Web hosting is an essential part (and expense) of running a website – you basically can’t have a website without a web host. The goal of this page is to help you in your purchase decision as well as educating you on the various terms, what they mean and what kind of web hosting you need.
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One of the biggest and oldest web hosts in the world, their business focus is on providing shared hosting for WordPress. Just the kind of hosting you want if you’re starting out. Low cost and effective.
We signed up with them back when Host Gator did not provide a VPS and we’ve stuck with them for a few reasons. They provide the BEST customer support we’ve come across. All tickets are answered within minutes. They provide unique in-house WordPress speed and security solutions to make your site as fast and secure as possible. They also offer automatic upgrades, built-in WP caching, and a CDN. They are lastly one of the few companies offering location specific hosting with 3 data centers in USA, Europe, and Asia. While not the cheapest, Siteground is a headache free web host.
In order for a website to be live on the Internet it must be connected to a computer. If that computer is turned off, loses power, crashes etc, your website will no longer be visible which is why you need a computer that’s on 24/7.
In the early days of the Internet many individuals hosted sites on their own computer. Even the mega large dating site Plenty of Fish which serves up BILLIONS of page views and is the largest dating site in the world was hosted on the founders (Marcus Frind) home computer for the first 6 months of its existence.
But hosting your own site is not practical if you’re trying to build a stable income stream from the Internet, particularly when quality web hosting is so affordable and reliable.
When you type a web address like YouTube.com into a web browser like Firefox whats happening is that you’re sending a request for a specific web page (YouTube.com) from a server run by a web hosting company from somewhere in the world.
This is a pretty mundane task, but for exceptionally busy websites serving millions of visitors a day with millions of pages (like YouTube) it requires a tremendous amount of computing power.
You yourself can host a website with the computer you’re reading this on now (isn’t that amazing?) but it’s not worth the hassle and effort to get it set up.
Your computer would need special software to serve requests for web pages, and it would need to be on 24/7 or your website would be off line when your computer is off, AND it would need to have enough power to handle requests from around the world.
In theory, sure why not. The world wide web is an open community and no one can stop you from doing what you wish (if you’re determined enough). But in practice – and for lack of a better word it’s stupid to host a site on your own.
There are several enormous challenges you must overcome:
A reliable computer.
That runs 24/7.
Has expensive and special web hosting software.
Is powerful enough to fulfill requests from around the world in under 5 seconds.
Has a special kind of connection to the Internet called a fixed IP address (your IP will change depending on where in the world you are logging in from).
Web hosting companies came into existence for this reason -> to fulfill a need in the market by specializing in providing fast, reliable 24/7 web hosting at an affordable price.
These commercial companies like Host Gator and Blue Host have become known as web hosts and they provide web hosting in the form of shared hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting.
To put it simply, you rent space on an industrial strength computer from a company. In turn that company takes care of the machine so you don’t have too and instead can worry about having your website reach a global audience.
But if you insist on learning how to host your own website, here is a solid guide.
A server is an industrial strength computer that stores the files for your website and is connected to the Internet 24/7.
Think of it like a tiny flash drive. When you plug that flash drive into a USB port on your computer and open a file you’re making a request for that data from the flash drive.
It’s much the same with a server except on a much more complex scale.
Your server has the websites files, a fixed IP address, and name servers defining that server.
Your website will have a fixed IP address too. At the domain registrar where you registered your site (Name Cheap) you simply define the name servers to that of your server.
So now when anyone goes to the IP address of your website or the name of your website a request will be made to the server where you files are and content will be delivered.
Blue Host is one of the more popular web hosts. As you can see in the below image there are different plans and options you can go with.
We will discuss in detail what each plan is in the side bar links. In a nut shell you are being guaranteed certain resources from your web host to support your web business. You are also being guaranteed that your website will be accessible (called “up-time” in the industry) to a percentage of 99.99% of the time.
Depending on the level you buy also determines how much traffic your server and website can handle. As your site grows it’s very easy to scale up your hosting to a point where you can potentially handle millions of visitors a month.