Web hosting. We hear those words a lot, but how many of us actually know what it is? Well if you don’t, then look no further. We’ve cut out the jargon and waved goodbye to all that techy mumbo jumbo as we take a quick look at the basics of web hosting.
Web hosting vs domains
When it comes to web hosting and domains there can be a bit of confusion between the two. We like to break it down like this:
Web hosting: This would be your house, because it’s the space where everything is stored.
Without web hosting there wouldn’t be any websites. It’s the physical location that your website (and everything it entails) sits, and it ensures that your site maintains a sturdy connection to the internet -- without that connection, people are unable to access any of the files on your site (which, in layman’s terms, means you have no website!).
Some examples of web hosting companies include InMotion, 1&1, HostGator, GoDaddy, Wix and Weebly.
Domain: This is the equivalent of your address, because it’s the location your host can be found.
It’s not a physical entity, it’s just the series of characters that make up your site’s unique location. So, the same way you’d enter an address and ZIP code to get to your end destination, you enter your domain name into the search bar to get to your website.
Some of the most popular domain name providers out there are GoDaddy, Hover, Dynadot, Google Domains and Namecheap.
Where should you buy web hosting from?
When it comes to choosing the right web host for you, there are a lot of solid contenders out there. To help you along your way, here are the top five as rated by the experts over at Techradar.
Best overall shared web hosting
Wordpress hosting, business hosting, web design services, and 24/7 US-based support
Runner-up overall shared web hosting
Baremetal servers, free SSL certificate, secure hacker protection, and email marketing
Best ‘cheap’ option on the market
Unmetered bandwidth, unmetered disk space, money back guarantee (45 days) and $150 search credit
Good all-round service
SEO services, free domain, database backup/restore, and unmetered bandwidth
Wordpress’ #1 preferred partner
Unmetered bandwidth, WooCommerce hosting, Free domain, 24/7 US-based support
What does all that terminology mean?
We just threw a bunch of terminology at you -- but since this is a beginner's guide to web hosting, let's go ahead and break it down:
Bare metal servers: The term ‘bare metal’ refers to a hard disk, and so a bare metal server is when a computer system or network’s virtual machine is installed directly on to hardware.
SSL certificate: In its simplest form, an SSL certificate is a public-facing, digital document that tells people a site is secure. It also lets you know that the company that says they own the website you're accessing legitimately owns it.
Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the amount of site content and visitor traffic a server can transfer in a certain amount of time.
Unmetered bandwidth: A hosting plan with unmetered traffic. The price you pay each month does not depend on the amount of traffic (data) sent to and from your server during the month
Unmetered disk space: Disk space is the amount of data you can store on a web server. The amount of disk space you need will vary depending on the size of your site. Similar to unmetered bandwidth, unmetered disk space means you are given an unlimited amount of disk space.
SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the online practice of increasing the amount of traffic you get through to your website via organic search results, like Google. Some hosting companies offer services to help you improve your SEO.
Questions about what any of these terms mean? Leave them below in the comments -- we'll be happy to help clear up any questions you have!
Hue & Tone Creative: Web Design Services
Once you've secured your domain and hosting, let us help you bring your site alive with a great design and intuitive user experience. Get in touch today to see how we can support your website’s set-up.