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What is Web Hosting for beginners

What web hosting means

Learn all about webhosting and how it is used to build websites

Before you can get started on your WordPress website you’ll need to host it somewhere. Your website needs to be hosted in order for others to see it on the internet.
The cost of web hosting varies depending on the requirements of your site, and the quality of the service being offered by the web hosting company.
The entry points for web hosting are very cheap, with shared hosting packages available for as little as $5.  At the higher end, if your website is receiving a lot of traffic and you want the fastest speed possible, you can pay hundreds of dollars per month for your own Dedicated Server or Virtual Private Server. (VPS)
But if you’re new to WordPress you’d probably be best advised to start with the cheaper hosting and work your way up. Much like in Seinfeld when Jerry explains to Elaine that because he’s flown first class before he can’t go back to coach, if you’ve ever had your own VPS or Dedicated Server you’re not ever going to go back to shared hosting again.
As with so many things in life, you tend to get what you pay for.

Shared Hosting

While there are a number of free web hosting packages, generally they carry too many limitations to be of any real value. Set up your own Blogpost or WordPress.com if you want free hosting (see our article on starting a blog re this)  So the cheapest paid way to get your website up, is to use shared hosting.

Shared hosting means that your website will be hosted on a server with a whole stack of other websites. Depending on the company, there could be anywhere between about 20 and 100 websites on the server.

So what’s good about shared hosting?

  • Shared hosting is cheap. The cheapest plans start at less than $5 per month.
  • It is also really easy to understand and install, with no technical knowledge required.
What’s not so good?
  • Because your site is shared with others, it can be slow if there are too many other sites on the server
  • Your site is open to security threats, or being blacklisted because of the actions of someone else
  • Cheaper plans don’t tend to come with great customer service

VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting

VPS Hosting is a type of hosting where a number of virtual servers are created on one physical server. It may sound the same as shared hosting but it’s very different.

There are two basic types of VPS hosting.

  • Self Managed VPS where you have total control over the server and are responsible for lots of the technical aspects
  • Managed VPS, where the hosting company takes care of the technical stuff. Managed VPS is more expensive, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, or don’t want to hire someone who does, then it’s a better option.
What’s good about VPS Hosting?
  • Your site will or at least should run faster
  • You will have your own CPU, RAM and storage
  • You will have root access
What’s not so good?
  • It’s more expensive
  • You’ll need more technical knowledge, even if you choose a Managed VPS option

Dedicated Hosting

This is the top of the range and most powerful hosting option. There’s absolutely no sharing of resources. Your site will run faster. But it’s much more expensive and is usually only used by big companies and/or those with with really large resource intensive websites and web apps. It’s not usually the option taken by those starting out with WordPress but you’ll know exactly when you’ll need it.


So hopefully by now you have an understanding of what web hosting is and what type of hosting you’re after. Cloud hosting is another new product that is becoming popular. Read more about it here
What is a bit more tricky – but certainly more interesting – is deciding which hosting company to use.  The three basic criteria for choosing a hosting company are:
  1. Price
  2. Customer service and;
  3. Speed/Capacity
In this article (link to other post) we look at 8 hosting companies that are popular and I have some first or second-hand experience.
The list is not supposed to be exhaustive by any means because there are literally 100s to choose from.
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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