The Ultimate Webhosting FAQ

With so many different web hosting companies out there, and with everyone trying to sell their own particular brand, you're bound to run into a few instances where you aren't exactly sure what you're getting into, what exactly it is that you're being offered, or what benefits you can expect to get from a particular company or package. Here we've compiled a handy list of the most common questions that clients ask while they're on their hunt for the right web host.

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is a type of online business service in which you can rent storage space, bandwidth, RAM, and all their related software from a hosting company so that you can have your website up and running on the internet.

What is uptime?

Uptime refers to the amount of time your site is available to visitors and is up and running online throughout the month or year. The ideal figure is 100% uptime, but most web hosts provide at least 99.9% uptime guarantees to their customers.

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting is what you have when your site is run from a server that hosts numerous sites on the same server. Your site shares the processing power, memory, bandwidth, and overall computing power with all of the sites on the server that you share your server with. It is a reliable and cheap solution for sites that do not need special setups, security measures, or customizations.

What is managed hosting?

Running a website and having it up and online all the time takes a lot of work. You need to monitor and respond to hacks or attacks, system failures, traffic spikes, and the like. You also need to manage system resources, ensure there is enough processing power to run your site, enough storage space to save it, and it needs to be updated and checked on a regular basis.

What happens with managed plans is, your host takes care of all of those things for you. All you have to do is launch your site once, and they'll take care of everything for you. This is a great option for folks who are either not very tech savvy, or who do not want to have to spend the time it takes to regularly check up on things and address issues whenever they arise, which could be as frequently as several times a day, depending on the size of your site, or the amount of traffic it generates.

What is virtual private server (VPS) hosting?

This is a hosting setup in which computing resources are virtually compartmentalized and set up as a server on a larger computer somewhere. Computing resource requirements can be met in an automated fashion, so your virtual server can draw more and more (or less and less) computing power from a larger pool as and when it is needed. Such plans are almost as good as dedicated plans when it comes to control, security, customizability, and features, but they are much, much cheaper.

What is dedicated hosting?

This is a hosting setup in which a server is dedicated to a specific client or user, and the server's resources and storage space are not shared with anyone else. Dedicated plans are the ultimate when it comes to web hosting, and they are usually quite pricey and are used mostly by large corporations or companies and individuals who require very specific types of hosting setups, or who deal with sensitive data or who have privacy concerns.

What are Linux and Windows hosting?

Linux hosts run Linux as their OS, and Linux is free, so such hosts are usually a little cheaper than other options. Windows hosts run Windows as their OS, and Windows is not free, so such hosts are usually a little more expensive than other options. Use a Windows host if your site will use Microsoft technologies such as ASP, Access, or SQL. If you have no specific requirements for Windows servers, you might want to look into cheaper Linux options.

What is a database?

A database is a collection of data that is stored in such a way that it can be accessed or read by computer programs and can usually have complex data queries performed on it. To input, access, and then process data that is stored somewhere in a computer database, database management systems are used.

What is a domain?

A domain is the name of your website. It can contain letters as well as numbers.

How do you register domains?

First, you have to make sure that the domain is available and is not owned by someone else. There are numerous services that allow you to check the status of the domain name that you want to choose. Once you've been able to confirm that the domain is available and not owned by anyone else, you can register it and sign up with a host to have your new domain up on the internet. You can also register domains without launching them as formal websites.

Does moving hosts mean I have to change my domain?

No, it does not. As long as you have your domain registered on your name, all you have to do is update your servers to direct traffic to your new host.

Tell me about storage space, bandwidth, and data transfer

The amount of space needed to store the data of your website is what is referred to as storage space.

Bandwidth is the amount of data/information that your host allows you to transmit every month. This includes information that is uploaded to, as well as downloaded from, your website. Higher tiers of transfer allowances cost more money, but every hosting package comes with a certain minimum amount of allowed data transfer.

How do I sell things on my website?

Various tools and technologies can be used to sell things on your website. Magento is a commercial-focused tool used to develop online selling portals. Further, you can integrate PayPal, shopping carts, secure credit card checkout, and other solutions to your website so that customers and visitors can choose items that are displayed, and pay for them as well via a secure connection, after which the goods or your services are delivered to them.

How are websites measured for popularity?

There are a few different ways the popularity of websites is measured. These are as below.

  • Hits are the number of elements received from your site. Images count as an element.
  • Impressions are the same as page views, and they measure the number of times your page or pages are seen
  • Unique visitors are the number of people who have visited your website

Why can't I go for the cheapest hosting option that I can find?

Hosts sometimes limit the things you can do with your website by having data or visitor caps, or by running ad banners across your page. These are the kinds of hosts that provide services very cheaply, or even for free.

Also, such plans usually have limited security, are prone to going down, and are slow.

If you want to have a stable, reliable, and secure website, it's better to do a little research into what your goals and needs are, and to then choose a host that specializes in those areas, instead of going for the host that offers the cheapest plans.