What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting companies provide services that allow people to store files and post their website to the internet. They also provide a way for people on the internet to access your website.
They do this by taking a high-powered computer called a server, connecting it to the internet and selling people storage space on it. Each website on the server shares server resources like memory and processing power.
Web hosts offer different hosting plans that determine:
- How many websites share the same server.
- How many server resources you get – Storage space, processing power, memory etc.
- If you have access to the Operating System – Allows you to create custom configurations.
- Who will configure and maintain the server – You or your web host?
When looking for a web hosting plan, you’re looking for the right mix of server resources to keep your website running at peak performance without overspending.
You’re also looking for a plan that fits your technical ability. Some hosting packages may be easy to setup and manage while others might require knowledge of system administration.
Hosting plans can range from $3 a month for small websites to several thousand dollars a month for enterprise level websites.
Can I Host My Own Website?
You don’t need a web hosting provider to publish your website on the internet. You can host your own website if you have the know-how and a few things to help you. You’ll need to have:
- A domain name
- An internet connection (preferably a high-speed connection that’s always on).
- A computer with server software like Apache or IIS (aka a web server).
- A DNS service
- A router that lets you forward http requests to your web server (port forwarding).
Hosting your own website is beyond the scope of this page and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than a hobby site with little to no traffic.
Even if you have the system administration skills to setup your own web server, it’s just cheaper and much easier to purchase a hosting plan.
How Do I Choose a Web Hosting Service?
Find the Best Web Hosting Company
There are a lot of web hosting services to choose from. Each of them provides similar services but try to differentiate themselves by appealing to certain customers.
Some services might focus on providing the plans for businesses while others might focus on being the cheapest hosting provider. The Web Hosting Service that you choose depends on what your budget, needs and technical ability are.
Start by thinking about what you need from a web hosting company then look at a list of the best hosting companies and find one that fits your needs.
Learn About Different Types of Web Hosting
The first time you go to a web hosting providers web page, you’ll notice that there are several types of web hosting packages. Each package requires different skill levels and provides different kinds of services for different kinds of websites. You can’t just shop based on price.
You need to know what the different packages offer, and which one is best for you. If you’re new to web hosting learn more about the different types of web hosting before purchasing a web hosting package.
Can I Host a Website for Free?
There are a handful of web hosting companies that will let you host your website for free. The best free web hosting provider is Infinityfree. For a free web hosting provider, it’s pretty impressive. You get unlimited bandwidth and storage, over 400 free applications via Softaculous, 400 databases, Free DNS, an SSL certificate and a cPanel control panel.
Although Infinityfree is pretty impressive for a free web hosting service, we wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than learning about web hosting. The website speed is very slow and there’s no guarantee of uptime. A cheap alternative to free web hosting is Hostinger’s Single Shared Hosting plan for as little as .99 cents a month.