Web Hosting: What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Own Website

Thinking of starting your own business, art or blogging site? If you’ve recently started a new business, a website can help showcase your products to customers. Maybe you’re pursuing an artistic career and want a digital portfolio to showcase your work. Or maybe you just want to get into blogging.

Whatever your reasons, we’ve compiled a what-to-know guide to web hosting to help you choose the service and plan that best suits your needs.After reading this article, you can go to CNET’s list of Best Web Hosting Services Get your website up and running in no time.

What is a web hosting service?

Web hosting services are companies such as GoDaddy and DreamHost, owns and maintains the servers that store website data so that those websites appear on the Internet. Think of the server as the apartment building, and the web hosting service as the landlord. You are essentially paying rent for your website to run on these servers and access resources.

Learn about basic web hosting plans

The goals you develop for your website will help determine the best web hosting plan for you. These are the two basic plans.

shared hosting

With shared hosting, your site data is stored alongside other sites on the server. All sites use the same resources, so if one site gets more traffic, it will take up most of the resources. As a result, your website may slow down due to a surge in traffic from another website. So, if you are creating a website for the first time or do not expect a lot of traffic, a shared hosting plan is the best choice.Some shared hosting plans, such as those offered by Custodian and iPagewhich costs about $2 per month.

VPS hosting

Virtual Private Server Hosting It’s a step up from shared hosting plans: the server your website lives on is actually partitioned, so it feels like your website is stored on your own server—essentially in its own bubble, with its own resources. VPS hosting makes your website more stable than shared hosting. If you run a small business or are trying to sell art and can’t afford to have your website slow down on a shared server, VPS hosting is a great option. Some VPS plans, like A2 Hosting, start at around $5 per month.

What if I don’t want to share the server with others?

In this case, a dedicated hosting plan is the way to go. Shared and VPS hosting put your site’s data on one server with other sites, while dedicated hosting plans give you an entire server or multiple servers. These plans provide your website with the most resources and help it handle a lot of traffic. However, the extra space and resources mean these plans are more expensive. If you run a large organization or business, a dedicated server can give you the reliability you need.Some dedicated server plans, such as from dream hostwhich costs about $150 per month.


The server can store the data of one site or multiple sites.

Josh Lovinson/CNET

What is this option for reseller hosting?

Reseller hosting is where users buy web hosting services in bulk, often at a discount, and then resell the extra space for a profit. This allows people to act as digital middlemen between web hosting services and website owners. The reseller must propose the type of service offered, the templates for the service offered, pricing, etc. Many people take this as their own business. Not all web hosting services offer resale hosting, though.Some web hosting services such as host crocodileReseller hosting plans are available for around $20 per month.

What is WordPress hosting?

To answer this question, we need to explain what a content management system (CMS) is.

content management system

A CMS is a tool that people can use to customize how a website looks and what it displays.You can also use website builder to help create your site, but these builders may offer limited tools and control over how your site looks. In most cases, you also don’t own any of the design content on your site, so it could disappear without your knowledge.

With a CMS, you have more control over how your website looks. More design tools are available through the CMS, and the CMS is open source, so you fully own what you create.

WordPress hosting

So WordPress hosting means a web hosting plan optimized to use WordPress as a CMS. Web hosting providers have ensured that their servers can run WordPress as a CMS smoothly and efficiently, and the web hosting service will handle any WordPress CMS updates or issues. WordPress is more user-friendly than other CMSs like Joomla and Drupal, and still offers tons of templates, widgets, and plugins to create the best possible website for you.

What is cloud hosting?

cloud host is web hosting across multiple physical servers. This means that your website can handle huge amounts of traffic, and if one server goes down, your website won’t be affected as much because your data is spread across the servers. However, cloud hosting can be very expensive, and only large sites, such as Facebook or Google, really need it. We’re not saying your site won’t take off one day and be as big as they are, but don’t worry about that option just yet.

Managed and Unmanaged Server Plans: What’s the Difference?

With a managed server plan, any administrative issues — like resetting a server or updating a server — are handled by the web hosting service. If you have little to no experience managing servers, these plans can help you avoid any major problems or setbacks. Managed VPS or dedicated server plans typically start at around $50 per month.

With an unmanaged server plan, you have to take care of any management issues yourself. If you’re tech-savvy, or want to learn system administration, an unmanaged VPS or dedicated server is for you. These plans typically start at around $5 per month.

What should I know about domains and IP addresses?

A domain name is the name of your website, just like your business name. When you propose a domain, you must cross-check your domain registrar, the ledger of all domains, to ensure that the name is not already in use. It’s like when you start a new social media account, the platform will let you know if someone else already has that username.

An IP address, on the other hand, is the location of a business on a server. It’s like your home address. You can change the domain of a site, but the IP address usually remains the same.

Can I get an email address for my domain?

you can. These are like business email addresses, so instead of @gmail.com or @yahoo.com, your address is @yourcooldomain.com. Having such an address helps your emails be more trustworthy so people don’t mistake your emails for scams. Many web hosting plans include a limited number of email addresses that your web hosting account can have.This number usually increases as you move to higher plan levels, and certain services such as dream hostOffers unlimited email addresses with some plans.

Is it possible that my website is lost?

You can lose site data in a number of ways, such as if your server gets corrupted or damaged by a virus, your server crashes from overuse, or is incorrectly updated. Think of backups as save points in a video game. If you run into any issues, your website can be restored to that point in time. Many web hosting services offer backups as part of their hosting plans. Some backups, such as those provided by GoDaddy, scan your site data for malware and store malware-free data. However, backups are usually not advertised, so you’ll have to contact the service to find out what their backup policy is. Some services offer weekly or monthly backups, but some don’t offer backups at all.

error 404error 404

If your website is down, people will see an error message when they try to access it.

James Martin/CNET

What else do I need to know about web hosting?

There’s a lot going on in web hosting, and we’ve only scratched the surface. When looking at web hosting plans, you’ll come across a lot of terms like data storage and uptime. Here’s what they mean and why they matter.


The cost of a web hosting plan can be confusing. Prices listed are usually introductory deals attached to contracts that typically last at least one year. These contracts then automatically renew at the regular price at the end of the contract so your website continues to run. When the contract automatically renews, the regular rate is often much higher than the introductory price—sometimes double or even triple. Contracts are usually paid upfront rather than monthly, although the company lists the price as a monthly cost. Many services offer monthly plans, but these are usually listed at regular rates. Sometimes services also add extras to your bill, so make sure to check your bill at checkout so you only pay for what you want.

data storage

Data storage refers to how much space you have on your server for your website’s data. Videos, music, and image slideshows are some of the things that can take up a lot of data storage. Storage is usually measured in gigabytes or terabytes, but some plans offer unmetered/unlimited storage. Back then, storage space on the server was the limiting factor. Due to the nature of shared hosting, some shared web hosting plans will offer unlimited/unmetered storage plans.


If your hosting plan offers 5GB of bandwidth per month, that means you can only transfer 5GB of data from your website to your audience each month. If you have a single-page website loaded with media, a visit to your website might send your visitor 300 megabytes of data. A few more visits and you may exceed your monthly bandwidth and incur additional charges — such as the overage charges you get charged for going over your mobile data plan. Likewise, some services offer unlimited/unmetered traffic, but your website’s bandwidth usage must comply with the web hosting provider’s terms and services. HostGator offers unlimited bandwidth, but they say that if a customer uses more than 25% of their server resources for more than 90 seconds, it is violate their terms.


Technology is not perfect, and sometimes servers go down for various reasons. Uptime measures how long servers and sites on those servers continue to run without downtime. Most web hosting services will say they will guarantee more than 99.9% uptime. Anytime your website goes down is scary, but these guarantees mean your site could be down for about 20 minutes a month. If your website is down for a longer period of time, you should contact your web hosting service. In many cases, your web hosting service will provide you with a credit equal to a percentage of your monthly hosting fee for each hour of server downtime.

SSL certificate

SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer. These certificates encrypt data to and from your site. Many sites use SSL certificates to prevent hackers from stealing people’s credit card or personal information. Google announced in 2018 that any website without SSL would be marked as “not secure” in Chrome. If you look in the address bar of any website and see a padlock next to the URL, that means the website has SSL. By using SSL, people will feel more comfortable visiting your website. Many hosting services provide SSL to their customers.

However, in most cases you can install your own SSL certificate.There are paid SSL certificates, such as those from cheap stuff It costs about $6 per year, plus an unpaid SSL certificate, such as one from the Let’s Encrypt program. Then you need to install an SSL certificate on your website, which requires some server knowledge. Installing your own SSL certificate can give you more control over your website, but if you don’t have the server knowledge to install and maintain an SSL certificate, then you may want to stick with the SSL certificate provided by your web hosting service.

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