Just how Web Hosting Works

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Web hosting is crucial for just about any website—but it’s also very misunderstood.

After i first got started creating web sites, I thought I could just pick any web host and get began. In fact , I thought the most important things about my website were the logo and what type of typeface I should use.

Big mistake.

I ended up choosing a hosting company that was not only slow but was riddled with security issues that compromised my website and its site visitors.

Thankfully, I learned quickly through my mistakes and moved my website to a different sponsor. But , that just supposed even more headaches and grey hairs that could have been avoided if I just learned the basic principles of web hosting right off the bat.

That’s what inspired me to write this informative article for you.

I want to walk you through exactly what web hosting is, exactly how it works, and the features you should continue an eye out for when choosing a host for your website.

Knowing these things at this point will save you a lot of time and cash down the line. Once you nail the fundamentals, you can move on the more advanced stuff-—and make more money and bring in more visitors as a result.

What is a web host?

Web hosting companies are the servers where a internet site “lives. ” These machines are incredibly powerful bits of physical hardware that homes all of the data and details related to those websites.

Here’s a picture of servers mounted on shelves:

Every single asset of a website—from the way it looks to the content like blog posts, movies, and images—are stored upon these servers. Visitors and website managers alike accessibility the content via the web host.

These servers are usually located in data centers all across the world. These data facilities house hundreds of servers and are also owned by web hosting companies such as Bluehost or GoDaddy.

However , there are many companies and organizations around that own their own private servers. These are typically located, on-premise servers that can be used in order to host websites. These are uncommon though.

The 4 most common types of web hosting (and how they work)

The great thing about internet hosts is that there are plenty of different types of them out there.

That means no matter your website’s needs and specifications, there’s likely going to become a web hosting provider that fulfills your needs.

The key is, of course , knowing each kind and what they offer.

That’s why I want to walk you through the 4 most common types of web hosting at this time. They are:

  1. Shared
  2. VPS
  3. Dedicated
  4. Cloud

It’s helpful to consider these web hosts as an apartment or house. Depending on your budget and what you want out of your day-to-day life, you’re likely to get a different type of home from others.

Shared web hosting

Shared hosting is the most basic type of web hosting. As such, it’s common for beginners and new bloggers to make use of this type.

If you’ve ever created a site before, you’ve likely utilized this method.

The way it works is simple: Your website is going to be hosted on a server that is shared with several other websites. This means all the resources of that server is divided amongst all of the websites on that server.

This includes its downsides and upsides. The downside is that if one of another website experiences a surge in traffic, your website may suffer for it by seeing your speed and launching time go down.

However , since it is shared, you’re going to be saving a lot of money on this hosting type.

Think of this as renting an apartment with a bunch of other roommates. You have your own bedroom, but you have to split resources such as water, electricity, gas, the living room, and the kitchen with the other roommates.

Who is Shared Hosting for?

Shared hosting is a great strategy to beginners or if you have an inferior website. That’s because it’s cheaper than a dedicated host, and you don’t need a lots of technical skills to get started and maintain it running smoothly.

If you operate a smaller personal blog along with less than 25, 000 monthly visitors, shared web hosting is for a person.

Digital private server (VPS)

A virtual private server (VPS) is a step beyond shared hosting. In fact , it’s pretty common for websites to move from shared in order to VPS hosting as their web site gets more traffic.

The way it works is comparable to shared hosting. Your website shares just one server with other websites. However , the number of websites you’ll end up being splitting the server with is much, much lower.

Also the machine itself is split up into “virtual” servers where each website lives that basically act like it’s own type of dedicated server. That means your website will have more resources to get ostensibly bigger traffic.

You also get optional basic access with VPS web hosting. That allows you to run customized configurations on the server.

You should be prepared to see better website overall performance from VPS hosting because you won’t be sharing resources. That means higher uptime rates and faster loading periods. If another site over the server has issues, a person shouldn’t have to worry about your website a crash.

Think of it as hiring your own apartment instead of splitting one with roommates. Together with your bedroom, you’ll also have your own kitchen and bathroom. No more do you have to share resources along with other people. You know exactly where your space is and can decorate it and furnish it to your heart’s content.

Who is VPS Hosting for?

VPS hosting is good for medium-sized businesses and startups trying to scale their website.

Also, should you be a tech head and have some tech proficient individuals on your team and want to customize your site more, VPS web hosting is a great route to go.

If you expect to see your traffic jump into the 50, 000-100, 000 month-to-month visitors range, it’s time for you to switch to VPS.

Dedicated web hosting

Dedicated web hosting is usually arguably the most ideal web hosting type. That’s because it gives you a whole dedicated server for your internet site and your website alone.

That’s right. Instead of sharing resources to websites and hoping not one of them experiences a spike within traffic that crashes your site, you have your very own server in order to customize and utilize.

This gives your website the opportunity to run at top performance much more often compared to sharing a server. Which means incredibly high uptime rates and consistently fast loading speeds.

There’s a few caveats of course. For one, devoted hosting is quite expensive. You’re getting your own server for your website to live on in the end.

It also takes a lot more upkeep than a shared server. You’ll become on the hook for from installing updates to examining for glitches, errors, plus bugs.

Think of it like buying a house. With a shared server you had to go to an apartment building that you shared with other renters, dedicated servers gave you an entire building. That means a lot more resources, and space to customize to your liking.

However , it also means coming with the responsibilities of a homeowner. If there’s the leak in your roof or even your fridge breaks, you are going to have to fix it (or hire someone to).

Who is Dedicated Hosting for?

While they offer a lot of wonderful features such as speed and good uptimes, dedicated hosting is not for the faint hearted.

If your internet site isn’t big and pressing at least 100, 000 month-to-month visitors, you’re probably going to become just fine with a VPS or shared hosting. Also expect to spend anywhere in the neighborhood of $1, 000-$2, 000 a month for a dedicated server.

If you have the traffic quantity, revenue, and technical resources though, dedicated hosting is really a big step in the right direction for your website.

Cloud web hosting

Cloud hosting is one of the latest and trendiest forms of web hosting.

Instead of your website living and utilizing the resources of one machine, cloud hosts give you various remote servers. Each one offers a different service for your website.

Which means if an issue comes up with among the servers, you’re likely going to be fine as the other servers will take over for the fallen one.

As such, cloud web hosting is extremely scalable. In fact , you’ll be able to scale your resources on-demand and only pay for what you use. You’ll be able to scale it back too if you need it by going to the admin dashboard of your web host.

This is perfect for growing businesses that anticipate more traffic or might experience inconsistent spikes in traffic from time to time.

Cloud web hosting can also be very secure. If a single server is compromised, you might have the other servers to rely on.

Another way to think of it is as a hotel. You can always upgrade your amenities and room to include larger beds, access to the health spa, or workout facilities. Or you can downgrade if you want to. The choice can be yours.

Who is Cloud Hosting for?

Cloud web hosting is good for businesses growing and climbing quickly. Also, if you’re not sure when you’re going to encounter spikes in traffic, this is the type of web hosting for you.

It enables you to add resources on-demand when needed. No more worrying about whether or not your site will lag or, worse, crash as a result.

If you have more than fifty, 000 monthly visitors, impair hosting should definitely be one that you consider.

Other types of web hosting to consider

Below are three other types of web hosting that you ought to take into consideration when looking at internet hosts—though they might not be as common as the four over.

Wp hosting

As the name suggests, this type of web hosting is optimized for Wp. So if you’re considering using WordPress as your website’s articles management platform, this should definitely be in consideration.

WordPress hosting generally come in two different types:

  • Shared WordPress Hosting. Leverages shared web hosting for the WordPress website. WordPress may also come pre-installed or with one-click installation.
  • Managed WordPress Hosting. Provides advantages such as server caching, automatic updates, faster loading speeds, and enhanced securities.

So while it’s not its own type of hosting company per se, it is a type that will falls under other categories of web hosting.

Who is WordPress Hosting designed for?

One thing that makes WordPress hosting better than other forms of hosting (if you are planning on using WordPress of course) is that it offers an added layer of security since it’s updated automatically.

This is important because WordPress is the most commonly used content management system in the world. That means it’s also one of the most vulnerable to cyber attacks. In case security is a top factor for your business (and it will be), so should Wp hosting.

Reseller web hosting

Reseller web hosting is the practice of buying hosting from a company and then reselling it to your customers. That means you choose the costs for the web hosting and can provide any other benefits on top of this.

So if you’re looking to build or even host a website, reseller web hosting is likely not for you. However , it’s worth a mention because it can be very lucrative depending on your goals.

Who might be Reseller Hosting for?

If you’re a web designer or developer, or in case you run an agency, reseller web hosting is a great option for you. It provides you an opportunity to bundle separate services like website constructing with hosting as well.

Plus, if you sell web hosting, your customers give you consistent monthly or yearly payment for as long as their website is present. That’s continuous income rather than the single payment you might receive from something like web design.

Co-location website hosting

This is a sub-category of dedicated web hosting—and it’s easily the most expensive a single on the list.

That’s because rather than hosting your website on their machines, you provide your own server. You then rent out physical space for your servers in a co-location center. These centers offer your server with electricity, cooling, housing rack, IP addresses, and other resources to help keep the servers running. You will also benefit from more band width that co-location servers can give you.

While you’ll get a lot from a co-location web host, you’re still on the hook to provide your personal server and also the upkeep for those servers. To install it, you will need to send your own authorized technician with the server towards the co-location server.

If there’s a problem with the server or if you want to upgrade and do regular servicing, you’ll have to head to an off-site location to do so.

Who is Co-location Hosting for?

Co-location web hosting is great for bigger businesses with the resources plus capital to invest in maintaining an off-site server. The benefits of not needing to house the server yourself as well as more band width could make it very profitable for your business.

However , if you’re a smaller, more bootstrap business, I highly suggest you look elsewhere.

Uptime and Speed: The two most significant aspects of web hosting

When looking at different web hosts, you’re going to end up being bombarded with a variety of different features and benefits that may or may not be important to your website.

While some of them might seem crucial, the only 2 things you should really be considering are usually uptime and speed.


Uptime refers to the amount of time your website remains ready to go. As such, it is possibly the most important feature of a good web host.

It’s usually referred to as a percentage between 1% – 100% where fully is a web host that in no way goes down. However , it is uncommon to see any web host promote uptime below 98%.

If a website hosting provider offers strong uptime rates (typically 99%+) they likely have good, dependable servers to host your site.

Naturally , that comes with a big caveat: it is very hard to independently verify a web host’ s true average uptime rate. As such, we have to rely on the numbers they will publicly offer on their own website.

Numerous web hosts offer a “guarantee” uptime rate that’s usually around 99%. If you find your own website’s uptime falls below their guaranteed rate or if it’s frequently down, you can be discounted.

That said, those ensures typically come with a lot of red tape and fine print. So really getting discounted might turn out to be impossible.

What’s a “good” uptime rate?

If you’re new to web hosting, you might look at an uptime rate like 99% or even 98% plus think that it’s pretty higher.

In reality, numbers like that might mean that your website is out of commission for days at a time.

In fact , here’s a chart from the percentage of uptime which range from 98% to 99. 999% compared to actual downtime.

As evidenced by the graph above, a single percentage stage in uptime can mean the difference between 3 entire days your website is down in a year.

Bottom line: The higher the particular uptime the better. Of course , you can not get rid of the risk of downtime completely. However , you should strive for at least a 99. 9% uptime rate.


Speed refers to how long it requires for pages to load on your own website. Along with uptime, it is another feature you need to prioritize when it comes to web hosting.

Think about times when you viewed across a website that got a while to load. It’s irritating, and you’re likely likely to just close the website and look somewhere else.

And it’s not just you. A study by Akamai found that even a one-second hold off in a web page’s loading speed results in:

  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • 11% fewer page views
  • 7% loss in sales

This implies if your website isn’t optimized for speed, it could cause a significant drop in web page views and income.

What’s the “good” web hosting speed?

When it comes to how fast your website should load, it all depends on your visitors.

47% of people using desktops or laptops expect web pages to load in 1 second or less. Whereas 64% of mobile users anticipate pages to load in less than four seconds (Hubspot).

Bottom line: Your customers want a quicker browsing experience.

Despite this, many sectors don’t meet those criteria. According to 2018 research through Google, most websites throughout eight top industries come with an average site speed greater than 5 seconds.

Despite this, 40% of all guests abandon web pages that much more than 3 seconds to load. That’s why you want to strive for under that time when optimizing your website for speed.

That’s why it is so important to find a web host that’s right for you. After all, you’re should retain a different type of web hosting based on what you plan to do along with your website.

For example , a big media company that will hosts a lot of videos on their pages shouldn’t look in the direction of shared hosting. Otherwise, they can expect both awful speed and uptime rates. Instead, they could want to look towards devoted or cloud web hosting.

Likewise, the small travel blog run by a backpacking enthusiast is going to want to search for something that fits their simpler needs. As such, shared or even VPS hosting will suit them just fine.


Web hosting is something you want to get right first thing should you be planning to start a website. When looking at your options, consider shared, VPS, dedicated, or impair hosting.

For more help, be sure to take a look at our article all about the very best web hosts.

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