Web Hosting FAQ
By Tim Brown
Have you found yourself in a position where you need to develop a website or online project and don’t know where to begin? If your initial reaction to the term “hosting plan” is a customer service guide for a hotel, you might find the website hosting FAQ as helpful as it is informative.
What Is the Difference Between a Website Builder and Website Hosting?
While it can be easy to confuse the two—and the desire to interchange them is strong—there is a difference between what a website builder does and what Web hosting is. One analogy that might work is that of art and a museum. You can paint a beautiful portrait. But, without a museum, the world won’t be able to view it.
With a website builder, you are able to create online projects for the internet. Some are very simple to use, utilizing stylish templates and themes into which you can drag and drop content items such as text boxes, images, and multimedia files. Some provide more creative control in that you are not confined to specific templates, instead offering more of a blank canvas.
Web hosting is the service that allows you to house and publish all the files associated with what you created using the builder. Your website is stored on servers in data centers run by Web hosting providers. Visitors can access your website from the server via the internet.
What Are the Advantages of Using Paid Website Hosting Versus a Free Hosting Service?
While website hosting costs are certainly a consideration, so are the concerns associated with free hosting. When you opt for a free Web hosting plan, you sacrifice control in areas you might not realize. Chances are, you’ll be subject to the hosting provider placing advertisements on your site—which can make it appear you are recommending those particular products. Also, data from your site may be provided to third parties for marketing purposes.
Beyond that, you may be locked into a cookie-cutter theme, which will make your website look almost the same as your competitors’ sites. And, your domain name will be followed by the hosting provider’s in your URL. So, you can forget about that unique-looking site and special domain name.
Which Hosting Plan Is Best for Me?
There is no easy answer to that question, as every online project has its own unique set of needs. However, you can find tons of hosting tips throughout this website that may better help you answer that question for yourself.
Most of the factors that will go into helping you make that decision are typically related to the size of your website, its intended use, your comfort level with Web development, and the amount of server resources your website may require. For example:
A simple personal blog should work very well on a basic shared hosting plan.
An e-commerce site may use a type of content management system that would necessitate a virtual private server (VPS) hosting plan.
If you have a large online project, but need someone to handle the administrative duties, a managed dedicated server may be in order.
Businesses that see seasonal spikes in traffic could perform well on cloud hosting, so they can pull resources as they are needed.
What Type of Technical Skills Is Required?
This is not meant to be a cop-out, but it all depends. If you want to create a simple website on a shared hosting plan, you’ll have no trouble finding a hosting provider that offers a free easy-to-use website builder that will let you construct your site with a few mouse clicks. On the other end of the spectrum, some VPS and dedicated server customers prefer to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty doing backend administrative and development work.
In general, though, if you are comfortable with a mouse in your hand, most of what you’ll be doing can easily be done thanks to intuitive control panels, drag-and-drop editors, and point-and-click website builders. But clearly, there are plenty of areas where you can let your technical expertise shine.
Hopefully, this list has done a good job answering your questions about Web hosting. You should now be in a position to better select a Web hosting provider for your online project. Feel free to investigate our reviews and other articles for answers to any issues that may not have been addressed here.
If you are eager to learn more about Web hosting topics, be sure to check out our library of online articles, reviews, and how-to guides.