Choosing a website hosting service for your blog and mystery of web hosting

understanding web hosting as a beginner

First things first, “Why does website hosting matter?”. The answer may be obvious. Simply put - it's the backbone of your online presence, influencing everything from user experience to search engine visibility.

If you dream of showcasing your idea to the world and controlling how that is mostly done, then having a website or a blog which you can make available through hosting will surely be your goal.

Knowing why web hosting is important, the next logical question you might be asking your self is what then website hosting is and/or which website hosting should I choose from these vast ocean of hosting services and solutions. These questions will be simply addressed next.


What is website hosting in the simplest form?

In its simplest form, website hosting is like renting a spot in the bustling marketplace of the internet to display your digital masterpiece – your website. It's the process of storing your website's files, images, videos, and other content on powerful computers called servers. 

These servers are the unsung heroes that work tirelessly to make your website accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Now that you probably have a clear understanding of what it means to host a website, lets move to the next valuable question.


Which website hosting should I choose? 

First remember that most hosting services for a moderate website or blog is not expensive at all, with some offering free website hosting. Whichever option, free or paid, you have the room to experiment and learn more how to improve your website hosting should your needs increase or change.

Now, the answer to this question can be considered in two parts which are completely linked together:

  • the hosting company or provider
  • the type of hosting service to choose.

As you embark on your web journey, the choice of hosting provider becomes your compass. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide on a particular hosting provider, however defining a clear goal for hosting your website, the overwhelming can be overcome. The following factors can also be very handy in making that decision.

  1. Consider your website's needs. 
    (Example, how much traffic volume do you estimate your blog or website will get in the first few months),
  2. Technical features 
  3. Your budget 

These three pointers can become very useful in deciding which hosting provider and type of service to choose. 


How to choose a web hosting package 

Let’s use an example: consider that you have just discovered a high interest in blogging and want to host a blog or a website for this purpose, using the three pointers you might consider the following:

  • Website needs.

You probably will need a domain name to represent your blog or site, and in addition you forecast to have a few 1000s or tens of thousands of volumes of traffic in the first few months.

Getting a domain name is not expensive and you will find some domain registrars constantly running sales. We will recommend your domains from Namecheap domains. And just as the name suggest, they do have cheap domains unlike many registrars.

Some hosting providers also allow you to get a free domain for most hosting plans or packages.

  • Technical and Non-technical features 
    As already established hosting a website is a process of storing your website files, images, etc on servers (computers). This comes with some technical requirements and knowledge from basic to advance. Irrespective of your skill set, most hosting companies provides hosting packages based on varied combination of these features.

    Since hosting is about storing, computing, and retrieving of website files, disk space (storage capacity), bandwidth, file limits (Inode), Uptime, Backups, etc are some of the core features you must consider.

    There also hosting packages that allows you to host from 1, 3 to unlimited websites. Sounds interesting! Yeah, so it is possible to have a package that you and your friends can host different websites with the same one-time yearly payment you made. But most providers have a limit of total number of files even for unlimited website on the same one payment. But it is a great lot of files, so no many worries about exhausting it.
  • Your budget 
    Your budget will also largely determine which of the various types of hosting services you could afford. In fact, in many cases, it is not just about how much you are willing to spend, but what value you estimate to get from the needs defined. It will probably be an overspend to spend about $1000/year on a dedicated hosting (one type of hosting) for a blog that generates about 10,000 traffic each month, when you can spend between $70 to $300/year on a VPS hosting or even better between $30 to $100/year on shared hosting.

    So, the point here is simple, the needs of your website should drive your budget and not the other way round, especially for everyone seeking to enter the digital space as a newcomer. Don’t be over buzzed by the niceties of the many variations of web hosting services marketed by the numerous service providers.

Namecheap is one service provider that provides very clear and affordable web hosting for every need. That you might want to check out.


Types of Website Hosting

Now that we've established the basic premise of website hosting, let's introduce you to the diverse hosting types, each with its own unique role in the web ecosystem:

  1. Shared Hosting: Imagine sharing an apartment with roommates. Shared hosting follows a similar concept. Your website shares server space with several other websites. It's a budget-friendly option, perfect for those just stepping onto the digital stage.
  2. VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting:  Leveling up from shared hosting, VPS hosting is like owning a condo in a high-rise building. While you still share a physical server with other websites, your portion is isolated, offering more control and resources.
  3. Dedicated Hosting:  Welcome to the mansion of hosting solutions! With dedicated hosting, you have an entire server all to yourself. It's like having an entire theatre for your performance. This option is ideal for websites with high traffic and resource demands.
  4. Cloud Hosting: Imagine if your masterpiece could exist simultaneously in multiple galleries across the world. Cloud hosting makes this a reality. Your website's files are stored on a network of interconnected servers, ensuring stability and flexibility.
  5. Managed WordPress Hosting:  If you are a WordPress enthusiast, rejoice! This hosting type is tailored specifically for WordPress websites. It offers optimized performance, security, and often includes handy tools to simplify the management of your site.


Understanding the inner workings of web hosting - How Does It All Work?

  1. Storing Website Files: Every website is a collection of files – HTML, CSS, images, videos, and more. These files need a home, and that's where hosting comes in. Your chosen hosting provider stores these files on their servers (more advanced computers).
  2. Domain Name System (DNS): Think of DNS as the GPS of the internet. When you type a web address (like into your browser, DNS translates it into the server's IP address, allowing your browser to locate and fetch the website files.
  3. Server Management: Just like a theatre needs maintenance, servers require management. This involves configuring hardware, software, security protocols, and updates to ensure smooth performance and guard against cyber threats.
  4. Bandwidth and Data Transfer: Imagine the theatre seats as bandwidth, and the number of viewers as data transfer. Bandwidth determines how many visitors can access your site at once, while data transfer is the total amount of data your site can deliver over a period.
  5. Security Measures: Security is paramount in the digital space. Hosting providers implement measures like firewalls, SSL certificates (that padlock icon indicating a secure connection), and regular security updates to protect your website and its visitors from potential risks.


Five key functions your web hosting should provide.

Website hosting isn't just a technical puzzle – and as said earlier it's the backbone of your online presence, influencing everything from user experience to search engine visibility. Here's why it matters:

  1. Website Performance: A well-managed hosting service ensures fast loading times and smooth navigation, keeping impatient visitors engaged.
  2. Uptime and Reliability: Think of downtime as the intermission you never asked for. Reliable hosting providers strive for high uptime percentages, ensuring your website is accessible 24/7.
  3. Scalability: As your audience grows, your hosting needs might evolve. The right hosting type allows you to seamlessly scale up resources without disrupting your show.
  4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Search engines favour websites that load quickly and consistently. A good hosting provider contributes to better search engine rankings, increasing your website's discoverability.
  5. Security and Trust:  A secure website fosters trust among visitors. SSL certificates, regular backups, and vigilant security protocols provided by hosting services play a crucial role in keeping your website safe.

Just like choosing a venue for a grand performance, selecting the right hosting type sets the stage for your online success. 

Website hosting is the invisible force that brings your digital dreams to life. From the budget friendly of shared hosting to the solitude of dedicated servers, hosting is the canvas on which your web story unfolds. So, as you traverse the vast expanse of the internet, remember that every click, every scroll, and every interaction is powered by the marvel of website hosting.

Contributor: Py Sosu