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What is hosting and why is it needed

30 November 2021, Tuesday By Victoria Frolova
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Let's talk about what hosting is, why you need it and what types it can be.

On this page

What is web hosting?

What is hosting used for?

Hosting types

How to choose a hosting?

How much does hosting cost?

Top 5 best hosting providers

Instead of a conclusion

What is web hosting? 

A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that hosts websites for clients, i.e. it offers the facilities required for them to create and maintain a site and makes it accessible on the World Wide Web. Companies providing web hosting services are sometimes called web hosts. 

The two main terms accompanying hosting are server and hosting provider.

Server

In computing, a server is a piece of computer hardware or software (computer program) that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called "clients". This architecture is called the client–server model. Servers can provide various functionalities, often called "services", such as sharing data or resources among multiple clients, or performing computation for a client. A single server can serve multiple clients, and a single client can use multiple servers. A client process may run on the same device or may connect over a network to a server on a different device. Typical servers are database servers, file servers, mail servers, print servers, web servers, game servers, and application servers.

Hosting provider

This is a company that maintains the server and creates specialized software for it so that programmers and webmasters can develop, test and publish their projects on the network. 

The choice of a hosting provider depends on how stable your site or application will work.

What is hosting used for?

All web projects need hosting, as it is impossible to be on the Internet without it. When it comes to offline applications (be it a calculator or a task manager), there is no need for hosting. But as soon as you need access to the Internet (you have a website, not a program) or data synchronization between the cloud and the user's device, you will have to find a reliable platform on the basis of which your product will work.

Related: What Is A Domain Name? Explanation For Beginners

hosting used for

Hosting types

Each program or site requires a certain set of options and a certain amount of resources. Therefore, hosting began to change, transforming into virtual machines and cloud clusters. 

Shared hosting

The most budget-friendly and easy-to-implement hosting. This is not a separate computer to run your product, but the hard disk space of the server where other developers host their services and web resources. 

This approach makes it possible to place dozens or even hundreds of sites on one hardware platform, independent of each other. 

The advantage of such hosting is its low cost. No need to rent a full-fledged computer, no need to pay for complex virtualization technologies. At the same time, it is not particularly limited functionally. Good hosting providers offer a wide range of options and convenient server management systems. 

Shared hosting

Among the disadvantages, it is worth highlighting the low performance, limited functionality and lack of control over some of the server components. The host is responsible for administration. He also decides on what "hardware" the server runs, what OS is used, what technologies and applications are available to webmasters and developers.

This hosting is ideal for small static sites and WordPress-based blogs, but is also used for more complex projects.

VPS

VPS stands for Virutal Private Server. Yes, we are talking about virtual servers again, but this time we are using advanced virtualization technology and an application called a hypervisor. With more complex and expensive software components, VPS makes the server simulation more functional and similar to a real PC.

VPS allows you to create isolated operating systems inside a single Linux device. These isolated units act like complete computers inside a computer. You can even install Windows on such servers and make changes to the BIOS. 

VPS hosting

VPS is suitable for hosting complex dynamic applications, complex databases, large sites and other products that require a lot of resources on the network.

There are various virtualization technologies. The most popular among them are OpenVZ and KVM. The first allows you to quickly change the characteristics of the server without restarting it, but at the same time limits the functionality of the virtual machine and does not allow the use of WIndows. KVM gives more control over the system and isolates the virtual server even from hosting administrators. 

VDS

VPS and VDS are one and the same. The abbreviation stands for Virtual Dedicated Server and means a similar virtual server. But some webmasters share these concepts, considering that VPS are exclusively servers based on OpenVZ technology, and VDS are servers based on KVM, XEN, VMWare and other similar technologies.

VDS hosting

You can think of a VPS as a Linux-based virtual server with flexible hardware, and VDS as its counterpart supporting Windows and other operating systems.

Dedicated server

And this is a real computer. Such hosting does not use virtualization technology, and all hardware components belong to one user. This is the server in its original form. 

The main advantage of dedicated servers is complete independence. You ask the host to provide you with a computer with specific specifications, and you do not need to share hardware with other renters. In this case, you can independently administer it, and then no one else will have access to the "insides" of the PC.

Another advantage of dedicated servers is high performance. The absence of "neighbors" in hosting and additional software layers make it possible to use the power of the rented PC to the maximum. 

This type of hosting is suitable for more complex and resource-intensive applications. In particular, it is often found as a platform for game servers.

Cloud

A cloud cluster is a network of servers, united into a single digital space, on the basis of which applications and websites can be hosted on the Internet. 

One of the main advantages of the cloud is flexible hardware. Server performance can be dynamically changed depending on how many visitors came to your site and how many people are using the application. 

Also, cloud services often offer not hosting in the classical sense, but services. For example, an infrastructure for hosting sites and applications with a prepared database and backend code.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud systems are flexible enough to suit everyone. They can accommodate digital products of any type on favorable terms, with a high level of security and without sacrificing performance. 

Related: How to choose hosting for your landing page

How to choose a hosting?

Let's talk about what to look for when choosing a hosting provider.

choose a hosting

Price

If expensive, then not necessarily good. And vice versa. In the world of hosting providers, budget solutions can perform better than expensive ones. But avoid free servers. Their administrators sell advertisers' user data and rarely vouch for the safety of servers. 

Stability and safety

The higher the uptime, the better. Look for a reputable hosting company that hasn't been massively leaking personal data and hasn't been out of order for a long period of time on a regular basis. 

Performance

If you rent a server, then you need to take hardware components with a margin, so that in case of an unexpected increase in load, you do not find yourself in a situation where you need to urgently increase capacity. 

Convenient control

To manipulate the server, you either need to know well how to work with the command line, or choose a hosting with a convenient control panel. The more options it contains, the better. 

How much does hosting cost?

Hosting cost varies depending on the location of the servers, their hardware characteristics, technologies used, additional functions, etc. 

Shared hosting, even international, cost an average of $3 per month. VPS, being a more functional solution, costs about $10 per month, but there are also budget solutions.

Cloud hosting costs vary depending on server load. Providers calculate cost as you use it. This allows you to save money. 

Some platforms offer hosting sites free of charge, but with a large list of restrictions (they do not issue a domain, do not provide certificates, etc.).

Top 5 best hosting providers

1. Bluehost

Arguably one of the largest website hosting providers in the world, Bluehost powers over two million websites globally.

From WordPress hosting, to managed hosting and WooCommerce, Bluehost has its hypothetical hands in plenty of hosting pots, all while delivering services at a top-quality standard. 

For basic shared hosting, Bluehost cheapest plan goes for $2.75 per month (on a three-year contract), and its WordPress plans start at $2.00 per month, which includes one website and 50GB of SSD storage (although, that’s a discounted introductory rate).

2. Hostinger

Hostinger has the top spot when it comes to cloud and premium shared hosting because of its speed, power and affordability.

For its cloud offering, there are three plans available, Cloud Startup, Cloud Professional, and Cloud Enterprise, all of which offer 300 websites and unlimited bandwidth for your account.

Pricing depends on how long you commit to the service. For the Cloud Startup plan, it costs $29 on a month to month basis. However, if you commit for a year, the monthly cost falls to $12.99 a month. For a two-year contract, it drops to $10.99 a month, and for a four-year contract, it falls to only $9.99 a month.

3. Hostgator

HostGator is best for any business that’s looking for simple websites. HostGator has been around since 2002 and has, over the years, grown to now cater to thousands of customers in the hosting department.

The web hosting provider is the best when it comes to shared hosting services because it is reliable, the price is affordable and the company boasts of 99.9% uptime.

HostGator’s cheapest shared hosting plan is $2.75 per month if you sign up for 36 months. Hostgator's Hatchling plan is usually $2.43 per month, its Baby plan is $2.98 per month, and its business plan is $4.48 per month.

4. Dreamhost

Dreamhost offers standalone email hosting among the range of different packages that this established web hosting services provider offers.

Dreamhost's email hosting offers 25GB of storage by default, with the ability to sync emails between desktop and mobile devices. Additionally, there's an ad-free webmail software platform included.

Pricing is relatively inexpensive, and depends on whether you wish to pay on a monthly basis or commit to annual payments. Monthly plans cost just $1.99 a month, while a yearly commitment reduces this to the equivalent of $1.67 a month.

5. A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting stands out for their great speeds and low prices. At every hosting tier (shared, VPS, dedicated), A2 Hosting beats other hosts on speed. If you’re coming from another shared web host, you’re likely going to see an improvement in loading speed once you migrate to A2.

A2 Hosting also has a 99.9% uptime commitment on all plans so you know you’ll have a reliable host that won’t be down often.

Related: How to buy a domain - a guide to registering a domain name

Instead of a conclusion

Hosting is a must for any online product, and your task is to choose the right platform so that sites or applications work as stable as possible. 

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