Web Hosting 101

Web hosting: A Beginners Guide

The world of web hosting can be confusing. The options for choosing a host are endless, and pricing structures are hard to follow. This quick guide will aim to explain what web hosting is, compare the pros and cons of some of the popular types, and detail the hosting Stirr Creativ offers.

A web host supplies the physical server that stores websites, email, apps, and more. Every single web page you visit or email you send is contained and stored on a physical server somewhere in the world. Luckily, the web is interconnected, and it is possible (and necessary) to connect to servers around the world from your device.

A woman in Portland on a computer

There are many different hosting options available, but the three most popular are Shared, Dedicated, and VPS (Virtual Private Server).

Shared hosting:

Shared hosting allows hundreds or thousands of different websites to share a common server. This allows the price to drop for each client, and is often the most affordable method of connecting to a server. But this does come with its shares of downsides as well.

Pros:

Shared hosting is the simplest and most affordable way to get a basic site up and running, and is the most common form of web hosting as it allows users the opportunity to quickly and inexpensively set up a site.

Cons:

The server as a whole will slow down if a few sites are experiencing high demand, causing your site speed to decrease. Additionally, sharing the same server resources offers potential for security breaches. In effort to maintain security, shared hosting providers do not allow much, if any, server customization. This means that users have limited flexibility in the way they use the server.

A computer with great web hosting

Dedicated Hosting:

Dedicated hosting is the exact opposite of shared hosting in that one client owns and uses an entire server. In the early internet days, all applications and websites were stored on a dedicated server. The developer would need to buy expensive racks of hardware and find a place to store them while they hosted their website. This was a scary time for internet pioneers, and a power outage, flood, or inability to scale up to meet website traffic would often crash websites and applications. Luckily, better options are now available. Most developers will lease a dedicated server from a dedicated hosting provider, keeping the burden of owning, operating, and maintaining the hardware on the hosting provider.

Pros:

The developer has full control over everything the server does. This provides optimal customizability and security for the individual needs of each client. Dedicated hosting is often used by more demanding applications like enterprise software and social media platforms. The big guys (think Facebook) have many dedicated servers to store and host all of their information.

Cons:

Dedicated hosting is very expensive and technical if your requirements don’t demand it. Therefore, it is often not feasible for the average application.

People using VPS Web hosting in Portland Oregon

VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting:

A VPS can be viewed as a hybrid of shared hosting and dedicated hosting, and combines many of the benefits of each. Like shared hosting, A VPS hosts multiple websites on one server. However, the server contains individual virtual machines which act very similarly to dedicated hosting.

Pros:

VPS hosting provides the optimal balance between shared and dedicated hosting for the majority of web applications. VPS hosting is much more affordable than dedicated hosting, while still offering similar customizability, security and scalability.

Cons:

There really aren’t many downsides to VPS hosting. Unless you require a simple landing page, or you have a massive application that warrants a dedicated server, VPS hosting is likely the best option for the majority of websites.

Stirr Creative will take care of the hosting for you. We build and host a custom VPS on the DigitalOcean platform specifically tailored to each clients individual needs. DigitalOcean provides a secure hosting environment with guaranteed 99.99% uptime, and we have the expertise to provide all of the customizations required – SSL certification, firewalls, weekly backups, domain transfer, mail integrations and server maintenance. Oh, and did I mention that the first year of hosting with us comes free?

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