Web hosting may be the most underappreciated part of the World Wide Web. Everything you love about the Internet—podcasts, memes, articles, tweets, websites, online gaming, Netflix content—lives on a server that an individual or company pays to keep up and running so that you can access it. Web hosting is an invisible yet essential element of the online experience.
Building a website isn’t difficult, but some hosting-related terminology and concepts can be confusing. These basic website hosting tips will help newbies get up to speed.
- There is a big difference between hosting types
If you’ve spent any amount of time on a web host’s website, you’ve probably seen terms like shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud, WordPress, and reseller. They represent the different web hosting types, but not every web host offers them all. Plus, the hosting types differ from one another in significant ways.
Nearly every web host offers shared hosting, the cheapest form of web hosting. With shared hosting, your website shares a server and server resources with many other sites. If you want to keep your web hosting budget small, and don’t expect much traffic, shared hosting is the way to go.
Larger businesses that expect big traffic to their sites should pick VPS or dedicated hosting, each of which offers increasingly powerful server specs. VPS hosting is like a high-powered version of shared hosting, except that far fewer websites share a server’s resources, which are also a bit more segregated.
- Bandwidth is not the same as data transfer
“Bandwidth” and “data transfer” are frequently used interchangeably to define the amount of data that your website serves to visitors, but the terms, technically, do not have the same definitions.
Bandwidth represents the total amount of data that can be transferred at one time, while data transfer is the throughput or the actual amount of information that can be used over a given period of time—typically a month.
- A Linux server will do
Nearly every web host offers Linux as the operating system that powers their servers. Even if you aren’t familiar with Linux, you don’t need to do any special work on the back end to build a website. Website builders make building sites a breeze. That said, if your site needs the ASP or ASP.NET scripting frameworks, you’ll need to run with the Windows Server operating system.
Therefore, check out for these facts before buying a web hosting server.