What Is Web Hosting? A Complete Guide for Newbies In 2024

Web hosting is a digital home for your website. It’s where you store and publish ALL your website files, such as blog posts.

Without hosting, people can’t access your website online. 

If you’re new to web hosting, this ultimate free guide is for you; where you’ll learn;

  • What is web hosting, and why do you need it?
  • Overview of different types of web hosting with pros and cons
  • Tips to choose the right hosting provider and much more

Are you ready? Let’s jump into the details. 

What Is Web Hosting?

What Is Web Hosting? A Complete Guide for Newbies In 2024

Web hosting is a service that allows you to publish your website files and make them accessible on the internet. 

When you purchase web hosting, you can upload and publish all the website files, including;

  • Images
  • Blog posts and pages
  • Videos
  • Backlinks
  • Podcasts and much more

In simple words, a web hosting provider is the owner of your rented house (or apartment), as they provide everything you need, such as space (storage space) and utilities (bandwidth) for your website to live on the internet.


Why Do You Need Web Hosting?

Web hosting is like a digital home for your website. It’s where you store all of your website’s files and data, making your website accessible to visitors on the internet.

Without web hosting, you can’t publish your website files, such as blog posts, images, videos, etc.

Here are a few reasons why you need web hosting:

  • Web hosting makes your website accessible to the world so anyone can browse your website online.
  • Web hosting provides storage space for your website’s files and data.
  • It allows you to create professional email addresses associated with your domain name, such as (email protected) 
  • Hosting services provide security features such as SSL certificates, backups, malware protection, etc., to keep your website safe.
  • Web hosting services provide 24/7 support to help you keep your website running smoothly.

Types of Web Hosting Explained: 5 Major Types

Here’s a challenge when it comes to picking the right web hosting: TOO MANY options.

Some want to host personal websites, a few want to run high-traffic websites, and some want superfast hosting. 

That’s why most web hosting providers offer a variety of packages to meet the needs of different types of customers.

Here are FIVE major web hosting types, along with their pros and cons.

1. Shared Hosting

As the name suggests, shared hosting is a type of web hosting where multiple websites share the same server resources, including bandwidth, storage space, memory allocation, etc.

Pros:

  • It is less expensive when compared to all the other web hosting types, as the resources are shared with many other users (so the cost is evenly distributed).
  • Shared hosting is the most practical hosting solution for most beginners who are managing low-traffic websites
  • You can install any type of website, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc
  • Almost all the shared web hosting services come with easy-to-use control panels to manage your site

Cons:

  • Resources are limited, and website performance is below par
  • Lack of admin access and less security. Shared hosting websites are more prone to security attacks

2. Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a type of web hosting that uses cloud resources to store and deliver your website files. 

Unlike traditional hosting (where your website files are stored on a PHYSICAL server), cloud hosting uses multiple CLOUD servers to distribute your website files. This makes cloud hosting more reliable than traditional hosting.

Pros:

  • Scalability is one of the biggest benefits of cloud hosting services. You can easily add or remove resources as needed without worrying about server downtime.
  • Cloud hosting is very reliable. If one server goes down, your website will still be up and running because your website is hosted on multiple servers.
  • It can offer better performance than traditional hosting 
  • You’ll get better security features to protect your website from hackers

Cons:

  • It can be more expensive than traditional hosting. Setting up can be more complex, especially if you’re using web hosts like Cloudways.

3. WordPress Hosting

WordPress hosting is a type of hosting that is specifically designed for WordPress websites. 

WordPress hosting typically includes features such as pre-installed WordPress software, automatic WordPress updates, optimized performance for WordPress sites, etc.

Pros:

  • In WordPress hosting, your websites are better optimized, and you’ll often get better loading times
  • Better security, with WordPress-specific security features
  • Easier to use, and it comes with many built-in features like WP installation, automatic updates, backups, etc
  • If you are planning to create a WordPress website, then WordPress hosting is a good option. 
  • You’ll often get 24/7 expert WordPress support

Cons:

  • It is not as flexible as other hosting types, as it is designed specifically for WordPress

4. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS hosting is a type of hosting that is a cross between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. With VPS hosting, you have your own virtual server within a shared physical server.

Pros:

  • You’ll often get FASTER website loading time as each VPS has its own dedicated resources, such as CPU, RAM, and disk space.
  • It’s less expensive when compared to dedicated server hosting
  • Many web hosts that offer VPS plans give you full root access, which means you can install your own operating system and software
  • More secure than shared hosting
  • You can easily upgrade your resources as your website grows

Cons:

  • You may require more technical knowledge than shared hosting, especially when you’re going for semi-managed or unmanaged VPS hosting plans.
  • More expensive than shared hosting, WordPress hosting, etc.

5. Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting lets you have your own server, giving you 100% control over your website’s hosting resources and performance. 

Simply put, shared hosting is like renting a room in a house, whereas dedicated hosting is like renting a full house.

Pros:

  • It’s the most powerful and reliable type of hosting where you’ve full control over your hosting resources such as RAM, storage, bandwidth, etc.
  • Extremely superior performance. Dedicated server hosting is what you need if you’re managing high-traffic websites or web applications.
  • Your website’s traffic fluctuations do not impact your website performance as you get dedicated resources
  • You can take security measures as per your wish, as you’ll have complete control over the server

Cons:

  • Dedicated hosting is the most expensive type of hosting

5 Biggest Myths About Web Hosting

There are so many misconceptions about web hosting providers. Here are five myths about web hosting that you need to be aware of so that you can make the right decisions before picking one.

Myth 1: All cheap web hosts are bad

The most common misconception is that all the cheap hosting providers are bad, and expensive ones are really good.

No, it’s NOT true. Yes, it may be true that more expensive hosting plans typically offer more features and resources, but it doesn’t mean that they’re the best. In fact, many cheap web hosts like Hostinger offer more powerful features than expensive hosts.

Myth 2: Web hosting is really expensive

Yes, there are many web hosts (Kinsta, Amazon AWS, WP Engine), etc are expensive. But not all hosting providers cost you a lot.

The best example is Hostinger, as its shared hosting plans cost under $2 per month. 

Myth 3: Website hosting is NOT registering a domain

Another common misconception is that registering a domain name (e.g., www.example.com) automatically gives you access to web hosting for a website. Again, it’s not true, as domain registration and web hosting are two different services.

Domain registration is the process of registering a unique name for your website, whereas web hosting is the service that provides the space on a server where your website’s files are stored. 

However, some web hosts like Hostinger, Bluehost, etc., offer a free domain when you buy hosting from them.

Myth 4: Your web host will take care of EVERYTHING

While web hosting providers take necessary actions to secure their servers, it is still important to take your own precautions. This includes using strong passwords, keeping your software updated, backing up your website files regularly, etc.

Myth 5: You need to be a technical expert

Most beginners think that web hosting is difficult to set up and manage. Almost 90% of web hosts offer cPanel, allowing you to easily manage your website (even without technical skills).

You can manage everything from the control panel, website files, databases, emails, passwords, and more. Also, most web hosts offer 24/7 customer support assistance.


How to Choose the RIGHT Web Hosting? 8 Things to Consider

Here is a QUICK tip: If you are new to web hosting, starting with a shared hosting plan is a good idea. Shared hosting plans are the most affordable and perfect for small websites. 

As your website grows, you can upgrade to a more powerful hosting plan, such as a VPS or dedicated server.

Once you’ve decided to purchase web hosting, there are a few things you need to consider. Here are the 8 most important factors to consider while choosing a web host for your website.

1. Your monthly budget: It’s important to set a budget before you start looking for a web host. Decide what type of hosting solution you need: shared, WordPress, VPS, or dedicated hosting. Also, look for a web host that offers a money-back guarantee. 

Be sure to compare the prices of different web hosting plans and any additional fees, such as domain registration or setup fees. If you want to save more, choose a longer billing cycle (2 or 3-year plans), as most web hosts offer HUGE discounts on annual plans.

2. Ease of use: If you’re a beginner, go for a web host that offers you cPanel. cPanel is the world’s most popular control panel that helps you easily manage all your website files at once.

3. Storage space:  Decide what kind of website you have and how much traffic you expect. If you have an eCommerce site, you might require a lot of storage space as you need to store product catalogs, lots of images, etc. 

4. Bandwidth: Consider the daily traffic on your website, including expected traffic spikes. Avoid web hosts that offer unlimited bandwidth, as they’re mostly fake claims. The web host may throttle your bandwidth or suspend your account if you exceed their limits.

5. Customer support: Make sure the web host offers good customer support. You should be able to contact customer support 24/7 and get help quickly if you have any problems. 

Go for a web hosting provider that offers customer support in multiple ways, such as;

  • Phone support
  • Live chat support
  • Ticket or email support

Remember, only a handful of web hosts offer support in all the above-mentioned ways.

6. Security requirements: Thousands of websites get hacked every single hour. If you’re serious about your website, invest in a web host that offers bulletproof security features to safeguard your site from attacks.

Here are a few security features to consider while picking a web hosting provider;

  • Staging
  • Free SSL and automatic SSL renewals
  • Free website migration
  • Malware scanning
  • Security firewalls and brute force protection
  • Free website fixes (in case of any hacks)

There are a few web hosts like WPX hosting that fix your website in case of hacking or security vulnerabilities. They’ll also restore all your files without charging any money.

7. Speed & performance needs: When it comes to website speed, your web host plays a major role. Nobody likes a slow-loading website.

So, go for a web host with the latest and greatest website infrastructure. Here are a few things GREAT web hosts offer to provide better speed for their customers;

  • In-built CDN
  • Better uptime 
  • SSD storage or NVMe storage options
  • Multiple data centers across the world

8. Reputation: Last but not least, you can’t ignore the reputation of the web host you will pick. The quality of their services, reliability, uptime, and customer support depend on their reputation. 

You can read online reviews about the web host. There are many websites where you can read reviews of web hosts, such as Trustpilot, G2 Crowd, and Capterra.


Recommended Web Hosting Provider for Beginners

We’ve used a ton of web hosts for the last 10 years. Most web hosts are either expensive or have some downtime issues. 

But, there’s one web host that’s both affordable and extremely reliable, which is Hostinger. If you’re getting started with web hosting or launching your first new website, Hostinger is an excellent choice.

Here are some of the features offered by Hostinger;

  • Free Domain
  • Free Website Migration
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • SSD Storage
  • Free Backups
  • Unlimited Free SSL
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Free Email
  • Free CDN and much more

Hostinger is available in the following plans in shared hosting.

  • The premium plan costs $2.99 monthly, with 100 GB of storage and free weekly backups, and you can install 100 sites.
  • The business plan costs $3.99 monthly, with 200 GB of storage and free daily backups, and you can install 100 sites.
  • Cloud Startup plan costs $8.99 monthly, with 200 GB of storage and free daily backups, and you can install 300 sites. You’ll also get a dedicated IP with free CDN.

Looking for more web hosting recommendations? Here are the 10 best web hosts for beginners to choose from in 2024.

Related Posts:


FAQs | What Is Web Hosting Service

Here are common questions on web hosting services.

What are the fastest web hosting providers?

Some of the fastest web hosting options are;
– WPX
– WP Engine
– Kinsta

Is VPS hosting good?

Yes, VPS hosting is a more powerful type of web hosting than shared hosting. Your website’s files and data are stored on a virtual server that is dedicated to your website. It is also more affordable when compared to dedicated hosting.

How much does web hosting cost?

Web hosting plans can range in price from a few dollars per month to hundreds of dollars per month. Most shared hosting plans cost between $2 to $5/mo, VPS plans start at $30/mo and dedicated plans at $90/month.

What are some common web hosting problems?

Some common web hosting problems include:
– Downtime issues, which make your website unavailable to visitors
– Slow loading times 
– Security threats and website hacks

What if I need help with my web hosting?

Most web hosting providers offer 24/7 customer support, so you can contact them with any problems you may have. It’s always better to choose a web host that offers contact customer support via live chat, phone, or email.


Final thoughts on what is a website host

Web hosting is a MUST for anyone who wants to host their website online. There are many types of hosting options out there, and the best type of web hosting will depend on your specific needs and budget. 

So, what are your thoughts on web hosting? Did you find this post helpful? Have any more questions? Let us know in the comments. 

Jos Tran
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Jos Tran

I'm Jos Tran, the author behind Smart Passive Income (SPI), a blog dedicated to online business and entrepreneurship. I started this blog in 2008, following in the footsteps of Pat Flynn, the founder. Being one of the leading business blogs globally, SPI attracts over 2 million readers each month. Through my content, I aim to assist individuals in generating passive income from various online sources. Join me on this transformative journey as we delve into the world of online business and uncover the strategies and tactics that have led to tremendous success for myself and countless others.

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