We live in the age of “The Internet”. Today everyone wants their business to be online. Having an online website gives a face to your business and helps attract more customers. Nowadays it is very easy and affordable to own a website. CMS platforms like WordPress are absolutely free and easy to use. Domain costs are getting cheaper by the day and a good shared hosting account doesn’t cost a lot. It has come to a point that anyone can have their piece of land on the World Wide Web. But not having proper knowledge about web hosting and its services can lead to loss of your precious time and money.

So let’s get started.

Probably the first question popping in your head right now would be- what hosting really is???

In the simplest words, Web hosting is a place where individuals or organizations place their websites and get a bunch of services that are provided by the web hosting company.

When we talk about web hosting, it simply means a company that is providing server space to host files for your website as well as providing internet connectivity so that the other computers can access the files on your website.

Basically a website is a collation of various computer files (HTML files, images, videos, etc.) that are interlinked together. To put up and share all these files on the internet, a server with high speed internet connection is required.

Now let’s look at the types of web hosting,

There are three different types of web hosting: Shared, dedicated and cloud hosting. While all types of hosting servers act as a storage center for your website but they differ in the amount of storage capacity, network speed, server speed and reliability. Let’s look at them one by one.

Shared Hosting– In shared hosting a website is placed on the same server as many other sites. Server resources like RAM and CPU are shared. As the costs for a shared hosting are extremely low, websites with moderate traffic are hosted on this type of server. Single domain static websites with minimum storage requirements and standard corporate websites or portals that do not expect high traffic should opt for shared server hosting.

Dedicated Hosting– A dedicated server offers the maximum control over the web server your website is hosted on, as you exclusively rent an entire server. Your website is the only website stored on the server. Websites or applications that need more capacity, burstable activity, support more than one domain or run multiple applications (such as blog, portal, intranet, etc.) should go for a dedicated server.

Cloud hosting– In cloud hosting, a team of servers and network resources, which is also called a “cloud” works together to host a complex web application. This allows multiple servers to work together to handle high traffic levels for a particular web application and offers unlimited ability to handle high traffic or sudden traffic spikes. This is synonymous to auto scaling.

Now the question arises that how to find the right hosting plan for your website?

Selecting the right web host for your web application is an important undertaking beyond finding the right web host. It is also a matter of digging through different hosting features. Let’s look at some hosting features to better help your understanding.
The three main features you should look for in a hosting plan are services, support and accessibility.

Shared Plan: In a shared plan your website resides on a server with many other websites. You share the services with other websites

Services

CPU– This is the core of any server and it refers to the processing power. For instance when people are searching for products on an ecommerce website, the processing speed gets affected and makes the website slow, so in case of complex transactions you need higher processing power.

Network– Network comes into play when the data is in transition. It is basically the bandwidth (the amount of data network can hold during transition) which decides the number of users relative to your web page size that can be catered to concurrently.

Disk space– It is the space provided on the server to the client by the hosting company for the website to store their assets (files, images etc.)

Support

Managed Backup– Simply put backup means taking a copy of your disk space. The difference between a normal backup and a managed backup is that in case of a simple backup you have to do the backup yourself, whereas in case of managed backup the hosting company does it for you.
Having a backup of your disk space is very important in case your hosted website faces some issues. Generally what happens is that companies take weekly or monthly backups. But let’s say you encountered a problem on 27th day of the month but when they restore from the backup you lose the data between the last backup and 27th day. The ideal situation should be that your hosting company is taking daily backups and that data is being retained for at least 7 days.

Phone and Email support– Phone/Email support is an option that gives the client a way to directly contact the hosting company in case of an emergency.

Server monitoring– Monitoring is a proactive approach of monitoring servers on different parameters and services like disc space, CPU, network, memory etc. It helps identifying problems and solving them before they give rise to a disaster.

Dedicated plan: All the other services provided in the dedicated plan are same as the shared plan except the RAM. In shared plan you get prefixed RAM but in dedicated plan you can choose how much RAM you want.

RAM– This is the fast memory which stores temporary data for processing. Before the data is sent over to network it is stored temporarily and computed upon in RAM.

There are various plans with different specifications of the above mentioned services. There are a lot of options that you can choose from that best cater to your needs.

Accessibility: In an ideal hosting scenario a client should have complete access to their data. The client should be provided direct control panel access for management of the domain, email accounts, files, users and other settings for the clients account. The only downside to this is that if the client is not technically sound, any wrong step by the client can break the website.

Custom development: Custom development is a different service altogether and does not come under hosting.
It is a service that is not provided by most hosting companies.

Generally what happens is that the client is stuck between the developer and the server company. For example if he wants to add new feature he has to go to the developer then come back to the hosting company to get the changes updated.

At SourceFuse we provide custom development which helps bridge this gap as we have a team of in house developers and no matter if the website is CMS or Magento, we can manage apps for you. We also give first two hours of custom development absolutely free!!!

Now you have a pretty good idea about web hosting and its services.
So, “CHOOSE WISELY”…

Ashish kaushik, Cyber Security Enthusiast, Cloud Evangelist and an Open Source Contributor. Speaker at Various InfoSec conferences. Successfully Patched Many Compromised Applications and Servers. Loves Riding on Highways and is addicted to the flavor of cinnamon.