A Beginners Guide To Webhosting

If you are a beginner on the internet and you are looking to learn about Webhosting and what it has to offer, then you are in the right place. There is no shame in not knowing this information because everyone has to start at the beginning at some time. We are all on a learning journey, and these days the latest and best way of doing things is constantly changing, and the rate of change is rapidly increasing as well. The intention of this article is to help you to begin learning about web hosting, by giving you the latest up to date information from our internet experts, who are the best in the world.

Firstly, a definition – what is a web hosting and how does it work?

Webhosting is the practice of providing space for and bandwidth on a high-powered computer server that is connected to the Internet at very high speeds.

Webhosting service provider companies maintain large networks of high-powered web server computers in a physical location known as a data center. These computer servers are connected to a very fast, and generally redundant, Internet connection. The data centers have primary and backup power, a fast connection to the Internet, and security monitoring staff.

The Webhosting service provider companies provide a share of disk space and available bandwidth to each customer in return for a monthly fee, which varies depending upon the service level that they each purchase. Once the customer has signed up with the Webhosting service provider, they can upload their own files to their own personal space on the Webhosting server and that information is then viewable by anyone who is interested and authorized on the Internet. The monthly fee that the Webhosting company charges is much less than what it would cost to run a server out of your own home or data center. Hence, that is the reason these companies exist – there is a demand for the service that they offer. The Webhosting service provider will take care of all the hardware, software, and other technical needs for you in return for an agreed service level monthly or annual fee payable in advance.

Types of Webhosting

There are many different types of Webhosting offers available, but the main three are:

  • Shared Webhosting
  • Reseller Webhosting
  • Dedicated Webhosting

Each type of Webhosting is for a different purpose, which we explain separately since each service will suit clients with different needs.

Shared Webhosting

Shared Webhosting is the most popular form of Webhosting by far. Shared Webhosting involves a portion of disk space and bandwidth being provided to you by the Webhosting service provider company on its high-powered server. There are many other web sites hosted on this server, from other companies and individuals and the Webhosting service provider company is likely to have a large number of these servers in a large data center, or more than one Data center, sometimes located in different countries in different parts of the world. The resources of the server are efficiently shared by as many other websites as are allocated to that computer, and this is organized and managed by the Webhosting Service provider company.

Shared Webhosting is the best form of web hosting if you are looking for a low price and you don’t have more than a couple thousand daily visitors to your site, ie your requirements are technically very simple.

Reseller Webhosting

Reseller Webhosting is a popular, low-cost solution to starting your own web hosting business. There are only two types of reseller hosting, that is:

  • Private-label
  • Reseller of services.

Private-label

This is the best type of reseller Webhosting plan because it allows the Reseller to retain full control over your customer’s websites.

A private-label Webhosting plan allows the reseller to keep the full monthly payment of the web hosting customer, but the Webhosting reseller must pay a monthly fee to the larger Webhosting company for the reseller space.

The more hosting accounts that a private-label reseller can sell, the higher the profit for them. Private-label Webhosting allows a Webhosting service provider company to host many more websites than would be possible if shared web hosting were used for each. This is a great solution for a customer who has many sites they need to host in one location to save money.

Reseller Of Services

Under this arrangement, Webhosting service provider companies will resell the regular web hosting plans of a larger web hosting company, but you get a discounted price for providing the customer and earn a monthly fee for as long as they remain a customer. This plan does not allow control over customer web sites and the Reseller only keeps a portion of the potential monthly revenue.

Dedicated Webhosting

Dedicated web hosting is the most powerful and cost effective solution for any customer looking for Webhosting a busy web site without resorting to buying their own equipment and paying hundreds of dollars per month for a fast Internet connection.

Dedicated Webhosting consists of single server with no one else hosting on that computer. This allows for the best configuration options. Anyone who has a busy website will find that dedicated Webhosting is the necessary choice for their situation.

Webhosting Considerations

You may well find yourself wondering about all the other information listed in the various web hosting plans from different Webhosting providers? In this section, I will explain the most important considerations when choosing a good Webhosting service provider.

Price

The cost of Webhosting services is one of the most important considerations for any individual or company. There are many Webhosting companies out there who can offer you cheap hosting packages, but they may be lacking in functionality and most importantly in reliability (downtime) as well as other areas such as customer support. You should not let the price of a hosting package entice you – you need to consider what you get for the price that you will be required to pay. There are some Webhosting service provider companies that have great prices and the other features are just as good. These could be on your shortlist to make a decision based on a comprehensive assessment of technical functionality and performance. Price may be one of the most important decisions of a web hosting plan, but there is much more to consider when choosing a quality web host.

Disk Space / Storage Space

Disk space is the amount of physical Data storage space that a Webhosting service provider will give you to store all of your web files. Webhosting companies usually have plans with disk space being measured mostly in terms of gigabytes, but some are still offering plans in megabytes for storage space.

Dependant upon your file storage space needs, you may need more or less – when making your assessment it is better to oversize, which will allow for the growth of your business. Generally the more disk space offered, the better it is for you and your business.

Bandwidth / Data Transfer

The amount of bandwidth available can make a big difference when choosing a quality Webhosting plan. In general, the more bandwidth a Webhosting company makes available to you, the better it is for your business. This means you can support more traffic to your website as your business grows. Be wary of Webhosting service provider companies that offer unlimited or unmetered bandwidth. While many of these are legitimate offers, there are some out there who are overselling their bandwidth in hopes the average user won’t use much. This can be disastrous for you if the stated capacity is not actually available at all times.

Customer Support

As in any business, it is very important to receive exceptional customer service. Webhosting is no exception. Many of the Webhosting service provider companies are available to their customers all day and night, every day of the year, in case you have a problem with your web site, but there are some who are just available specific hours of the day – this is quite a consideration for any business owner as you do not know when you may encounter a problem and you will need it solved quickly, not have to wait several days until the end of the weekend or a holiday period to receive customer service. If your web site goes down in the middle of the night when they’re not available, this means lost revenue for your business. You should make sure the web host you select is always available for support, 24/7/365.

Money Back Guarantee

Many but not all Webhosting service provider companies will provide a thirty-day money back guarantee. Some will provide one even longer, but be wary of the ones who offer no money back guarantee. We would recommend not to purchase Webhosting services from any company that does not offer at least a 30 day money back guarantee, unless they have proven themselves to be a leader in the industry and have an excellent reputation.

Operating System

An operating system is a piece of software that controls the interaction between the computer user and the physical hardware of the server. A majority of all web sites on the Internet run on the Linux operation system. Linux is recognized and acknowledged widely to be generally much more stable than Windows. Stability is absolutely critical in running a web site. For this reason, we would recommend hosting your web sites on the Linux operating system. Some websites have specific requirements that only the Windows operating system can satisfy, but there are always alternatives to those requirements. Consider this question carefully in your research before selecting your Webhosting service provider company.

Backup

A good Webhosting company will have a regular schedule to backup all the data on all their web servers. The more often the data is backed up, the better, in case there is a risk of loss of data between backups, clearly daily backups are far less risky than weekly backups. At the very least, a Webhosting company should backup web site files daily, in our opinion.

Control Panel

The control panel is the point of contact that the website administrator will have between the host server and their own computer connected via the Internet. It is essential to have a well organized and easily accessible and easy to use control panel interface. My favorite control panel is cPanel, which is one of the leading web hosting control panels out there today. Plesk is another good control panel, and many companies will create their own control panel for you to use. Most Webhosting companies will provide a link to a demo of the control panel that they use with their hosting plans, for your user’s training and reference. The control panel used is a matter of preference, but it should be user friendly.

Email

Email is an essential part of communication on the Internet. Most Webhosting companies will give you more email addresses and more space to hold email messages than you will ever need. What you need to consider is that the companies that have decided to be more restrictive on their email accounts and only offer a small number or a small amount of message space. This could severely limit your business.

Uptime

Uptime is the term used to describe how often the average web site that is hosted by a Webhosting service provider company is available online, that is, it is the converse of Downtime. No Webhosting service provider company can be expected to provide a total of 100% uptime service. This would be impossible owing to considerations such as hardware failures, software failures, and power failures. The vast majority of the Webhosting service provider companies are very good with uptime, and they guarantee it, which is why they are in business and are successful. Customers would not tolerate low Uptime service levels. It is still a good idea to be conscious of the uptimes posted by the company. If it is not stated to be at least 99.5%, it is probably not worth considering Webhosting with that company – this is a serious consideration for any business customer.

Statistics

As a webmaster/customer, it is essential to know how many visitors that you have had to your website, and where they came from, and how long they stay on your site, and how much bandwidth they have used. This essential information is collected by the Webhosting service provider´s server and it is placed in a log file, that is accessible to each customer. A statistical software package can read this data and provide meaningful information to the webmaster/customer. The information gathered from these logs can be very valuable in providing improved services to the visitors of your web site.

FTP

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a way of quickly uploading or downloading many files to and from a web server. Most Webhosting service provider companies will allow their customers to access their web hosting accounts via FTP. FTP is very useful and is essential to have when paying for a web hosting account. Most users are familiar with FTP

Scripting

Ever since the beginning of the World Wide Web, many scripting languages have been created and competitors who survived have evolved into the dynamic and interactive environment we enjoy today. A scripting language is a way of adding functionality to a website, whether it be to calculate numbers or to load information from an external database. Scripting languages have made electronic commerce possible. Some of these languages include:

  • PHP
  • ASP
  • JSP
  • Coldfusion
  • VBscript
  • Javascript
  • Perl

It is not possible to go into the details of all of these scripting languages in this article but you can refer to other articles if you need to research any of them, as they are widely documented. If you know how to use any of these languages, then you will probably know what to look for in a web server for any of them.

Databases

A Database is a software program placed on a computer server or hard drive to store data that can be accessed and used in a large variety of ways.

Databases are widely used on the Internet for applications such as shopping carts, message boards, and product catalogues. The more databases that the Webhosting service provider allows you to create, then the more software applications you can deploy on your web server. Databases are used by the beginner as well as the more advanced web master, but information is freely available online should you be interested to research any of the available Database programs.

Conclusion:

The choice of a Webhosting service provider can be a very complex decision to make bearing in mind the massive number of choices available from the many thousands of Webhosting companies in the world. It is critical for you to make a rational decision based on an assessment of your technical requirements and to find an affordable plan that fits such needs and to have a good reliable Webhosting service provider company that will maintain a good relationship for many years into the future. We hope this article was useful in helping you to arrive at a means for making your decision about which Webhosting service providers company to choose.

Check out our top recommendation for webhosting, A2hosting.com, here.

AlanJE