Guide to Web Hosting
Want to know what web hosting is? A web host provides you a server so your website or blog can be shown publicly on the internet.
A server is a computer with special server software which enable’s your website to ‘go live’ as it is connected to the entire world wide web.
Your files which make up your website and the databases which store your content need to be transferred by FTP to your hosts web servers for this is to happen.
This image shows a typical setup for a large web host which own multiple server racks and their own data centre as you can see in this image.
The larger web hosts own their servers and manage their own data centre’s which contain the computers and server software. These computers contain the files and databases of your website which are hosted on the internet.
Smaller web hosts rent server space from a data centre and then resell that space as shared hosting to end users. Each server contains many boxes which typically contain 4 shared hosting accounts per box. This reduces the cost for the end user however it also limits the amount of resources (space, bandwith etc) which each shared hosting account can receive.
Most hosts offer a control panel to manage your account on their web server. This interface varies depending on which hosting plan you choose however the most common and easiest to use is called cPanel. cPanel (web hosting control panel) allows you to easily manage your hosting account, install software (scripts like eCommerce, email and website file manager) as well as databases.
Types of Hosting
Shared hosting is the most popular as its the the most affordable for the average wage earner. You can also pay yearly which is normally cheaper than monthly. Your website will be hosted on a server which contains many others depending on which host you choose. Resources like CPU and RAM are also shared amongst all the sites on that server. This can cause your site to become throttled and even suffer downtown if you use too many of the shared resources. Shared hosting is also offered by resellers who rent server space from the larger hosts.
Allows the account holder to resell hosting themselves. This may be achieved by renting a VPS, Dedicated or special reseller hosting package which enabled the client to offer web hosting services. Many web designers offer reselling hosting and provide the ongoing technical support to their clients. There are millions of resellers offering web hosting under their own brand, administration and management.
Virtual Dedicated Server
Also known as Virtual Private Server or more commonly, VPS hosting. VPS offers far more resources and power than shared hosting and offers the functionally equivalent to a separate physical computer, is dedicated to the individual customer’s needs and has the privacy of a separate physical computer. VPS includes a WHM control panel which is used to allocate resources to new accounts for each site or customer you resell to as well as your own sites. Each account you create with WHM includes an individual cPanel.
You can rent your own entire web server all for yourself and host as many sites as you like with full control. Dedicated web hosting means you rent the entire server which is normally managed by the web hosting company who normally offers full technical support depending on which plan you choose. You can also rent a dedicated server without any administration control panel or technical support which is cheaper (as long as you know what to do).
This type of hosting is fairly new and allows customers powerful, scalable and reliable hosting based on a cluster of servers. When you transfer your website to the cloud you get better reliability and won’t suffer downtime or throttling due to over use of resources, technical issues or even power failure. Cloud hosting providers are then able to offer you web hosting so you only pay for the resources you use rather than a flat monthly or yearly fee which you would pay if using any of the other hosting types.
Choosing the best web hosting for you
Its important to choose the best web hosting for your needs so you avoid any major problems down the track. Choosing a hosting plan which fits in perfectly with your needs now and in the future helps make you whole online experience enjoyable and a success.
To run WordPress properly your host needs the following:
PHP version 5.2.4 or greater
MySQL version 5.0 or greater
Apache servers are the best and all of these web hosts fully supports these minimum WordPress requirements as well as many other benefits for WordPress bloggers including 24/7 technical support and simple one click software installation including WordPress.
I’ve dealt with several of the best web hosting providers and in my opinion these 3 are the best web hosts for WordPress users.
Personally i use Bluehost PRO & Hostgator shared hosting. I have tried VPS and decided the Bluehost Pro plan a better deal as its less than half the price yet provides 80% more resources than a standard shared hosting package. It also offers a free auto site backup & restore service. You can start with a basic shared hosting plan and then upgrade when you need to rather than having to upgrade to VPS which is far more expensive and complicated.
Looking for a free hosted blog? WordPress.com is the best free hosted blogging platform and you can even use your own domain.