What is Web Hosting and How Does it Really Work?

What is web hosting

Web hosting is a service whereby you can rent space on the Internet to host your website.

If you intend to have a website for your business, you will need an online presence so that people can access your website from anywhere in the world. Web hosts store and deliver information across cyberspace using servers called “hosts.”

We will review what is web hosting, how it works, and the top types of hosting. The hard part is knowing which type of hosting is right for your situation so we review who should use each hosting plan.

What is Webhosting?

Web hosting is the service that enables websites to be viewed over the internet. It’s what makes it possible for your website visitors to load up a web page and see all of its images, hear sound files, or run videos on their device without any problems. Web hosting powers everything from simple personal blogs to large-scale online stores with millions of customers around the world.

A web host (also known as an ISP) provides you with an address where your site can live on the World Wide Web – think about it like renting space in a building so that people can find and visit you there when they want something from you like information or products.

How Does Hosting a Website Work?

Web hosting occurs when the files that make up your website are uploaded onto a web server from your computer.

The server’s bandwidth, hard drive space, and RAM allotments provide you with what is needed to run your website! The lower the numbers for each the slower your website. The higher the numbers and the less of each that is shared with other companies the better for your website.

Web hosts have all this equipment needed so they offer plans which will accommodate everything. You can have your site hosted out-of-the-box or have it custom-tailored.

Web hosting companies have a variety of plans for every website owner. This can cover everything from small blogs up to large organizations that require dynamic sites with high traffic volume.

If you are building your site on WordPress, then it is recommended that you find web hosts using PHP7 or higher. This will provide better performance than previous versions (Version 4).

On the server where your files would be stored, there are varying levels of resources depending on what web hosting plan was chosen when signing up for a plan. How fast your website loads and works also depends upon how much processing power and bandwidth it offers in order to ensure proper rendering.

There are two different things to consider when hosting a website for WordPress: the RAM on your server, which needs to be at least 256MB of RAM; and the bandwidth needed to serve up content like images, videos, or other media files. The more you have, the faster everything will load in visitors’ browsers.

There are different types of web hosting, but you only need to know the 4 most common types, namely Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud.

The 4 Types of Web Hosting

Web hosting is something that almost every website needs. Web hosts typically offer several different plans which cater to the specific wants and needs of businesses. This means you should be able to find one with your site’s requirements in mind without any problems!

The 4 types are:

  • Shared
  • VPS
  • Dedicated
  • Cloud

A web hosting company is the equivalent of a landlord. It provides you with an online home to live in, allowing others to find and visit your site from anywhere around the world—as long as they know where it’s located!

With that analogy in mind, let us now go through the 4 types of website hosting and how each of them works.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting is a type of web hosting that allows users to share one server with other website owners so you can store your site’s files in the same place as others.

In contrast to VPS or dedicated servers where all resources are reserved for just one customer, on a shared host, customers use those resources collectively but have their own unique space within them.

Shared hosting is usually preferred by new bloggers and new small websites. Just as the name suggests, you are sharing the physical server with other websites (dozens or even hundreds).

Sharing the server resources with several other websites, the cost will be much lower.

Of all the hosting types, shared hosting offers the most affordable way to get your website online. It is also perhaps the most flexible type of hosting since you can just upgrade once the plan no longer satisfies your website needs.

It is straightforward and easy to set up since most hosting providers provide a cPanel to manage your site. From the control panel, you can manage all administrative tasks as well as monitor any duties required to run a server.

But there are also some downsides to shared web hosting. One of the major downsides is that your website speed and loading time are not guaranteed. Your website can slow down if one of the other sites on the server experiences a huge spike in traffic.

Who is it suitable for?

With that in mind, go for shared hosting if you have limited knowledge about web hosting. You will want to keep your costs down as much as possible.


Virtual Private Server or VPS is a type of hosting that relies on virtualization, which enables you to utilize resources of several different servers that act as one server.

This means that you can access an entire network of servers and scale up or down depending on the needs of your website.

VPS is usually the next step after shared hosting as your website grows and gets more traffic.

Basically, in VPS, you are allocated resources (like RAM) not shared with other users. It is like renting an entire office space for yourself without having to deal with sharing it! The difference between this setup versus dedicated web hosting? You get all these benefits at much less expensive than if they purchased dedicated hosting.

The advantage is you get more resources, and the server is under your control. This means that you have full authority to modify it any way you want. Just as long as all of those modifications are not against the law or violate our Terms of Service agreement

Scalability is one of the major selling points of VPS, especially if you plan on expanding your business soon. With this hosting, you can predict easily the volume of traffic you will get.

Even with the great features, VPS hosting is still one of the most cost-effective types of web hosting available today.

Who Should Use VPS Hosting?

VPS is usually preferred by SAAS providers, programmers, and game makers. This is also for companies that have outgrown shared hosting.

VPS can support a site with up to 100,000 + monthly visitors.

Dedicated Hosting

When it comes to dedicated hosting, you access the server resources of an entire server. A dedicated server will be one of the most expensive types of hosting.

With this hosting, you don’t share server costs with other users since you don’t share hosting either.

It is perhaps the most ideal type of hosting because it offers you an entire physical server for your website, and thus, you can customize it whichever way you want.

A dedicated server allows your site to operate at peak performance all the time. This means high speeds, uptime, RAM usage, and enhanced security.

A dedicated server also allows you to access a unique IP address. If you shared the server with multiple websites, it means that you will also be sharing the same IP address.

NOTE: An IP address is simply a numeric ID of the internet location of each server.

With dedicated hosting, your server gets its own unique IP address.

There are some downsides of dedicated hosting though. For instance, it is quite expensive since you are not sharing the server resources with other websites.

It can also require a lot of resources to maintain compared to a shared server. You will be installing updates by yourself, checking glitches, bugs, and errors all by yourself.

Who Should Use Dedicated Hosting?

Dedicate hosting is usually ideal for websites that require a special server configuration or receive large volumes of traffic.

This means that if your website is doesn’t receive at least 100,000 + visitors per month, dedicated hosting is not for you.

In terms of cost, you will also have to pay around $79 or more a month.

Thus, dedicated hosting is for those who have more than enough revenue, loads of traffic, and technical personnel.

Cloud Hosting

Though this type of hosting is relatively new, Cloud Hosting has become one of the most preferred forms of web hosting today. Cloud hosting is simply when your site is hosted on several different servers concurrently.

These servers are divided into cloud clusters so that when one server becomes overloaded, the traffic will be routed to the next cloud server automatically within the cluster.

Cloud hosting offers one of the most reliable forms of web hosting. It is extremely flexible in that you can scale it up or down easily in real-time so you pay only for the server resources you are currently using.

With this form of hosting, you can scale your resources on-demand depending on your needs. This is great for a business that is growing rapidly and is experiencing a ton of traffic.

It is perhaps the most redundant kind of hosting since you have several servers to rely on if one server fails or is compromised.

Think of cloud hosting like a hotel room. You can simply upgrade your room to include more amenities and bigger beds. You can also downgrade to a small room with fewer amenities.

Cloud hosting also offers flexible pricing since you only pay for the server resources you use. If your post goes viral or your site receives an increase of 50,000 users in one month, you do not have to upgrade your plan completely. The hosting provider will scale up the resources during traffic spikes and down once the traffic returns to normal.

Cloud hosting is also known for having high uptime built into its framework. Since your website will be using multiple servers virtually, you can just connect it to your server if one has technical issues or goes offline.

Who Should Use Cloud Hosting?

This form of hosting is ideal for businesses that are rapidly growing. It can also be perfect for businesses that tend to experience inconsistent spikes in traffic volume.

Cloud hosting enables you to add server resources based on your website demands. You don’t have to worry whether your website will lag or not, or even worse, crash.

Basically, if your site receives over 50,000 visitors per month, cloud hosting can be an ideal form of web hosting for you.

Other Forms of Web Hosting

Other than the 4 types shared above, there are also other forms of web hosting you need to consider. One of the most popular is WordPress hosting.

You can do WordPress hosting on shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting. Most hosting companies offer WordPress to be able to install on your server so you can use it to build your website.

The reason is so many people use WordPress to build their sites it makes it an easier decision, you just pick the plan that says WordPress hosting.

WordPress Hosting

This form of hosting is pretty common and popular among small bloggers. It is one of the easiest forms of hosting you can have online. You can run your website on different types of hosting environments or use WordPress-managed hosting.

Managed WordPress hosting is a new and innovative way to manage your website. With managed WordPress hosting, you get the benefits of increased speed, security with daily backups and updates for free!

Shared WordPress hosting is a form of web hosting package where websites share server resources. It comes with benefits such as automatic updates, server catching, enhanced securities, and faster-loading speed.

Who Should Use WordPress Hosting?

WordPress hosting is an ideal form of hosting for anyone planning to build a WordPress site. It comes with an extra layer of security thanks to the constant automatic updates.

WordPress hosting is usually cost-effective and easy to set up so you can get started quickly.

Reseller Hosting

With an increase in demand for websites, the web hosting industry has also been booming. Many people have been venturing into the reseller hosting business. This is where you host your client’s website as if you are a web hosting service provider.

You buy hosting from a hosting company and then sell it to your clients. This means you decide the price for hosting as well as the benefits that the client will enjoy.

Having reseller hosting comes with loads of perks. For instance, you have the chance to have multiple IP addresses or SSL certs, the ability to use anonymous name servers, a brandable control panel, as well as ability to control DNS zones among many other benefits.

Who Should Use Reseller Hosting?

First, reseller hosting is not ideal for some looking to host a website or build one. It is however ideal for web developers, designers, or anyone running an agency.

Becoming a hosting provider, can be quite lucrative and provides you with an opportunity to make residual income.

Co-location Hosting

Co-location hosting or just colocation is an extremely secured data center facility that houses servers, equipment, bandwidth, and space for sale. So it is just a space that you can buy to host your servers and enjoy high security as well as guaranteed uptime.

It is the most expensive type of hosting out there because rather than hosting your site on the provider’s server plus their backbone infrastructure, you provide your private server, and then rent a physical space where you can host your server.

The data center offers you cooling, rack space, electricity, unique IP addresses, as well as any necessary resources required to keep your servers running.

You also needed to provide the upkeep for your servers, and you will need your own technician to install the servers at the co-location data center.

There are other great benefits of colocation hosting other than security and high loading time. For instance, the colocation provider will offer you disaster recovery along with business continuity. This will help ensure the continuous performance of your website.

However, if there is an issue with your server or you want to do regular maintenance you must do that yourself.

Who Should Use Co-location Hosting?

This form of web hosting is ideal for bigger organizations with sufficient resources and funds to invest in updating and maintaining an off-site server.

What You Need to Know When Picking a Hosting Provider

When shopping for web hosting, the most important factors to look out for are speed and uptime.

Web page loading speed is the amount of time it takes for the pages in your website to load. It is one of the most important aspects you need to look at when picking web hosting.

A study has shown that a one-second delay in page loading causes 11% fewer page views, a 16% reduction in customer satisfaction, and a 7% conversion loss.

Thus if your website is not properly optimized for speed, it can lead to a massive drop in traffic, which means fewer customers and subsequently less income.

A good web hosting speed is supposed to be a maximum of 1 second on PC or desktops and 4 seconds on mobile.

Uptime on the other hand describes the time your site remains up and running. It is usually ranked between 1% and 100% where 100% means that the hosting never goes down.

Luckily, most major web hosting service providers have 98% or above uptime.

Uptime and speed can affect your search engine rankings, especially Google. When Google crawls your website and if Google encounters a 503 response or 500 internal error, this can negatively affect website rankings.

A study by Moz found that the most harmful error is 500 internal errors, which can cause your content keyword to drop out of the top ten rankings.


If you are planning to start blogging or a website for business, web hosting is one of the most important things you must get right. You need to pick the right hosting whether it is shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud hosting, or WordPress. If you want a more detailed and in-depth look at hosting providers check out our best web hosting providers article.

Amanda Pearson

Amanda Pearson is our editor and she helps with writing. Very knowledgeable about YouTube, SEO, podcasting, and blogging. Amanda works with the other writers and our SEO expert Pete to make sure our articles are accurate and helpful for the readers.

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