A person leaning against a glass case with technology inside to help answer the question "what is web hosting?"

From behemoths like Amazon and Facebook down to local clubs and societies, everyone with a website needs web hosting. It’s the hardware that stores the files, databases, and everything else that makes a site work, and it’s responsible for serving that information to visitors, preferably as quickly as possible.

While anyone with the correct hardware could theoretically host a website, specialist companies often take care of it. Some host sites exclusively, while others do so alongside complementary services – just like we do here at Vervology.

Funny enough, Amazon itself is one of the top three largest hosting companies in the world. Amazon Web Services hosts 8.9% of websites globally, serving the likes of Samsung, McDonald’s, and Netflix.

However, for consumers and small businesses, it often makes sense to focus on price, performance, and a personal touch. The chances are most smaller companies are not streaming over 6 billion hours of movies and TV shows across the US each month, and your website will perform perfectly with a more modest plan with a reputable company.

That's the focus of today's article. We will answer the common question, “what is web hosting?” and talk about a few of the options businesses have.

Types of Web Hosting

Consumer web hosting, alongside the best solutions for small and mid-size businesses, usually falls into one of four categories. Which is suitable for any given company depends mainly on what you need your website to do, although each certainly serves a purpose.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is like an apartment block for websites. There are multiple residents, and, in some cases, that means sharing resources.

This is the most popular form of web hosting, with an estimated 31.7% of all websites residing on this kind of storage. There’s one physical server, and everyone with a site hosted there has their own login credentials. It’s great for smaller sites with just a few dozen visitors each day, and upgrading for more power is usually just a case of dropping an email over to your service provider.

Shared resources can, of course, have implications for more significant sites. Most shared plans don’t ringfence processing power and other considerations. If another site on the same server is hitting record traffic numbers, that can result in a drop in performance for everyone else.

Nevertheless, this is the cheapest option, and also the easiest, with almost everything configured for you in advance.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

To continue the analogy, a VPS is also like an apartment block, but with thicker walls and more robust locks on the door. This type of hosting accounts for just over 10% of the world’s websites and serves as a middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting.

Once again, your site shares a physical server with several others. However, it’s configured in such a way that your area is, for all intents and purposes, the owner’s alone. Different sites can’t interact – unless business owners want them to – and they have complete control over operating systems and other technology behind the scenes.

Crucially, businesses also have complete control over resources and can expect to receive whatever’s advertised at all times. If another site hits those record traffic numbers, good for them. It has no impact on your site’s performance as they can’t dip into your computing power like they could on shared hosting.

Dedicated Hosting

Our analogy has moved out of the apartment block and into a house of its own with dedicated hosting. This type of hosting equates to renting the entire server, and, with most hosting companies, it’s the customer’s to do with as they please.

If you need space, speed, and security, this is the type of hosting to go for. You can tweak and meddle to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that your site can handle everything visitors can throw at it – at least up to a plan’s limits. If an upgrade is needed, it often involves literally swapping out the hardware on the server, but it won’t interfere with anyone else’s uptime in the process.

Cloud Hosting

As fanciful as it sounds, cloud hosting still involves physically hosting files and databases, but it does so on a virtual partition. The critical difference between this type of hosting and those mentioned previously is that sites are often spread across multiple servers.

The most significant advantage is scalability – websites hosted in this way can access more resources as required and have multiple servers to draw upon when traffic increases. However, that advantage also leads to the primary disadvantage. Many cloud plans follow pay-as-you-go pricing, so it’s important to know that an equally healthy revenue increase accompanies any sharp increase in traffic.

Managed or Unmanaged Hosting?

For anyone considering moving hosts or launching a website for the first time, another crucial consideration is opting for managed or unmanaged web hosting.

It’s not a difficult decision to make – they simply have to ask themselves one question: “Am I comfortable being a network administrator?”

If they know their PHP from your TinyCP, it can be worth getting their hands dirty. If not, they’re better off leaving it to the experts.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Web Hosting

The chances are, if you’ve gone to the trouble of having a website made for your business, you expect it to be online as much as possible. Of course, hosting isn’t the only factor in uptime – a June 2021 issue with content delivery network Fastly famously took the likes of the BBC, Reddit, and the New York Times offline – but it’s a definite weak point if overlooked.

The quality of your host also has a direct bearing on the most important people of all, the visitors.

Ideally, your web host will guarantee:

Speed: For an outstanding visitor experience and higher rankings on search engines

Capacity: If your traffic increases rapidly and unexpectedly, your hosting needs to keep up

Uptime: When your site’s offline, you’re not making sales, sharing information, or otherwise achieving your goals

Security: If you handle transactions or store visitor data, it’s your responsibility to keep it safe from prying eyes. Even if you don’t, you want to maintain the integrity of your website, as lapses and leaks can do more than damage your reputation

There are, of course, other non-technical considerations. Anyone that has never hosted a site before might need help.

Cost also factors into the decision too. Thinking that third-party hosting has to be expensive is one of several web hosting myths, and it’s entirely possible to find the perfect package for any business needs without breaking the bank.

What is Web Hosting With Vervology?

We’ve designed our web hosting and management packages to not only meet the needs of businesses but to achieve real results. We’ll physically store and protect files and work with you to ensure that your website becomes an integral part of your sales, marketing, and branding functions.

Vervology takes the concept of managed hosting to another level, taking care of as much of the overall online presence as required. From keeping sites secure with software updates to optimizing design content for enhanced online visibility, our packages span keeping a site online then ensuring it works for you across search, advertising, and social media.

To find out more about how Vervology can revolutionize web hosting for your business, boost your bottom line, and leave you more time to focus on the things that matter, get in touch for a chat.