Like you, millions of people around the world hop onto the Web everyday for different reasons. Some come to search for information, others use the Web to work, and some others simply browser the Web to pass time. Whatever you use the Web for, what you view are pages stored somewhere on a server, technically called a host (or Web server).
The host is the place where a website’s pages are stored. The box that physically houses those pages is called a web server. This server or servers is typically owned and managed by a web hosting company. Unsurprisingly, thousands of Web users have little or no knowledge of how web hosting works or what host definition is because it can take a while before you get the ins and outs of the hosting concept.
However, you can easily understand the concept of web hosting with a simple analogy: think of the classic voicemail on your telephone service (rather than a physical answering machine). Now, your custom message that is played when a call is diverted to voicemail is ‘hosted’ with your telephone service provider. That means that you will not have a physical answering machine at your home or office. A web host works much the same way.
If you want to put up a website, you’ll need a host to store your pages and associated files that make your website viewable on the web.
You can have a dedicated server for your hosting or you can use a cheaper arrangement called shared hosting where multiple websites are stored on a single web server. However, in most cases, shared hosting works fine for most people, unless you have huge privacy reasons or you’re going to run some heavy duty application and you need a lot of server resources.
There are hundreds of web hosting companies out there and the majority range from an affordable $50 to $80 per year.
What Hosting Will Meet Your Requirements?
Since there are hundreds of web hosting providers out there, you need to know exactly what you need in a web host. You need to be able to evaluate the features that a web host offers and choose what best suits your web hosting requirements.
Typical requirements you need to consider for your web hosting include:
- Your budget – Determine how much you can spend on hosting per month.
- Traffic needs – How much unique website visitors are you targeting?
- Technology support – What type of backend technology do you need for your website? For instance, if you want a content management system, you’ll most probably need PHP and MySQL support on your host.
- Technical skills – Are you completely new to web hosting? Can you upload and maintain your website or do you need support?
- Location – You might need your host to be located in a particular country or region in order to maximize speed, SEO, or support, among other things.
If you already have this information, it’s easier to identify a suitable host. If not, try and work each requirement out before you proceed to find a host.