What is Hosting? Why do I need it?

A Web Hosting Server (aka web server/server/hosting/host, etc.) is a special kind of computer that's designed to "serve" files and programs on the Internet (most often files for a website.)

Most web hosting servers are located in a giant data center somewhere, but they can be setup pretty much anywhere, as long as you have power and an Internet connection, even a closet. (Note: We strongly recommend that you host your website professionally, and not in a closet somewhere!)

I already have a Domain Name. Why do I need Hosting?

A Domain Name is actually just a placeholder, a quick way to find a particular location on the interenet. After you register a domain, you can do a number of things with it. But the basics are as follows: You can Park the domain, Point the domain, or Host the domain.

Domain Parking is just like it sounds, it's a simple way to leave a domain sort of just sitting out there on the Internet until it's ready to be used another way.

Domain Pointing is a when you use your domain to quickly get to another place on the Internet. For example, you could register MyBlogDomain.com and point it to myblog.wordpress.com so that your readers can get to your blog easier by just typing in your domain name in their browser's URL bar. Note there are different ways you can point a domain, some better than others.

Domain Hosting is when you attach your domain to a particular space on a special kind of computer called a "web hosting server" or web server/server, generally so you can build a website and have visitors easily find it by using your domain name. Hosting your domain is the best way to get the most out of it, as you can do much more with your domain when you host it with a reliable web hosting provider.

If you want to have a domain AND a website, you will need to host it somewhere.

Shared Hosting vs. VPS vs. Dedicated Server - What's the Difference?

Most websites starting out on the Internet today are hosted by a web hosting company on what's called a Shared Web Hosting account. What the term "shared hosting" basically means, is that the web hosting company sets up special types of web servers to handle more than one website, for more than one client - many more in fact.

What this means to you is that the physical resources of the web server (computer) are shared among the many users, and this type of configuration has certain "shared effects" as well. In other words, when your website is hosted on a shared web server, many other website owners are also hosting their websites on the same web server (computer) as you are. So when one of those other websites gets a lot of traffic, needs a lot of memory or CPU usage, etc. your website will likely slow down as a result. Likewise, when your website is using these resources heavily, the other websites on the shared server will suffer performance wise, too.

This type of shared web hosting configuration is not neccessarily a bad way to host your website, especially if you are just starting out. Your website will likely not require more resources than what a shared web hosting account will provide you with.

However, do keep in mind that not all shared web hosting accounts are created equal. In fact, some web hosting companies actually try to fit as many clients onto one web hosting server as they possibly can, meaning that you could literally be sharing a web server with thousands - possibly even tens of thousands - of other website owners. And the more websites that are hosted on a single web server, the more profit for the web hosting company, of course. But the less resources for your website to have access to when they are needed.

So make sure that if you want to host your website with a shared web hosting service, that you don't just go for the lowest priced service - it may end up costing you much more than you might realize, in both performance, and possibly even lost sales. You'll save much more in the long run for your business by hosting with a reliable, trusted provider than you will by skimping on hosting resources by using a "cheaper" web hosting service.

West County Media offers professional WordPress Website Hosting packages, as well as VPS, Dedicated and Reseller Hosting Services via our Hosting Solution Partner InMotion Hosting.

Upgrading from Shared Hosting

The next step up from a shared web hosting account is what is called a Virtual Private Server or "VPS" account. This type of configuration gives your website a little more "elbow room" because you are allocated (ie. guaranteed) much more of the shared hosting server's resources than in a standard shared hosting account, and there are usually far fewer users hosting on that computer as well. Even though it is still technically a shared hosting style server configuration, your space on a VPS account acts like it were a Dedicated Server, which is the next step up from a VPS account.

A Dedicated Server is a web hosting server that is not shared by any other clients, it is 100% dedicated to your website. You don't share any of the resources, they are all yours to use as you see fit. And just like with a VPS, a Dedicated Server allows you (or your developer) full administrative control, unlike a shared hosting environment which is far more limited in what you can do with it, what types of programs you can install and run, etc. With a Dedicated Server, you are only limited by your budget and your imagination. Dedicated Servers are for clients who are very, very serious about their website's performance and capabilities.

Cloud Hosting is a term that refers to configuring many dedicated servers together (aka server clustering) to act in unison as a redundant network so that your data is always accessible and available, even if one or more of the servers fail. This is how many large tech companies such as Google and Amazon, etc. are able to provide such high levels of service performance, by using many dedicated servers together to ensure service availability at all times. Cloud Hosting services are for clients who are very, very serious about their website performance, but also require redundancy and immediate scalability.

The good news is that West County Media can help you with all of your hosting needs, so just contact us for help choosing the right type of hosting for you.

And after you get your domain hosted on a web server, you will likely want to build a website - and of course, West County Media can help you with that, too!

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