Websites and their associated terminology are an entity unto themselves. You’ve heard the term “hosting” before, but what exactly does it mean as it relates to a website? We’re here to tell you and break down what you need to know to host your stellar site today.
What is the difference between a domain name and web hosting?
WebHostingSecretRevealed used this analogy for the difference between a domain name and web hosting, which makes perfect sense for the less technologically savvy: “a domain name is like the address of your home; web hosting on the other hand, is the space of your house where you place your furniture.
Your domain name gets you to the right place and web hosting is where all of your content resides. Both are necessary components of a website, but they serve difference purposes.
What is hosting?
According to First Site Guide, “web hosting is the activity or service of providing storage space to individuals or organizations, for the websites that are accessible via World Wide Web.” Hosting provides a server and connection point for your web pages to your domain name, so when someone types your business URL into a browser, it is connected to your website.
Many web hosting providers require you to own your domain name in order to host with them. If you are without a domain, the provider can assist you in finding one that fits your business.
Types of web hosting services
Free hosting providers are best for non-business websites or sites created just for entertainment. These services tend to be slower in connection and have more advertisements associated with the individual pages. If you purchase a domain from a provider, they will often give you free hosting services. Alternatively, others will give you a free domain with the provider’s extension attached to your domain, such as [johnsmithpainting.websitehost.com]. Take note, though, once your domain is established, it cannot be transferred, so you’re stuck with this domain unless you’re willing to rebrand and buy a new domain.
This type of hosting allows your website and others to share one server. Shared hosting is an economical option because all services, such as cost of operation and software applications, are split among all users. Yet, shared hosting platforms tend to run slower, as your site is sharing RAM and CPU with hundreds or thousands of other sites, and may not be the best option for a professional business.
Dedicated hosting means your site has its own server, so you’re not competing with other website’s needs, demands, and usage of applications. Your website speed is much faster than the previous two options, but is costlier because you’re incurring the expense of maintaining an entire server. If your business requires a high level of security, this is a good fit.
A team of servers, also known as a cloud, manages groups of websites. Cloud hosting can control high traffic because it enables multiple computers to handle site-specific traffic tendencies. The speed of your site is fast, but because it utilizes multiple servers and resources, it is a more expensive offering than other hosting options. A limitation of cloud hosting is that customization, such as server settings and certain software, is not available. For the average business owner, this is not a major concern, but if you are in the tech industry or have an interest in specific customization, you may consider a different hosting platform.
Collocated hosting combines the best of two worlds: your business has its own server, but it is housed within a web host’s environment. Since the server is yours, the operations and maintenance fall on you, but you have unlimited reign to install whatever applications, plugins, or scripts you want.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to successfully host your website. Determine the hosting method that makes the most sense for your business and consider the time and resources required to manage that type of hosting. Businesses with lots of discretionary time and resources can make the most of these outsourced hosting platforms.
However, Vistaprint Digital’s website builder is a one-stop shop for small business sites. You can select and register your domain name, design your site, and host it all within our platform and circumvent the research required to choose and connect a hosting provider. Your business needs only one login and account to handle the entire website process. For small businesses, this is an excellent tool for getting your website professionally designed and into the public eye quickly.