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Web hosting is a service companies provide that allows you to make your website visible and accessible. Rather than hosting your website on your own network server, you rent space on a web hosting service provider — this ensures maximum speed, reliability, and security for your website.

web hosting plans

Creating a website is an essential step for all businesses looking to increase their online visibility.

But what if you went through the trouble of buying a domain and building your website without anyone ever seeing it? Hence it is important to know what website hosting is.

Without a web hosting provider, this nightmare might become a reality.

This guide will demystify and answer questions about what web hosting is, how it works, and how to find the right company for your web server needs.

Common misconceptions of website hosting

  • Website hosting is NOT registering a domain: Some people believe that once they’ve registered a domain (e.g., www.example.com), they’ve also secured hosting for their website. Domain registration and web hosting are two separate services.
  • Not all website hosting plans are the same: A common thought is that all hosting services offer the same features and performance, so the cheapest one will do. Web hosting can vary widely in terms of storage, bandwidth, performance, security measures, customer support, and more.

What is web hosting, and how does it work? (Video Tutorial)

Still curious about web hosting? In this engaging video tutorial, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of the best web hosting services.

How does web hosting work?

Think of web hosting as a digital storage space where your website files reside. A web host provides server space to store your website’s files, images and code. These servers connect to the internet, allowing people to access your website by entering your domain name into a browser.

Web hosting allows website data to be viewed by visitors through web servers.

Web hosting providers manage and maintain the servers, ensuring your website stays online, loads quickly and remains secure.

While it’s possible to host your website on your own, it requires extensive technical knowledge and continuous maintenance.

You pay a nominal fee for secure, fast, and reliable hosting by choosing a web hosting provider.

What are the types of web hosting services?

Web hosting isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Like going house shopping, every website will have different needs based on the need for scalability, size and speed. You can make an informed decision based on the different types of hosting packages that best fit your needs.

Whether you need a website with high scalability or maximum speed, here are the key types of web hosting:

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the most common and affordable type of web hosting, where multiple websites share the same server resources. This hosting option is ideal for small businesses, blogs, and personal websites with low to moderate traffic.

The cost of shared hosting is typically lower because of the shared resources, making it an attractive option to those who don’t need the extra perks of dedicated hosting.

Shared hosting pros and cons

With shared hosting, resources like storage space, bandwidth, and processing power are allocated to all websites on the server.

While this may result in slower load times and occasional performance issues during peak times, it’s an excellent solution for those just starting. However, shared hosting may not be suitable for websites with high traffic, resource-intensive applications or businesses looking to scale traffic.

Pros of shared web hosting

  1. Cost-effective
  2. Easy to use
  3. Ideal for small businesses and personal websites
  4. No maintenance hassle

Cons of shared web hosting

  1. Limited resources
  2. Limited customization options
  3. Security concerns as multiple websites share the same server
  4. Not suitable for high-traffic websites

WordPress hosting

WordPress hosting is specifically designed for websites built on the WordPress platform, supporting small businesses, bloggers and large enterprises alike. WordPress-specific hosting services optimize their servers for the best performance, security and compatibility.

WordPress hosting pros and cons

This hosting option is ideal for those who want a hassle-free, streamlined hosting environment tailored to WordPress. WordPress hosting simplifies website management with features like automatic updates, one-click installations and pre-installed themes and plugins.

Pros of WordPress hosting:

  1. Hassle-free, streamlined hosting environment
  2. Enhanced Security
  3. WordPress-Centric Support
  4. User-friendly, even for beginners
  5. Scalability

Cons of WordPress hosting

These plans are tailored for WordPress, so if you plan to run other applications or platforms alongside your site, you might encounter compatibility issues.

Cloud hosting

Unlike traditional hosting, it utilizes a network of virtual servers spread across multiple data centers, catering to diverse needs, from dynamic businesses to bustling eCommerce sites.  

Cloud hosting dynamically allocates resources, ensuring optimal performance and robust security even during traffic spikes. This flexibility extends to software and application installation, enabling tailored hosting environments. 

Pros of Cloud Hosting: 

  1. Flexible scaling 
  2. 100% uptime 
  3. Enhanced performance 
  4. Cost-efficient 

      Cons of Cloud Hosting: 

      1. Limited control and flexibility 
      2. Price 

      Dedicated hosting

      Dedicated hosting provides you with an entire server for your website, ensuring the highest level of control, customization and performance. This hosting option is most suitable for large businesses with high traffic and resource-intensive applications.

      You can optimize your website for speed, ensuring a better user experience and a better chance of high search rankings.

      Dedicated server hosting pros and cons

      Although dedicated hosting comes at a higher cost, the enhanced performance, security and optimization make it the premier choice for websites with substantial traffic and specific needs.

      Pros of dedicated server hosting

      1. Maximum Control
      2. Highly Reliable
      3. Advanced Configuration

      Cons of dedicated server hosting

      1. Higher Cost
      2. Need of Technical Expertise

      VPS hosting

      Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is a step up from shared hosting, offering more power and flexibility.

      With VPS hosting, a single physical server” is divided into multiple virtual compartments, each with its own allocated resources. This hosting option suits growing businesses, eCommerce websites or websites requiring more backend control and customization options.

      VPS hosting pros and cons

      VPS hosting gives you greater flexibility with server resources, empowering you to improve performance and security. Plus, you can install custom software or applications if you’d like.

      Pros of VPS web hosting

      1. Resource Allocation
      2. Customization Options
      3. Improved Security

      Cons of VPS web hosting

      1. More expensive than shared hosting
      2. Need technical expertise
      3. Responsibility of server maintenance

      Cloud hosting

      Unlike traditional hosting, it utilizes a network of virtual servers spread across multiple data centers, catering to diverse needs, from dynamic businesses to bustling eCommerce sites. 

      Cloud hosting dynamically allocates resources, ensuring optimal performance and robust security even during traffic spikes. This flexibility extends to software and application installation, enabling tailored hosting environments.

      What is the difference between web hosting and a domain name?

      Domain and web hosting might seem the same at first glance, but they serve distinct purposes. Domain hosting refers to managing the domain name, while web hosting provides the server space for your website files.

      Domain hosting, also known as domain registration, is the process of acquiring and managing a unique domain name for your website. This domain name serves as your website’s address on the internet and allows people to access your website.

      Domain hosting providers like Bluehost help you register, renew and protect your personal information about your domain name.

      Conversely, web hosting provides server space, bandwidth, and the technical support infrastructure needed to store and serve your website’s files to users. This process ensures your website loads quickly, stays secure and remains online.

      Domain HostingWeb Hosting
      Involves managing and maintaining a website’s unique internet address.Provides server space and infrastructure for hosting websites 
      Acquires and manages a unique domain name for your website.Stores and serves your website’s files, ensuring quick loading, security, and online availability.
      Helps you register, renew, and protect your domain name’s information.Offers the necessary server resources and infrastructure.
      Bluehost is a domain hosting provider.Various web hosting companies offer this service.

      Tips for finding the right web hosting company

      While many web hosting options exist in 2024, it’s important to consider what means the most to you and your website. We’ve compiled a list of factors to consider when choosing a best web hosting solution and how they apply to the type of website you want hosted.

      how to find the right web hosting plan and company.

      1: Uptime

      Uptime is how long a host’s servers stay running without outages. A higher uptime means your website will be accessible more often.

      And according to StatusCake, only 11% of visitors would return to a website if they couldn’t access it the first time they visited it.

      Look for a hosting company that guarantees a high uptime, especially if you run an eCommerce website or a high-traffic blog.

      2: cPanel access

      cPanel is a user-friendly control panel that simplifies website management. It allows you to easily manage your domains, email accounts and databases.

      Opt for a web host that offers cPanel access, especially if you’re not tech-savvy or have limited experience managing websites.

      3: Technical hosting specs

      Depending on your website’s needs, you’ll need customized technical specifications like storage and disk space used, bandwidth and the number of email accounts.

      Before choosing a host, ensure that it has ample resources for smooth operation with room for growth.

      4: Reviews and reputation

      Researching a hosting provider’s reputation can provide valuable insights into their reliability, customer support and overall service quality.

      Check out third-party online reviews, ask for recommendations and visit forums to gather information about the company’s credibility and track record.

      If you plan to use WordPress as your content management system (CMS), it’s a good idea to choose a hosting provider that WordPress officially recommends.

      With WordPress accounting for over 43% of all websites, it’s crucial to choose a provider experienced with WordPress websites.

      These web hosts have tested and optimized environments for the specifications of WordPress websites, ensuring the best possible results for speed, security and reliability.

      6: Security

      Your web host needs to be secure to protect your website and users from cyber threats.

      Look for a host with features like SSL certificates, automatic backups and malware scanning to keep your website safe.

      Plus, secure websites are a top priority for ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs).

      7: Customer support

      For small businesses looking for a website with little to no hassle, customer support is invaluable. Excellent customer service makes the journey much easier when you encounter technical issues or need assistance with our website.

      Choose a host that provides 24/7 support through phone, chat and email, along with a knowledge base. In addition to these, you can also sign up for WordPress Academy to learn more about starting and building a WordPress website. Bluehost also has a YouTube channel for insights and instructional videos for building and managing your website. 

      Facts about websites and web hosting that may surprise you

      1. Speed Matters: A one-second delay in website load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Quality web hosting ensures faster website load times, enhancing user experience and potentially increasing sales.
      2. SEO and Hosting are Linked: Search engines consider website speed when ranking sites. Good web hosting can indirectly boost your SEO efforts by providing faster website speeds.
      3. Global Reach: With web hosting, your site can be accessed from anywhere in the world, opening doors to international markets and a broader audience base.
      4. Custom Email Addresses: You can add a professional email account and email address (like [email protected]) to any web hosting plan with Bluehost. This can make your business appear more professional and trustworthy.
      5. Uptime Equals Visibility: Website hosting from a reliable provider can mean the difference between making a sale and losing a customer to a competitor.
      6. Hosting Impacts Paid Search Campaigns: If you’re spending money on paid search traffic, you’d want users to land on a fast-loading, always-accessible site. Effective web hosting ensures that your investment isn’t wasted on a site that’s down or sluggish.
      7. Reliability Builds Reputation: In the online world, reliability equals reputation. Websites that experience frequent downtimes can harm a brand’s image. Investing in dependable web hosting ensures that your business is always presented in the best light.

      Common questions regarding web hosting

      What exactly is web hosting?

      Web hosting is a service companies provide that allows you to make your website visible and accessible.

      What is the most popular type of web hosting service?

      Shared hosting is the most popular type because of its affordability and ease of use.

      What is an example of web hosting?

      Bluehost is an example of web hosting, offering the server space to store your website content. When someone searches for your domain, their server will communicate with ours to transfer data and display your website.

      Is hosting required to have a website?

      Yes, hosting is required for a website because it provides the server space you need to store and display your website content to visitors.

      Can I host my own website?

      You can host your own website, but it requires technical expertise, resources and ongoing maintenance.

      What hosting is best for a business website?

      For a business website, we recommend VPS or dedicated hosting because they offer the best performance, scalability and reliability.

      What hosting is best for a blog?

      Shared or WordPress hosting is ideal for a blog, striking the perfect balance between cost and performance.

      Final thoughts: Web hosting explained — how it works & how to find a provider

      Navigating the world of web hosting can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge, you can make informed decisions.

      We’ve discussed what website hosting is, the various types of web hosting companies, how web hosting works, and essential factors to consider when choosing a provider. Armed with this information, you can confidently select the hosting solution that best fits your needs and budget.

      With a service provider like Bluehost, you get the best of both worlds: affordable, quality hosting that is reliable, secure, and fast.

      Check out our hosting plans today and get 24/7 customer support for WordPressWooCommerce and more.

      • Tiffani Anderson

        Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

        Education
        University of North Texas
        Previous Experience
        Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
      • Devin Sears

        Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

        Education
        Brigham Young University
        Previous Experience
        Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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