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What is Hosting? Why Is It so Important, and How Does it Work?

What is Hosting? Why Is It so Important, and How Does it Work?


If you have decided to start your adventure on the web, in addition to taking care of the creation of the site, there is another thing that you absolutely must know; it is called Hosting (or Web Hosting).


In today's tutorial, I will walk you through this new world and teach you many notions. Among the most important, I will explain what is Hosting, why it is so important and how does it work. 


I will also show you the various types of web hosting on the market and the main differences. Finally, we will also look at how CMS has influenced this sector and the cost of hosting a site.


I know, there are so many notions! But trust me, you will need them. 


Understanding what hosting is and knowing how a server works will help you better understand your project. This will allow you to identify any problems more efficiently and allow you (I hope so) to find a good hosting provider.


As a result, you have a fast and secure website, allowing you to focus with confidence on your project and increase your business.


But let's get back to us and start our tutorial with a simple example.


To make a tree, you need the seed: this verse from a well-known children's song is perfect for explaining the importance of hosting. Without hosting, the Internet would be an empty and lonely place, within which websites would constantly go up and down the network, turning off and on like a switch. 


In other words, we would not have the network as we know it today. So let's now see the technical explanation.


What is Hosting?


What is Hosting? Why Is It so Important, and How Does it Work?


Hosting is a service generally offered by a specialized company that provides you with a physical server to store your website's data (files, images, databases, etc.), making it accessible through the Internet. 


It is as if the hosting were your site's home, inside which you host all the contents of the site. Thanks to the hosting service, you can create your website developed in various programming languages ​​(e.g. HTML, PHP, etc.) or via WordPress. As a result, your site will be online day and night and always reachable by users.


There are also different types of Hosting that differ depending on the type of service offered ( Shared Hosting, Cloud Hosting, VPS, Dedicated Servers ), the operating system used ( hosting Linux or Windows ) and the price.


When you decide to buy Hosting, you have to buy a part of the space on a server offered by a company.


The companies that offer hosting spaces and services usually are called " Web Hosting" or " Hosting Provider ". This is because they provide both the hardware and the software necessary to operate both free and paid services.


These companies provide " Servers " (real computers that will be used to process requests and store the physical data of the sites) for the purchase and subsequent use by companies or individuals who want to create a site web. 


Thanks to Web Hosting, it is usually possible to have various resources, among the most common:


  1. a webspace (where to upload site files)
  2. a content database (usually MySQL)
  3. compatibility with programming languages, PHP, Perl, Python, ASP .NET, etc.
  4. many other features that may vary depending on the company and the service offered

Hosting services are usually used for websites but can also be used for other purposes, such as hosting files, images, games and similar content.


Web Hosting in Simple Words with Example


To better understand the meaning of Hosting, think of a building with many corridors full of massive computers, then imagine that each of those computers (also called servers) is perpetually connected to the Internet. Finally, consider that each of these servers hosts thousands of folders: each folder represents a website and hosts all its pages and files.


Furthermore, in addition to providing a specific hosting package, many hosting companies also allow the registration of domains. This, however, should not lead you to believe that it is the same thing!


Now, is it more evident to you what hosting is and what it means?


What is Hosting for and Why Is It so Important?


Are you wondering what hosting is for and its purpose and need?


If you've been careful (after I explained what hosting is ), you should have already figured it out! 


The hosting service is used to put online a website or any other element that needs to be connected day and night, such as a cloud server or an email server.


When Do You Need to Buy Web Hosting?


Even if it is impossible to list all the possible reasons, let's give some quick examples. You need hosting if:


  1. Do you want to create a website
  2. You want to create a site with WordPress
  3. You want to create a photography site
  4. You want to create a forum
  5. You want to create a company website
  6. You want to create a video site, like Youtube
  7. You want to create an online gaming site
  8. …I must continue?

Seriously, from these simple examples, you may have guessed how much potential a hosting service has. Listing them all in a single article or list is virtually impossible; in fact, the host serves to make possible the operation of any service and website found on the Internet. 


Without hosting, no site could exist-From the simplest WordPress blog to social networks like Facebook to sales sites like Amazon.


Therefore, the purpose of the host is to provide physical and IT support capable of guaranteeing your stay on the Internet, allowing interested users to access it at any time and from any place. 


As we said in the introduction, hosting is the seed that allows your tree to grow and plant roots in the network. And it is an indispensable element, without which the Internet would not even exist.


Make Money Online With Your Blog: 9 Tips [Beginners Guide] - New!


What are Hosting and Domain? What's the Difference?


What is Hosting? Why Is It so Important, and How Does it Work?



Now that you understand what hosting is and what it means, we can get to the heart of the tutorial. But first, I want to clarify an aspect that often generates a bit of confusion on the web, the difference between hosting and internet domain (or web domain).


In many cases, you will read articles about hosting and domain, and you will often find promotions related to their purchase.


To avoid misunderstandings, it is good to point out that hosting and domain are different.


What is the Difference Between Domains and Hosting?


I'll explain it to you right away:

  • As I explained to you initially, Hosting is a website's home. It is the service that allows your site and all the web pages that make it up to be visible on the Internet. There are many hosting providers such as InMotion Hosting, GoDaddy, Hostinger, Cloudways, HostGator, Hostwinds and Bluehost.

  • On the other hand, the domain is a unique address through which a website on the network is called up. The domain of this site is none other than "angelsinsights.com ". Domains are purchased from companies accredited for the registration of domains, also called Registrar, which in many cases can also be the same companies where the hosting service is purchased.


So be careful not to get confused. Hosting and domain are connected (as they are two fundamental elements to create a website), but they are not the same thing, and if you want, you are not obliged to buy them from the same provider.


Types of Hosting


Now that you know what hosting is, I want to explain to you the most common types of hosting.


When we talk about hosting, we are not referring exclusively to a single and precise solution. 


There are different types of services. However, the main subdivision is as follows:


  1. Shared Hosting


Shared Hosting is the most common type of hosting for those who want to launch their first website. With this solution, the site is hosted on a space shared with other websites (other customers), with whom it therefore also shares the IP address. 


Shared hosting is suitable for sites/blogs with not very high traffic. It is absolutely the cheapest hosting solution. It is considered the most suitable if you have a site whose traffic does not exceed 100,000 visits per month.


  1. Semi-Dedicated Hosting


A semi-dedicated hosting service is essentially identical to a shared plan but has more resources and a quantity of dedicated RAM. 


This type is particularly suitable for high traffic websites but to be managed with the same simplicity of shared hosting plans.


  1. Virtual Server (VPS or Virtual Private Server)

This type of service or VPS represents a more complex solution from a technical point of view but is very advantageous in terms of costs and performance. 


The reason is straightforward: it uses a virtual environment made available to the customer. Although, in practice, an independent system is created through a virtualization system in a server, each user has their system detached from the others. 


In this way, you will have a virtual server in an isolated environment available only for your site but with the economic convenience typical of a common web hosting plan.


  1. Dedicated Hosting


When you need to find a solution to manage a very high traffic site, the best option is to buy a machine (server) just (dedicated) for you. In this case, it is referred to as a Dedicated Server since the customer buys a server that will be exclusively available to his site. 


It will not be shared with anyone. This type of service is the most expensive compared to the others.


How Does Hosting Work?


Now that you understand what hosting is and what it is used for, I want to explain roughly how web hosting works.


First of all, Web Hosting provides various packages on the servers. Each includes a series of features and resources (such as web space, monthly traffic, sub-domains, MySQL database, RAM, email boxes, SSL certificates). The website exists and is visible on the Internet.


Every time you type a website address in the search bar of your navigation browser (Chrome, Microsoft Edge, etc.), a request is made to a web server that hosts all the elements of the site you are looking for. Then this sends you all the information relating to the content on the site. 


The browser translates all information received from the server, eventually showing the site when requested.


In Summary, we can say that:


  1. The Hosting Provider makes its servers available, connected on the Internet 24 hours a day.

  2. These computers contain different packages or spaces that various customers purchase to host their sites and make them visible on the Internet.

  3. The user purchases a package and uploads all the files that make up the site to the server.

  4. The website is placed and becomes visible on the Internet by users.


Here is an outline of how web hosting works. Is it clearer to you now?


Also, remember that when you buy a package for service management, you will have a series of software available to manage the entire package.


Therefore, you will be provided with a control panel, a central panel from which you can manage all the features of the hosting plan you have purchased. Panels will allow you to install WordPress easily or other CMS, create email accounts or MySQL databases, and much more through a simple graphic interface.


 Among the most famous and used control panels are cPanel, Plesk and Direct Admin. cPanel is probably the most popular solution for webmasters.


However, not all Hosting Providers use these control panels; some such as Kinsta and WPX Hosting use their solutions, or instead “ homemade ” panels, to manage all the functions included in the service.


Hosting and CMS: A Winning Combination


What is Hosting? Why Is It so Important, and How Does it Work?


What is a CMS Hosting?


Given the explosion, in recent years, of applications used for the development of websites, or CMS ( Content Management System ), such as WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, it is good to mention the relationship between Hosting and CMS.


What Does CMS Have to Do With Web Hosting?


They have something to do with it! The overwhelming success of CMS such as WordPress, PrestaShop, Magento has also greatly influenced this sector and has led numerous Hosting Providers to create specific plans optimized for CMS.


This is precisely the case of Hosting for WordPress, a service offered by many companies that has led some hosts to specialize and offer only this type of service.


If you're wondering how regular hosting differs from optimized WordPress hosting, I'll get back to you immediately.


A service optimized for WordPress will offer you greater efficiency, performance and resources. In addition, you will have the opportunity to purchase packages that have been studied at the table and already optimized for WordPress precisely to ensure superior performance. 


Furthermore, you can request assistance from technical support that knows WordPress and knows what you are talking about for any problem.


As you can see, the success of CMS has also influenced the world of Hosting, allowing you to choose a service created specifically for you, which can be closer to your needs and accompany you more closely on your web journey.


I gave you the WordPress example because it is currently the most used CMS ever, considering that almost 1 site out of 3 on the net is made with this CMS. But there are also many other successful CMSs, and as for the well-known blogging platform. Therefore, you will find optimized Hosting packages for Joomla, Hosting for PrestaShop, etc.


Free or Paid Hosting: What to Choose


Earlier, I explained the main subdivision of hosting based on the type of service offered, but you must know that another factor that differentiates them is the cost.


Hence the Difference Between Free and Paid Hosting.


  1. Free Hosting


Some companies offer free hosting as an elementary service, usually to advertise their name/brand and in anticipation of switching to paid ones.


In principle, it is a straightforward service that includes a few but essential options, such as:

  • One or more mailboxes

  • Certain webspace and a quantity of bandwidth

  • Obligation (very frequent) to insert advertising banners


Disadvantages:

  • Obligation to use a 2nd level domain name (with the name of the Provider where the site is hosted)

  • The non-guarantee of the service (with the risk therefore that the "host" sites may not be active for a certain period of time);

  • Performance is not excellent and not very customizable.

  • Shared bandwidth with numerous users


  1. Paid Hosting


Unlike free hosting, paid services allow an extensive choice; there is a large range of offers on the market for any service and depending on your budget.

In general, a standard hosting service includes the following services:

  • Determined amount of web space and bandwidth

  • Support for one or more languages ​​(PHP, python, asp, etc.)

  • Possibility of choosing the operating system (Linux, Windows, and various versions)

  • Database support (MySQL, MariaDB, etc.)

  • Technical assistance and support 24 hours a day

  • Statistics and analysis service (Awstats, Webalizer, etc.)


Disadvantages:

  • It is not free


It is clear that, like all free things, free hosting also has its limits. Therefore, I recommend that you take advantage of this solution only to experiment or possibly create amateur sites, which is not crucial for your project.


On the other hand, if you have to create a blog that you particularly care about, a showcase site for your profession, do not waste any time and choose paid hosting.


Are all Hostings the Same?


No, not all hosting providers are the same.


After explaining what hosting is and how it works, it is good to clarify this topic.

There are hundreds of web hosting companies, and it is clear that each of them offers a specific service at a cost that may be good or not good depending on the case. 


Given that it is complicated to explain the differences between Providers in a few lines, I can tell you that among the most important and decisive factors in choosing one of them (and possibly in the exchange), there is almost always the price, technical assistance and performance.


  1. Hosting Prices


Price is one of the main factors that differentiate Hosting and is obviously linked to the quality of the service offered. 


If you are looking for cheap services because you have a low budget and don't want to spend a lot of money, you will have the possibility to choose a less expensive solution, but you cannot expect to have all the best features or that your site is super fast.


The list of available companies will expand by increasing the budget and increasing the price. You will start to find more powerful and resourceful packages, which will allow your site to have better performance and possibly higher uptime.


  1. Technical Assistance

Another very important factor in the hosting/customer relationship is technical support.


After purchasing any plan, sooner or later, you will indeed have to call for assistance. You want it because it already has a site and you don't know how to transfer it to the new Provider, because the site has become slow and you can't understand the causes, or because you are having other problems and you need advice from an expert.


The quality and timing of the answers provided to you will be fundamental. A quick response, exhaustive and precise 15 minutes after your request, will leave you very satisfied and happy.


It will be the guarantee of knowing that you have someone on the other side available and competent, who, in case of need, can help you at any time.


On the other hand, a slow response after many hours, rather generic and not very decisive, certainly will not make you jump for joy. It will not help you solve the problem and will increase your frustration.


The quality and speed of the technical assistance of a Hosting Provider are fundamental.


  1. Site Security and Performance


The security and speed of the site is the third factor that differentiates many Providers but not least in importance. 


Would you like your site to load at lightning speed in less than 1 second?


I think so, who wouldn't like it! Unfortunately, however, not all Web Hosting adopt the same security systems at the hardware and software levels.


There are companies that are less "attentive" to security and others that are much more scrupulous, ready to detect any attempt to intrude or attack your site. Providers that include daily and automatic backups in each package are available for any eventuality.


The same goes for performance. Again, your site will not have the same performance on all Hosting Providers; it will be faster on some less on others.

This can generally depend on how many resources are allocated to the plan you have purchased, how much the servers are “loaded” with sites and what technologies are used. 


If you want a fast site, make sure that the hosting service you are about to buy has these features:

  • SSD disks (latest generation hard disks)

  • PHP 7.x (latest version faster than 5.x)

  • LiteSpeed ​​(very performing web server)

  • CDN

  • SSL and HTTP / 2 certificate


These are five essential features if you want a performing and responsive website without further detail. If you've spotted a package that has them, you're already well underway!


How to Choose Hosting?


How you choose a hosting service for your site is a fundamental step for your journey on the web. However, it can depend on numerous factors and on a series of accurate assessments that must be made. 


The massive presence of Web Hosting complicates the choice not a little for those who are simply looking for a place to host their site and sleep peaceful dreams quietly.


It must also be said that there is no absolute best hosting; it would be almost impossible to decree a winner. The critical thing is to find the best service for you, that is, for your site and suitable for your needs.


You can therefore understand that the choice becomes a very subjective thing.


Since solutions for any type of project and any price range are now available on the market, it is clear that the goal is to find the best solution that can make the website perform at its best.


Where to Start From?


The first thing I recommend you do is to identify the type of site that will have to be hosted and then understand which hosting plan you need. After that, decide on the budget you are willing to spend.


For example, suppose you intend to create a blog with WordPress. In that case, you should focus on an optimized hosting solution for WordPress in order to have a service created ad hoc for this platform, with tools and optimizations to make the CMS better. 


Choosing hosting is not easy. It's a bit like a lottery, and sometimes it will also be a matter of luck. However, it is essential to be fully aware of what your web project should be, once identified, it will become easier to identify the right option.


For any problem and/or doubt regarding the choice, leave a comment or contact us by email. We will try to help you choose the service that best suits your needs.


How Much Does Hosting Cost?


Are you wondering how much hosting costs for a site?


Price is probably one of the most determining factors considered when making your choice. However, given that it is impossible to answer this question exactly given the numerous types of existing services, let's say that the cost of a shared hosting usually starts from a minimum of 20/40 $ per year. It can be up to thousands of dollars based on the quality and type of services requested (dedicated servers, etc.).


A VPS Hosting instead usually has a monthly cost of at least 15/30 $; the price can rise further depending on the selected resources (CPU, RAM, webspace) and the choice between managed (more expensive) and unmanaged (cheaper) service.


To conclude, dedicated servers have an even higher cost. A good server with the latest generation processor and solid-state drives (SSD) costs at least $ 70/100 per month


As I explained to you above about the types of hosting, we were talking about an extreme solution, the most powerful in this sector. Therefore, we recommend those with a website with high traffic and consumption of resources.


FAQ Frequently Asked Questions


What is Meant by a Host in IT?

Host is nothing more than the abbreviation for " Hosting ". In the IT field, it indicates a service that allows you to allocate web pages of a website (or any other CMS) on a server, thus making it accessible to users from the Internet. 


What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting and Hosting are the same things, it is just another term to call it, but there is no difference.


What is a Hosting Provider's data centre?


The data centre, also called server farm, is the centre where all the servers and various equipment that allow you to manage the communications and services of the business are housed.


If you have an English site and your target is the U.S (i.e. the user you are addressing), it is preferable to choose a provider with a data centre in your country or at most in America. The closer the data centre is, the better.


What is the Difference Between Linux and Windows hosting?

Hosting plans vary based on the operating system installed on the server. Hence the difference between Linux and Windows Hosting.


Linux is recommended for dynamic websites, developed with applications such as WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, Magento, etc. In addition, there is no additional licensing cost seeing that Linux distributions are open source.


The Windows Hosting is based on the Microsoft operating system and a series of proprietary software and databases such as Microsoft SQL. Not recommended for dynamic websites, such as WordPress. The price goes up as Microsoft applications have a higher cost and are not free.


How to Upload Site Files to the Server?


To upload your site files to the webserver and put it online, you can use any FTP program. One of the most used, simple, and completely free is FileZilla. In all cases, any program that uses FTP for file transfer is fine.


What is Uptime?


Uptime is a significant value in hosting, and you will often find it highlighted in the official sites of the Providers and the various plans for sale. 


Uptime defines the time (usually expressed as a percentage, e.g. 99.9%) in which a server or computing device has been up and running regularly.


To be clear, an uptime of 99.9% corresponds to an inactivity of 9 hours in a year, equal to approximately 43 minutes per month. Therefore, the downtime of a server is called " Downtime ". 


An uptime of 99.99% corresponds to approximately 52 minutes of inactivity per year, or 4 minutes per month.


It goes without saying that the higher the uptime of web hosting, the better. Therefore, you will usually find values ​​between 99.95% and 99.99%.


What are Different Types of Hosting services? 


Exactly. As I explained to you before, there are various types of Hosting. However, the main subdivision is in Shared Hosting (Shared), Semi-Dedicated, Virtual Servers (VPS) and Dedicated (Dedicated Servers).


What is DNS Management for?


When we talk about DNS management services, we refer to the registration of an internet domain. Specifically, the DNS management allows you to change the DNS records of the domain, specifying the ones you want to use in a control panel made available by the Registrar.


This service is beneficial when you buy a domain and hosting separately, i.e. on two different sites. In fact, thanks to DNS management, it is possible to change the domain name servers to point them to the hosting service servers.


What is a WordPress Hosting Service?


It is an optimized service for WordPress. As I explained above when I told you about the winning combination between Hosting and CMS, for some time now, several companies have created ad hoc solutions for WordPress, that is, proposing optimized plans with tools to make the service safer and efficient.


Conclusion: What is Hosting? Why Is It so Important, and How Does it Work? 


That's all, in today's tutorial we have seen a lot of topics.


We started with what Hosting is, Why it is so important and how it works, the difference between hosting and domain, the various existing types, the relationship between Hosting and CMS, how much it costs and much more.


You will probably feel slightly confused by now, given the many notions you have learned today. But fear not; in the end, they are not as complicated as they may seem. 


Everything is about to start, and get some experience!


If you have decided to start a blog or any other type of site, it is good that you know these topics also because hosting will be a fundamental step that will also affect your business. 


Choosing a good, reliable and fast service will be like choosing a house in a safe country, not very chaotic and with a sea view. Did I get the idea?


Now, is it clearer to you what hosting is and what it means?


Do you already have any idea which host to choose for your site?



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