Like anything new, starting your website can seem intimidating. That's why we know as a web host you have to be more than a place to store files. You have to help when things get too mysterious and provide the best tools and information to help you get in gear as easy as possible.
Starting a website is easy, but you'll need at least two things to get started. Domain registration (which is your name/web address on the Internet) and some sort of web hosting (the home/place where your website's files are stored). When you combine both, your website will be live on the Internet.
Domain registration is a process that basically makes you a partial owner of the world wide web (AKA Internet). It turns numbers into a nice term you can use to recognize your website. Without domain registration your domain would have to be seen as an IP number or sub-domain (sub.domain.com). When you register a domain name, then that becomes your IP (Internet Protocol) once it's linked to your web hosting account.
A web host is a place where you store the files (information) of your web site so that it may be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. This is often a computer with storage space and a permanent connection to the Internet. Your website will not work on a computer unless it is permanently connected to the Internet for all to see. I like to describe web hosting as a piece of land where you can build your house on the Internet.
There's four main types of web hosting spaces: Dedicated servers, VPS, reseller hosting, and shared web hosting. Free web hosting or space is just a type of shared hosting. There's a significant difference in the features included with your web space. Connection speed is also an important issue for E-commerce and a website's ability to gain repeat visitors. A single server can only process so much information and transmit it per second to the Internet. It's important that your web hosting provider does not over-sell their servers. This can easily be identified by web hosts offering unlimited domains, space, and bandwidth offers. Obviously it's not possible to provide everything unlimited with web hosting. Price is not always a guide to quality, especially if you want to make money with your website.
A dedicated server is a single computer or clustered CPU that is permanently connected to the Internet, kept and maintained by the web hosting company. You may be able to configure the storage capacity and may have the flexibility to configure the software on the computer to suit your needs. The server can be used for a single large website or split up into various websites depending on your requirements. You can add as much software as you see fit to do things like server-side scripting i.e. automatically generate web pages, databases, E-commerce, etc. or resell portions of the server to others.
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A virtual private server (VPS) is a virtual machine that runs just like a dedicated server. It just shares the resources of a server or cloud cluster. A VPS runs its own copy of an operating system (OS). Users may have superuser-level access to that operating system instance, so they can install almost any software that runs on that OS. VPS is much more flexible and powerful than shared web hosting, but VPS also has more responsibility.
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Reseller hosting is a form of shared web hosting where the account owner has the ability to use his or her allotted hard drive space and bandwidth to host websites on behalf of third parties. The reseller purchases the web host's services wholesale and then sells them to customers, normally for a profit. Reseller web hosting is also used commonly for customers that have several websites and want to allow all of them to have their own access and power use.
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A shared web host is part of a dedicated server or cloud server cluster. The websites share the resources on the computer with multiple users. The more websites on the host computer, the more likely it is for the server to slow down or have connection problems. Issues of reliability come into play when shared servers are not managed well, that is why we offer web hosting with much less people per server than most web hosts. Our target is webmasters that seek fast loading web pages and superior performance. Shared web hosting is often a lot cheaper than a dedicated server. Some high quality shared hosts often have a limit on websites per server and contain just as many features as dedicated hosts.
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Free web hosting is a type of shared web hosting. Due to the large amount of subscribers to ISP's, a dedicated server is fragmented to provide each of its clients with their free web space. 1000's of websites may be running on one server constantly maxing out each account's limit and slowing down the server. Most free hosting services also have strict content and script restrictions that may cause issues. Free web hosting is suitable for only the most basic of websites that have no concern for a professional image, uptime, or performance. Attaching a domain name to the site may not be possible as well.
With today's easy IP masking services, you can run a website from your computer pretty easy. The issue though is the technical side of running the server, securing the server, paying for licenses, and power use. If you want to learn about web hosting and are not too worried performance and reliability, hosting a website at home is a good way to start. In the end though, if you factor the effort, fees, and wear on your computer, it's not normally worth it.
Shared hosting otherwise known as just "web hosting" is the most popular with well over 40 million web hosting accounts on the Internet. Once your site grows and needs more power, customers tend to upgrade to VPS or a dedicated server. (stats last updated on 10/2019)
The most important things to know is that you need domain registration and web hosting to have a website on the Internet. From there, you'll need a web builder to create the site. Most websites are built with easy to use online website builders like our Website Builder and WordPress. High-end professional websites are usually built with a program on your computer like Dreamweaver, but this method is much more difficult and expensive to do.