People usually tend to focus on web design and domain name, but not on web hosting. Regardless, virtually everything we see online –including this website, tweets, memes, and online games – are all live on a server that is kept by individuals and companies for us to access them. Web hosting is indeed a vital yet invisible element of our online experience.
Looking to launch your website? If so, you need to know some basic web hosting aspects that you need to be familiar with before proceeding. Here are five of the things most people don’t know about web hosting.
Hosting types can differ a lot from each other
If you spend a few minutes on a web host’s website you’ll notice terms like shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud, reseller, and others. These are different web hosting types, and every online entity will require a different solution.
Most web hosts offer shared hosting, which is the cheapest type of web hosting. Shared hosting means that you share a server’s resources with many other sites. If you have a small budget and don’t expect much traffic, this is the way to go. Bigger businesses that have bigger traffic to their sites should consider VPS or dedicated hosting since each offer has increasing powerful server capabilities. VPS is a high-powered version of shared hosting with far fewer websites sharing a server’s resources.
Some web hosting and domain companies even offer integrated SEO services, which help your website to rise in organic search ranking on search engines like Google. For example, a law firm could rank the phrase “Austin truck accident attorney” to try and drive more clients to its business. In the end, you will have to decide whether you purchase a web hosting or domain setup with these extra features.
Bandwidth differs from data transfer
Bandwidth and data transfer are oftentimes used interchangeably to describe the amount of data that a website serves visitors, but the terms, technically, have a different definition.
Bandwidth shows the total amount of data that’s transferrable at one time, while data transfer is the quantity or the actual amount of information that’s used over a specific period—usually a month. A web host may have a maximum of 10GB bandwidth, but based on a hosting plan, a site may only allow 2GB of data transfers per month.
If a user exceeds the allowance, a web host may slow the site’s data transfer speeds or charge a fee as a penalty. It may also prompt you to upgrade to a higher web hosting type. Therefore, you need to understand your site’s data limitations before running into situations like this.
No such thing as real unlimited
Many web hosts will entice users to sign up for their web hosting plans by tempting them with “unlimited” storage or monthly data transfers. It’s usually not the truth. While they’re not straight-up lying, “unlimited” storage or data transfers often always have limitations that vary by company. For instance, they may offer unlimited disk space with no cap on a user’s content, but only as long as the user remains fully compliant with the terms of service and uses the storage of your website.
Consult a web host’s terms of service, or talk with their customer service representative, to know exactly your limitations within the scope of the unlimited offering.
The issue with Solid-State Drive/Hard Disk Drive
In a shared web hosting plan, a user will likely receive a space on a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) server. The HDD-based server offers huge storage space at a more affordable cost. Hence, moving to a more powerful hosting solution like VPS where you will be given the option to build a site on solid-state drives (SSD).
SSD-based servers are significantly faster and more expensive, which is why servers are offering this in a more limited edition than HDDs. 1TB SSD servers are still few, which is a storage space common for HDDs.
Using Linux Server is sufficient in most cases
Most web hosts offer Linux as the operating system for servers. Even people with no familiarity with Linux will find it easy to use it to build a website in order to make the process simple and fast.
Regardless, if your site requires the ASP or ASP.NET scripting frameworks, it will need to run with the Windows Server operating system since the script and webpages produced will only function in a Windows-based environment.