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What is web hosting?
Definition: Web hosting is the activity or service of providing storage space to individuals or organizations, for the websites that are accessible via the World Wide Web.
Web hosting is a huge industry, with close to a billion websites currently online and millions of people all over the world getting into this new world. The website hosting process can be intimidating and confusing at first, but once you get your head around it, you will understand how it works.
To start with, let’s cover some new terminology. You might have heard different terms used to describe the process, such as web hosting, website hosting, site hosting, blog hosting, self-hosting, etc. They all mean the same thing. You have some server space where you store your website’s files and you have complete control over it.
Note: Hosted website or blog. You could hear these terms and might think that this is the same thing as the website hosting. However, these terms are different from what we call “web hosting”. In this case, the hosting and most of its related functionalities are done by the third party company. You usually get the tool/software to create your website but restricted to the functionality offered by that company. Another downside of the hosted solutions is that you can’t move your website anywhere else and it could be difficult to expand. More about that later.
Your web hosting plan/package is a permission that specifies how you are going to use your online space. It does not matter what term you use, they mean the same thing. Very often, the web hosting plan is bought together with the domain name, but they function independently, just like your business and your workspace.
To make things more clear, if you think of your web host as your landlord, then paying for your web hosting plan is like paying your lease. A domain name is a part of your business and you can move it any time you want, so you can look at renewing your domain name as renewing your business license. You need them both, and although very often you can take care of them both at the same time, they are two separate things.
New webmasters who are trying to choose a web host often find that they are confronted with a plethora of web hosts that are offering a wide variety of packages. Some web hosts give you a choice of packages using the Linux Operating System (OS) and still others Windows. As a newcomer, you might wonder whether the operating system of the package matters, and whether you should choose a Linux or a Windows.
What kind of web hosting plan you choose depends on what your website needs and what kind of technology your website relies on ( or will be built on). Just like you would first choose a building, depending on your needs and then pay the rent, so you should decide on your hosting needs and then buy it. With this guide, we will try to clear up the confusion that some people might have.
Note: I often hear people say that they are using a Mac, and ask whether there is such a thing as a web host offering Mac packages. By the time you are done with this part, you’ll realize that you don’t really need to get a web host offering a Mac OS X web hosting just because you’re using a Mac. For what it’s worth, I don’t know of any web host with Mac packages at the time we wrote this guide.
- Host 1 Website
- 5 GB Web Space
- 50 GB Monthly Bandwidth
- 10 Sub-Domains
- 1 MS SQL Database
- 10 MySQL Database
- Unlimited FTP Email Accounts
- PHP / ASP.NET / NodeJS
- Plesk (Windows)
- 99.99% Uptime
Do you need Windows hosting?
Basically, the question is, will your website rely on Windows-specific technologies like ASP, or .NET or Microsoft Access, or Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL)? We’re not asking whether you need these technologies on your own computer, but whether your website will be coded using ASP or .NET. If you don’t understand any of this, chances are small that you’re going to use them. If someone is helping you to create a website you can ask them what technology they use, so you understand your hosting needs.
Do you need Linux hosting?
At this point, some of you are probably shaking your heads. All you want is to create a simple website, or start a blog, or to sell something online. What’s up with all these web jargon anyway? For the person looking to just set up a blog, or sell things with a shopping cart, or just create a standard website like price11.com, and don’t have any special requirements, in 99% of the cases you will find it easier to use a Linux based host.