I know this might seem simple but so many people get the phrase "Web Hosting" confused with Domain Names that I though it might be good to get this defined from the start!
Web hosting is defined (on Wikipedia) as:
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web.
Essentially this means that the data you use to create your site; code, text, images or files, are all held on web hosting.
This is totally different from your domain name, which is used to point people towards the correct data.
Web hosting generally comes in two flavours:
- Shared - Shared hosting gives you some space on a server to store data. You will not have access to the server itself. You will be given a part of the storage, just like a folder on your computer, where you can store information. Usually represents the best value for money for normal websites.
- Dedicated / Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting - Dedicated hosting or Virtual Private Server hosting is used when you are going to be hosting a lot of sites or your site uses large amounts of data. These services often give you full access to the server your data is hosted on, meaning you can install your own Operating System and have much more advanced control over the way the server is set up. Dedicated or VPS hosting is usually substantially more expensive than shared hosting because of the extra space and control you have over the server itself.
A few things to consider when you consider what hosting service you use:
- Storage space - How much storage space will you get. Most sites are relatively small in size. But larger, more dynamic sites will require more space!
- Bandwidth - How much data can your web hosting send and receive. If you are expecting thousands of visitors a day you will need lots of bandwidth! If only a select group of people are going to be accessing your site, you're not going to need to much.
- FTP - Does your host provide FTP access. FTP gives you control over the files you have stored on your web hosting. I would recommend you always have FTP access to your hosting as solving any issues you encounter can often require you to grab some files from your host. FTP is the easiest way of doing this!
- Databases - Do you get some database allowance included with your hosting? If you are using a Content Management System to build your site then you are going to need an SQL database. Make sure your host supports this!
I could go on and on about this issue but I want you guys to ask the question!
Are you confused about how much bandwidth you need? Who is the best web host? There are so many questions to ask, so use the forum!