Ever wonder what the URL of the very first public website was? On August 6, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee, the same chap that developed the internet launched the first publicly accessible website and the URL was http://info.cern.ch. Berners-Lee developed HTML and the HTTP protocol on a Steve Jobs-designed NeXT computer. That very same NeXT computer was also the very first web server. Since then web hosting has made huge advances, in 30 years we went from one to literally millions of machines that serve us everything from our favourite recipes to movies. Before we get into how important web hosting is for business, let’s look at how it works.
How do web servers work?
Think of it as a phone call. You punch in a number, the phone number is linked to a device and when it’s identified, the phone rings. Web servers work similarly, HTTP or more preferably HTTPS URL is linked to an IP address, the IP address is linked to a computer where your files and databases are stored, once the correct files have been located the content is sent back to your browser and rendered as HTML.
Why is web hosting important for your business?
Simply put, web hosting is the engine that drives your website. Without it people can’t see what services you offer or what products you sell, yes you could use platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but those services do not offer the flexibility that hosting your own website does. You want a space that represents your brand, the only proper way to do that is to create your own website. With web hosting, you have your own domain and your own email, all of this ties your brand together.
Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated web hosting
Let’s have a quick look at the type of hosting packages you could consider for your website.
1. Shared hosting
Think of shared hosting like a hotel, residents of the hotel share certain things in the building, elevators, stares or a pool, shared hosting works the same way. There is one web server with a number of accounts that share the resources.
- It’s affordable
- It’s easy to get started with shared hosting
- Security, upgrades and maintenance of the server are managed for you
2. VPS (Virtual private server) web hosting
VPS Hosting is like a luxury bed and breakfast, you still share certain things, but it’s much less crowder. Similar to shared hosting you also share the server with other accounts, there are just less. The biggest difference is that VPS provides resources that you’re guaranteed, as well as additional resources available at a moment’s notice should your site experience a traffic spike.
- More affordable than a dedicated server
- More secure
- More resources compared to shared hosting
- Greater control over your hosting environment
- It’s scalable
3. Dedicated server hosting
Dedicated server hosting, simply put, is like owning a house. All the resources in this kind of server are dedicated to you. This type of hosting is generally more expensive, but in return you get very high performance and a higher level of security compared to other forms of hosting.
- You have a dedicated server all to yourself
- You have full access to all settings
- You get 100% access to server resources
- High level of security
Location, location, location
When choosing where to host your website, the first thing you should look at is location, not price. Always look for a local web host with servers in your country, this ensures that you can always contact support during your operating hours, your website will also load faster witch will lead to a better user experience.