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What is a Web Host and Why Picking the Right One is Essential for a Healthy Website

Web hosting service is one that provides the capability to individuals and businesses to create a website and allow it to be viewed online. These websites are stored in servers, different types of which make for varying degrees of functionality depending on storage capacity, levels of technological expertise, and speed. Essentially, the web host is the bedrock or the foundation that can either make or break a website. The reliability and health of a website depends on how good–how secure, how fast, how capable storage-wise–the web host is.

Nobody wants a website that crashes every week. Especially when the website is meant for business and dealing with financial transactions. Making sure this doesn’t happen more often than not depends on whether your host can handle it.

The kind of website you will create will dictate the functionality that you need. The following are the most basic types of web hosting that you will likely encounter.

Shared Hosting

This is by far the most common and most widely used type of web hosting, largely because it’s very cheap. Most shared hosting providers can be availed for roughly $10 a month. In this type of hosting, several websites share storage space in one server. This can be compared to shared housing, where one can have their own room but the amenities are shared by all.

Those who opt for this type do so mainly because it’s cheap. It’s most often also quite easy to use because the server is often pre-configured and you basically have to wait for the hosting provider to do the maintenance for you.

The downside with this, however, is the very fact that it’s shared. While the server may be a very powerful one, its storage space and capacity tends to be spread a bit too thinly among its clients, which creates issues in security, reliability and performance. Also, because the service is so cheap, there is a tendency that maintenance, security, and other features become compromised.

However, when you’re just starting out and web traffic is not as heavy, this may be a good place to start.

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Semi-Private Hosting

Like shared hosting, this semi-private hosting tends to be more affordable, as the server costs, such as server licensing, are shared among several clients. However, semi-private hosts usually cater to fewer clients as compared with shared hosts, which means that they tend to be better in terms of storage space and sharing among clients.

For many, semi-private is the sweet spot. If done correctly you can find an affordable server without compromising very much on security, performance and reliability.

Both semi-private and shared hosting are not ideal choices for websites with heavy traffic and that need greater functionality. However, with semi-private hosts, one usually has more flexibility with specifications.

Since as a rule, semi-private hosts cater to fewer websites, there are technically less risks when it comes to malwares and other similar security breaches. Although it cannot be denied that whatever the hosting service is, there is always a security risk.

Virtual Private Server

The Virtual Private Server or VPS is a hosting service that behaves like a dedicated server even though technically it’s not. It works by simulating a dedicated virtual environment by using a hypervisor so that every client will appear to be enjoying a dedicated server. In other words, a VPS virtually acts exactly as a single, dedicated server but in actuality its physical resources can be powering other virtual machines (though they are not ‘sharing resources’ in the same problematic way shared hosts would be).

In this case, clients also share the same server, but they just don’t feel like they do. The cost is relatively cheaper as compared to a dedicated server because server costs are still shared among several clients, but VPS’ are considered their own server so you wouldn’t be able to break up software licensing costs as you would for shared servers. The good thing is the functionality will also differ significantly from that of a shared hosting platform because clients get to enjoy greater memory and faster speeds.

Dedicated Hosting

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This is the king of the game. This is the type of hosting that will be best for websites that have very heavy traffic and deal with a lot of sensitive information. Unlike with a virtual private server, one server hosts only one client. Therefore, the website enjoys full capacity of the server without competing with other users on the same platform.

One of the main advantages in dedicated hosting is its security and reliability. When there is only one website on a server, resources and data are managed with better efficiency, which means that security threats, data leaks, and the like are greatly reduced. Not to mention the speeds that you get to enjoy–there is no virtual layer, no sharing of resources.

The level of customization and functionality that is available with a dedicated hosting, however comes at a cost. Servers like such are usually managed by professionals and require more fine tuning. But for e-commerce websites and others dealing in sensitive data, the benefits will outweigh the cost anytime.

Michael Peres
Written By

Michael Peres is a Writer at Yolo Daily, the #1 Digital Publication For Millennial News. Based in Seattle, Michael covers topics relating to tech and entrepreneurship.

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