As the World Wide Web is becoming an integral part of everyone’s life, the time has arrived when you should establish an online presence of your personal or business entity. The presence can be in the form of a blog or a website or a portal. And to establish any of these, you need to invest in web hosting.
If you are unfamiliar with this term – web hosting – you have arrived at the right place. Here, you will learn about web hosting, types of web hosting, its common features, and how does it work. Once you have sufficient knowledge about web hosting, you will be able to purchase a suitable web hosting package from one of the best web hosting companies in India.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service wherein your website is stored in servers that are connected to the internet. When an internet user types your website name, the servers respond to the request by displaying your website on the web browser. This is the standard definition of web hosting. Let us discuss the concept of web hosting in detail.
Your website or a blog is a collection of data comprising of HTML files, CSS files, photos, videos, and so on. As every substance requires space to exist, the same is applicable for website data as well. For example, you store your documents, images, and videos on the hard drive of your computer. You can access these at your will, whenever you have access to the system. Just as your data is stored locally on hard drives, website data is stored in off-site servers.
The servers act as storage equipment where website data is stored. These are managed by the web host, also known as the web hosting provider. The web host is responsible for the configuration and optimization of these servers. The servers can exist in the form of computer systems as they are capable of processing website data. The servers comprise of the following components:
- Motherboard – A circuit board that connects all the components of a server, and ensures seamless functioning of the complete system.
- Central Processing Unit (CPU) – The processor determines the performance of the servers. If the motherboard connects all the components, the processor controls the performance of all these components.
- Hard Drive – As evident by the name, hard drives are used to store data. The hard drives can either be SATA drives or SSD drives, the latter being more efficient.
- RAM – The Random Access Memory (RAM) is responsible for storing data temporarily, in the current state, when the data is in the “working mode”. For example, if the website is opened on a system, the RAM is deployed for showing the current information.
- Port – It creates a gateway through which data is transferred. The port determines the speed and efficiency of data transfer. The port speed is mentioned in gigabytes (GB).
In web hosting, the servers are connected to the internet. So whenever a visitor, anywhere around the globe, types the website name, also called a domain name, in the web browser, the website will load in the browser. The whole concept of storing website data on the servers and managing the process so that website works seamlessly is known as web hosting.
How does Web Hosting Work?
Now you know that web hosting deals with storing a website on servers that are connected to the internet. This makes your website available to visitors from around the globe. But how does a visitor can access a particular website from his or her desktop? Let us analyze the functioning of web hosting.
The process starts with you purchasing a domain name for your website. To register a domain name, you have to select a unique name that suits your nature of work and that’s not already taken. There are some premium domain names as well but they are available at an exorbitant price. The decision is solely yours, whether you want to buy a unique, available domain name or a premium domain name. So let’s assume, you purchased a domain name – bikebros.com – from a domain registrar. This will be the identity of your website.
Now your website will be hosted on a server. This server has its own identity in the form of an IP address, somewhat like 50.34.897.654. The IP address is the identity as well as the address of the device on the World Wide Web. The server, on which the website is hosted, determines the IP address of the website. The IP addresses can either be static or dynamic. In most of the cases, dynamic IP addresses – that keeps on changing – are allotted to the devices.
The IP address denotes the actual location of the website where the data resides. But to remember an IP address is a tough task. A user cannot type or remember IP addresses every time he or she wants to visit websites. Therefore, a domain name, an alphabetical or alphanumerical combination, is used as an alias for an IP address.
But who is responsible for mapping domain names to IP addresses? When the visitor types the website name in the browser, the command must be routed to the server hosting the website. How is this done? This is where the domain name server or domain name system (DNS) comes into limelight.
The DNS is a server, or a computer, responsible for routing commands to the servers storing the websites. It serves as an address book, wherein, an internet user types a domain name, the web browser locates the IP address of the domain name in the DNS, and then the website pops up in the web browser.
So let’s say a visitor types a website name in the browser, the DNS will direct the command to the particular server that hosts the website. The DNS is responsible for successfully locating the website on the server so that the visitor sees the particular website on his or her system. This is how web hosting works.
Linux vs Windows Web Hosting
Linux web hosting means that the service provider hosts website data on servers running on Linux operating system. Linux is a free open source system that can be configured easily by the hosting providers. Moreover, most of the scripts and technologies like WordPress, PHP, MySQL, Python, Perl, CGI, Dreamweaver, and others are compatible with Linux OS. And since Linux is available for free of cost, the Linux web hosting is affordable for the buyers. This is the reason shared web hosting is generally provided on Linux servers.
Advantages of Linux Hosting
- Enhanced Security – Linux OS renders a greater scope of customization when it comes to security protocols. Linux is also less prone to malware attacks.
- Robust Stability – There is a seldom need to reboot Linux servers and a better uptime also eliminates the possibility of shutdowns.
- Greater Flexibility – Since it’s an open-source platform, it offers flexibility to developers. It supports the majority of web applications, thereby, ensuring enhanced usability.
- Affordable – Linux is available for free of cost, maintenance cost is low, and free access to most of the applications. These factors promote low-cost plans for Linux Hosting.
On the other hand, the Windows operating system is a Microsoft product, and Windows servers run on Windows OS. Therefore, Windows web hosting is preferred for websites using Microsoft scripts and technologies like ASP, ASP.NET, MySQL, and others. Since Windows is a licensed product of Microsoft, web hosting providers are bound to pay for it. Therefore, Windows web hosting is generally expensive. Windows web hosting is for those who utilize Windows software, applications, scripts, and tools in their organization.
Advantages of Windows Hosting
- Ease of Use – Since most of the users are well-versed with Windows OS, it is easier to work with Windows web hosting.
- Framework Support – Windows is preferred if you are using Microsoft software and services, such as .NET framework. You will witness enhanced flexibility, ease of configuration, and flawless compatibility.
- Seamless Connectivity – When it comes to database connectivity, Windows facilitate hassle-free operations, thereby promoting seamless accessibility.
Applications and Extensions – There are ample Windows apps and extensions for website development. With Windows hosting, you get access to all of these.
Buy Web Hosting Now
Now you are aware of the web hosting and its functioning. It’s time to list your requirements, analyze web hosting plans offered by the best web hosting companies in India, and finalize the one that fits your requirements.
If your organization relies on Microsoft products, you can consider investing in Windows hosting. Otherwise, if you are simply not concerned about Linux or Windows, you can proceed ahead with Linux hosting.
And based on the website size and traffic, you should select a suitable web hosting type. Most of the best web hosting companies in India offer all of the aforementioned types of web hosting. Have you finalized the web host of your choice or not? Tell us about the factors that, according to you, must be considered while selecting a web hosting plan.
John follows everything happening in the tech industry, from the latest gadget launches to some of the big-name moves in the industry. He covers opinionated pieces and writes on some of the biggest names in the industry. John is also a freelance writer, so he shares articles on freelancing every now and then. email: [email protected]