once your service is set up, internet browsers can simply type your website’s name into their browser’s address bar. The website’s name is then translated into a unique number which allows its files to be located and loaded from the server. The whole process can take less than a second. For more information, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z2b4kqt/revision/2#:~:text=Web%20hosting%20allows%20individuals%20or,website%20on%20an%20external%20server.&text=This%20allows%20an%20organisation%20to,JavaScript%20and%20server%20side%20languages.

Different types of hosting

Depending on your budget and the type of website that you want to create, there are a variety of hosting options available. The first distinction is between managed and unmanaged hosting. Managed hosting is the most popular choice. As the name suggests, it includes maintenance of the server, including installing updates and managing security. Unmanaged hosting means that you will have to attend to the infrastructure of your hired server yourself, making it a less suitable option for all but the most technically proficient. Find out more on sites such as visit names.co.uk for web hosting.

There are then a number of choices relating to your lease of server space. This is the point at which your options start to widen. The most budget-friendly option is shared hosting, where your website shares a server with many other websites, sharing its resources such as bandwidth. Shared hosting is frequently available for free, but the volume of other websites sharing resources means that it can be slower for users to load your website as a result. It is a good choice for simple blogs or websites showing information only.

VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is again based on a shared server, but it is limited to a maximum number of sites. Your resources are ring-fenced, meaning that your website will be reliable and secure. It’s slightly more expensive than basic shared hosting but is probably the most popular choice for all but the largest organizations. You can safely include online shopping with this kind of hosting, making it a great option for most businesses.

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