There are a myriad of different web hosts to choose from, with varying degrees of prices and services. This is why it is important to get to know the basics of web hosting before picking a provider. Being able to identify the crucial points will help you make an informed decision – and avoid disappointment.
How does web hosting work?
In real life, your house or flat is what you call home – in the virtual realm, this role is delegated to the webspace. Instead of a landlord, you will be dealing with a web host who provides you with a web server for your projects. In short, web hosting stands for the technical provision of content on the internet.
The main prerequisite? A server with a 24/7 connection to the internet. This web server ensures that any websites are accessible at all times, from anywhere in the world. In principle, a website is just a collection of interconnected computer files such as texts, pictures and videos. The web host’s server ensures a high-speed connection between the website and the internet, thus enabling the necessary flow of files.
When it comes to web hosting, we distinguish between four main options:
Shared hosting can be seen as the standard room of web hosting packages – it's the most common choice for smaller and middle-sized online projects. Because a web presence is hosted on a server along with many other web sites, the capacities are split between different users. This leads to lower prices but only negligible risk of a decrease in performance, as trustworthy web hosts make sure that the load is spread out evenly.
If we stick with room comparisons, cloud hosting is considered a definite upgrade. As several servers are used simultaneously, an overloaded server can access the other servers’ capacities when there is a spike in web traffic. This expansion of resources allows consistently smooth functioning, even at peak times.
A virtual private server is equivalent to the junior suite of hosting plans. As with other options, several web masters share a single server – however, the user is granted a definite amount of computing power through a sort of isolation. Because this split into separate parts happens very quickly, there is no sudden loss of performance. It won’t come as a surprise that a higher price and more technical responsibility go hand in hand with the added independence of this option.
When it comes to luxury, a so-called dedicated server is top-notch. As you will be renting your very own server, a single website can be hosted on it. Maximal control and optimal server performance are its perks, a high price an obvious disadvantage. In addition, extensive technical knowledge is necessary.
It's helpful to watch out for these crucial points:
The basics of every hosting plan consist of an own domain, sufficient webspace and corresponding email addresses. Apart from these elementary services, there can be major discrepancies in the packages offered by different providers. The necessary size and specific services of your chosen hosting plan depend mostly on your individual requirements. For instance, it's important to know whether your project (and its success) would benefit from a homepage construction kit or an encryption via an SSL certificate.
Before ordering your hosting plan, it's worth checking several offers in more detail. When it comes to domains, knowing how many domains are included in the package, as well as the maximum you can book at your chosen rate, can be crucial information. Furthermore, don’t forget to inquire about the featured domain extensions. A traffic flat rate, fair prices, competent support and technical reliability are additional details to consider.