The World Wide Web has totally transformed the way in which we communicate across the globe. It has heralded an era in which information (all kinds) is just a fingertip away. The internet has transformed how we access news and educational material, and how we socialize and trade. The total number of websites that are live in the world keep increasing every single day and the latest statistics put the total number at 1 billion websites and counting. Therefore, it is incumbent on you to totally understand all the technology behind the internet and the websites which power it.
Websites need a home for all their content and that home is what is referred to as hosting. Formally, a web hosting service is the type of service which allows individuals or organizations to make their websites accessible through the global internet. This is achieved by web hosts which are essentially digital companies that offer space on a server that is either owned wholly or leased for use by clients. They also provide internet connectivity apart from the data center services which they provide.
Quickly, let us explore the key terms that relate to web hosting and their respective meanings:
- Free Hosting – This is usually the easiest and most common way to get your website up and running within a short period of time. In this case, your website is hosted as a sub-website of a larger website such as a free blog on Blogger or WordPress.
- Self-Hosting – In this case, you opt to create a server environment on your local machine and use it as a server. This also falls within the realm of free hosting as it is dependent on the computing resources that you are willing to throw at it and your willingness to learn the ins and outs of the trade.
- Shared Hosting – This is quite often the first level of paid hosting that there is out there in the market. In this case, you share hosting space with thousands upon thousands of other websites from a professional web host. In this model, you get to pay according to the space that you want to use. Therefore, it is only as expensive as you make it out to be.
- Virtual Private Hosting– A Virtual Private Server, VPS, is a single virtual machine which runs its own copy of an operating system and the user, that is you, has super user-level access to the operating system instance. This means that you can install any software that you need on this server.
- Dedicated Servers – This paid service is much akin to the VPS but the crucial difference is that a dedicated server is a single physical system which you rent from a data server service provider. The advantages of this model are that you have great leeway on what you can do with it. It is the fastest form of hosting available and you can have an almost unlimited number of domains hosted.