The origins of web hosting services
Let’s start with a quick rundown of the history of the web. In the beginning, the internet was used exclusively for governmental and educational purposes. Later in the early ’90s, the internet became available to the general public with the creation of the world wide web. But as it was still a new thing, business owners wanting a website of their had to deal with the expensive and complicated process of registering and hosting it. The software industry has developed at warp speed since then, particularly over the last decade, making starting a website, blog, online portfolio, or online shop incredibly easy and cheap.
Anyone who has ever thought about having a website knows that would need to have its domain registered and somewhere to host it. An entire industry developed to help people, particularly small business owners, register and host their websites without a large upfront investment.
Comparing hosting services
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best web hosting services with a table at the top of our website comparing multiple hosting companies and their plans. To make your choice easier, we’ve prepared some tips on how to choose the best hosting company for your needs. Of course, we suggest that you call your chosen company to ask for advice on which plan they think best suits your requirements.
We suggest carefully comparing the following factors: bandwidth, server space, prices, and customer support.
Choosing a hosting service
It may seem simple at first glance, but the wide variety of website types — portfolios, company websites, educational institution homepages, and, online shops — all have different needs. For instance, online shops need to have security features for accepting payments and educational sites may need the ability for students to log into their accounts. Thus, you need to figure out what you need before you can choose a hosting service.
Types of web hosting
- Shared hosting - The oldest and cheapest option available provides all the necessary features for a basic website. Server resources are shared with other customers which means the traffic to other websites may affect the performance of yours. It is suitable for smaller sites like portfolios, blogs, personal/business sites, and database-driven sites.
- WordPress Hosting – This option hosts a website made using WordPress, an open-source platform popular for blogs but also used for many simple websites. Be sure that the hosting service meets the minimum requirements of WordPress.
- Virtual private server (VPS) - Perfect for websites that see a lot of traffic but not quite large enough for a dedicated server, a VPS is a hybrid between a shared server and a dedicated server. Your website is hosted on a virtualized server (like a private box) giving you full control over its settings. Your website’s speed also won’t depend on the traffic of other websites.
- Dedicated server - If your website needs a dedicated server, you probably know what you are doing already (or pay someone that does). This is by far the most expensive type of hosting service as your website gets a server all to itself. A dedicated server is needed for high-traffic or data-intensive websites and apps including those that offer streaming video or implement machine-learning.
- Cloud hosting – This service hosts your website on multiple different servers, often located in different parts of the world. This makes scaling your website or app incredibly easy. It also usually increased your website’s uptime since if one server fails others will be able to take over. Cloud hosting, more so than other types of hosting, can mean different things for different companies — so be sure to talk to a customer support member of the hosting company you choose to know exactly what their service includes.
- Hosting resellers – This is not a hosting service type itself, but instead is when someone buys hosting services and then resells it to others. Many apps do this as an add-on service for their product. It is also a great way for entrepreneurs to start a web hosting business.
Make sure you know what your needs are before choosing a hosting service. You don’t want to get stuck with a slow website because you choose the wrong service. You also don’t want to pay for more than you need. Also be sure to read the contract of your chosen hosting provider, talk with a customer service representative, and make sure all the features are clear before signing up.