Web hosting can be defined as the service which allows a website to be seen on the internet. A web hosting provider usually has access to servers which house the website and make it accessible over the World Wide Web. While its specifics are rather complicated, understanding how the process works is possible without diving too deep into the details.
A web host offers space on special computers called servers. They may own these servers in places called data centers, or they may rent out the servers from a bigger web host, and then resell the space to the end customer. This is usually the case for small hosting companies that are not able to set up or maintain a data center (it’s usually expensive to do so.)
A web host usually assigns each website a unique number which is used for identifying the specific website. However, for the sake of practicality, this number usually referred to as an IP (internet protocol) address is not used by the end-user of the website, because it is somewhat complex to learn. A name is used because it is both easier to learn and remember. This domain name, as it is so called, has to be registered so that it is unique for any particular website. Ownership of the domain has to be renewed frequently, especially after a period of one year.
When looking for a web hosting service, it helps to understand the needs of that website. This will help in making the most practical decision when it comes to selecting the right type of host. Basically, one can get full featured hosting, where the website gets its own server, or it can be shared hosting, where one server is shared among several websites. It can also be free in which case the website owner doesn’t have to pay anything to have their website online. Dedicated hosting is ideal for those complex sites, which have some commercial importance. Usually, these offer a lot of support for applications and other platforms, and also offer security with SSL certificates.
The most significant considerations one needs to make while choosing a web host include the kind of server that may require, the amount of disk space, the bandwidth and support for applications. The more complex the web hosting package, the greater the number of features that one gets access to. For personal websites, free hosting is the best, as it demands no financial investment from the owner. Business websites benefit from paid hosting, since these websites have heightened security needs, and desire a greater support for application development. Different web hosting services are priced differently. The more one gets (in terms of space, support, bandwidth and so on) the more they have to pay for it.
Suffice it to say, that the success of a website is heavily dependent on the kind of web hosting service that is selected. It’s the reason why understanding web hosting, even at a basic level, is encouraged.