Glossary

What is Web Hosting? Web Hosting Explained for Beginners

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is an online service that enables you to publish your website or web application on the internet. When you sign up for a hosting service, you basically rent some space on a server on which you can store all the files and data necessary for your website to work properly.

A server is a physical computer that runs without any interruption so that your website is available all the time for anyone who wants to see it. Your web host is responsible for keeping the server up and running, protecting it from malicious attacks, and transferring your content (text, images, files) from the server to your visitors’ browsers.

How Web Hosting Works?

Web hosting explained with house analogy

When you decide to start a new website, you need to find a hosting company who provides you with the server space. Your web host stores all your files, assets, and databases on the server. Whenever someone types your domain name into the address bar of their browser, your host transfers all the files necessary to serve the request.

You need to choose a hosting plan that best fits your needs and purchase it. In fact, web hosting works similarly to housing rentals, you have to pay the rent regularly in order to keep the server running continuously.

To reduce risks, each Hostinger plan comes with a 30-day money back guarantee so that you can see if our service really fits your needs. Moreover, you can start with our budget-friendly survival plan we designed specifically for smaller projects. When your website grows and you need more server space, you can move on to one of our more advanced plans without any wait.

In fact, you don’t even need any programming knowledge to perform regular site management tasks. Hosting accounts come with a graphical user interface where you can manage every aspect of your website. For instance, you can upload HTML and other files to the server, install content management systems such as WordPress, access your database, and create backups for your site.

Although the cPanel hosting platform used by most web hosts is a powerful tool, it can be intimidating for non-technical users who just want to get a site up and running quickly. Therefore, our team decided to build a custom control panel for our users. We can proudly say that Hostinger’s control panel has a beautiful and intuitive user interface you will understand at once—even if it’s your first time with web hosting. Our customers already love it, as it helps them manage all aspects of their hosting account with confidence and ease.

Besides providing a server space for your website, hosting providers may also offer other services related to website management, such as:

  • SSL certificates (for secure sites using the https:// protocol)
  • Email hosting
  • Page builders
  • Developer tools
  • Customer support service (frequently with live chat)
  • Automated website backups
  • One-click software installs (e.g. for WordPress or Drupal)

Different Types of Web Hosting

Most web hosts offer different types of hosting so that they can serve the needs of different clients. The most frequent hosting types are the following:

  • Shared Hosting
  • VPS Hosting
  • Cloud Hosting
  • WordPress Hosting
  • Dedicated Server Hosting

The bigger your website is, the more server space you need. It’s the best to start small, with a shared hosting plan and when your site gets bigger, upgrade to a more advanced type of hosting.

Web hosts usually offer more than one hosting plans for each type of hosting. For instance here at Hostinger, our shared hosting service comes with three different hosting plans.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting evaluation

Shared hosting is the most common type of web hosting and it’s an excellent solution for most small businesses and blogs. When you hear the word “web hosting”, the speaker usually refers to shared hosting. With shared hosting, you share a server with other clients of your hosting provider. Websites hosted on the same server share all its resources such as memory, computing power, disk space, and others.

Pros:

  • Low cost
  • Beginner-friendly (no need for specific technical knowledge)
  • Pre-configured server
  • User-friendly control panel
  • Maintenance and server administration are done care by the host

Cons:

  • Little or no control over server configuration
  • Traffic surges on other websites can slow down your site

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting evaluation

With VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, you still share a server with other users, however, your web host allocates a separate partition for you on the server. This means you get a dedicated server space and a reserved amount of computing power and memory. In fact, VPS hosting can be great for medium-sized businesses with rapidly growing websites.

Pros:

  • Dedicated server space (without having to pay for a dedicated server)
  • Traffic surges on other websites have no effect on your performance
  • Root access to the server
  • Easy scalability
  • High customizability

Cons:

  • More expensive than shared hosting
  • Technical and server management knowledge is a must

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting evaluation

Cloud hosting is currently the most reliable solution on the market, as it comes with literally no downtime. With cloud hosting, your host provides you with a cluster of servers. Your files and resources are replicated on each server. When one of the cloud servers is busy or has any problems, your traffic is automatically routed to another server in the cluster.

Pros:

  • Little to no downtime
  • Server failures have no effect on your site
  • Allocates resources on demand
  • Pay as you go pricing (you only pay for what you use)
  • More scalable than a VPS

Cons:

  • Hard to estimate the costs
  • Root access is not always provided

WordPress Hosting

WordPress hosting evaluation

WordPress hosting is a certain form of shared hosting, created for WordPress site owners. Your server is configured specifically for WordPress and your site comes with pre-installed plugins for crucial things like caching and security. Due to the highly optimized configuration, your site loads much faster and runs with fewer problems. WordPress hosting plans frequently include extra WordPress-related features, such as pre-designed WordPress themes, drag-and-drop page builders, and specific developer tools.

Pros:

  • Low cost (frequently available at the same cost as regular shared hosting)
  • Beginner-friendly
  • One-click WordPress installation
  • Good performance for WordPress sites
  • Customer support team trained in WordPress issues
  • Pre-installed WordPress plugins and themes

Cons:

  • Recommended only for WordPress sites (this can be an issue if you want to host more than one websites on your server and not all of them use WordPress)

Dedicated Hosting

dedicated server hosting evaluation

Dedicated hosting means that you have your own physical server that’s dedicated solely to your site. Therefore, dedicated hosting gives you incredible flexibility. You can configure your server as you wish, choose the operating system and software you want to use, and set up the whole hosting environment according to your own needs.

In fact, renting a dedicated server is just as powerful as owning your own on-site server, but comes with the professional support of your web host.

Pros:

  • Full control over server configuration
  • High reliability (you don’t share the resources of your server with anyone)
  • Root access to your server
  • High security

Cons:

  • High cost
  • Technical and server management knowledge is a must

Difference Between Web Hosting and Domain Names

Besides signing up for a web hosting service, you also need to purchase a domain. What’s the difference? While web hosting allows you to rent a server space for your site, the domain is the address of your site—for instance, our domain name is hostinger.com. When your users want to check out your site, they type the domain name into their browser’s address bar and your server transfers the content they requested for.

With most web hosts, you need to purchase your domain name separately. Or, if you already own a domain you can also transfer it to your current hosting provider. Similarly to hosting plans, you need to pay for your domain name annually in order to keep the ownership of the domain.

So, What Is Web Hosting?

Overall, web hosting is the service you need if you want to publish a website and build an online presence. In fact, having a website gives you incredible advantages by enabling you to easily reach millions of users worldwide.

A good web host empowers you to seamlessly serve your content on the internet, provide your visitors with an excellent user experience, and attract as many users as possible to your website.

Now, you know everything about web hosting and are ready to get started with a new website!

About the author

Gediminas B.

Gediminas is a passionate content writer and SEO geek at Hostinger. He started his journey at customer support and aims to use his gathered knowledge to create the most epic content the world has ever seen. From WordPress to server management, there's no topic he can't cover! He also likes cats.

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