What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a service that all website owners need to post their website online. The terms web host and web hosting provider are typically interchangeable and mean the same thing. They provide the servers needed to host your small business website. Typically the hosting package includes a suite of tools that you can use to help secure and protect your website as well as enhance your website in a variety of ways for your user. Typically web host providers also provide redundancies and back ups in the case that a server goes down, they will be able to grab a copy of your website from another server.
You often times see “domain” and “hosting” as separate packages, yet they must work together in order for your website to be available to your customers. When your small business customer wants to find your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain name into their browser of choice. The domain name will be pointing to the address where your website is located and connedt your page to the users browser.
Most hosting companies require that you own your domain in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain, the hosting companies will help you purchase one.


Often times hosting providers have a control panel that allows you to perform many specialized functions within your hosting environment. The most common control panel is often called the cPanel. This control panel offers many powerful applications to manage your websites from a web based interface. The flexibility of the cpanel graphical interface allows you to control a portion of the hosting server. The specialized cPanel tools are designed to help efficiently run and control a website. If you are concerned about any individual having too much or too little access on your sever, you can completely control the level of access via a tiered structure through the cPanel. Administrators and end users can control the different aspects of the server and the website directly through their browser. If you are interested in accessing your cPanel you will want to contact your hosting provider and they will provide a specialized URL that will allow you to login to the back end.

Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting

There are rather large, yet important differences between shared vs. dedicated hosting. Shared hosting may seem appealing as you are often promised cheaper pricing and unlimited bandwidth. The best solution for you most often depends most on your specific needs.
Most shared hosting environments offer unlimited bandwidth. However, please keep in mind, that you will most likely not get “true” unlimited bandwidth. It is a security feature and it is up to your hosting provider to decide on the amount of space that you may need.
It is also important to consider site performance when choosing between shared and dedicated hosting. Typically, a site with flawless performance will be much better in terms of user experience. In a shared hosting environment site performance may be impacted by the activity of other companies who are sharing the environment with you. That is why it may be much more difficult to have consistent performance in a shared hosting environment. Because a shared hosting plan will always have limited resources, you could never be certain about your site’s performance.

With a dedicated web hosting plan, there is no need to worry about the traffic of other websites on your server. Dedicated hosting means that you are the only website on the hosting server. It is typically recommended that if your site receives a large amount of traffic, it is best to consider dedicated vs. shared hosting plans.
While millions of website owners sharing hosting space with other websites, there are many who consider the security of a shared hosting plan as less secure. It is possible that you are sharing a hosting environment with users who are online for malicious reasons. If web tools identify your server as malicious, then not only will the malicious user be banned but your site as well. You just don’t know who you are sharing your server with.
Generally, with a dedicated server your website is hosted on a platform that is more secure and reliable. Dedicated servers are heavily monitored to ensure that your site is running smoothly. That is why a dedicated server generally costs quite a bit more than shared.
It is important to know that managing a dedicated hosting plan may require advanced knowledge about hosting servers. If you are unfamiliar with hosting environments then you can most often pay your hosting provider a fee to manage it for you. This is an additional cost that can add up.
Hosting really depends on a variety of factors including budget, server and the needs of your website. It is important to spend time planning out exactly what the needs of your website, consult those highly technical savvy people. Remember that a good and smart decision will determine your online success.

For web developers:

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