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Websites Explained: Website Hosting Advice for Beginners

To a beginner, finding reliable website hosting can be daunting. There’s much to learn and many “secrets” to uncover. But, quality hosting is so important for success that it’s worth taking time to find a trustworthy hosting company.

Did you know that many of the biggest hosting companies are actually owned by the same tech company? A detail like this could make all the difference when buying web hosting because it speaks to the quality of service you will get.

If you’re feeling lost, this guide is for you. This is the fourth part our detailed websites explained guide. We’ll explain what hosting is, types of web hosting, and how to choose a good provider.

A website host is a special computer (server) that stores (hosts) a website and makes it accessible on the internet.

We learned in Part 1 of this guide that a website is essentially a database that can be accessed online under one domain name. The host serves individual web page files upon request, and a web browser displays the content on a screen.

A website server can also be configured to host emails and large files, such as movies. Learn more on email hosting and why its important to have custom email addresses.

Web browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are the interface between users and websites. They receive user input, send requests to the host, process web page files, and display content depending on the instructions contained in the files.

Hosting a website is a technically challenging task. It requires a lot of skill to set up the software environment, administer the server, and keep up to date with security and performance.

Although you can self-host your website on servers in your own home or business premises, it’s not recommended. Most website owners, including large corporations, prefer to host their websites on third-party servers.

Buying web hosting assures the website owner of getting the best server technology and entire teams of professionals for security and maintenance. You get all this at a fraction of the cost, making it the most practical option.

From this perspective, web hosting means renting server resources (a hosting plan) for your website. The ideal plan depends on the type and size of your site, how much traffic you receive, security, pricing, among other considerations.

If you’re a novice, this is important to note: website hosting services are not the same. Each hosting company has different server technology and business practices that significantly affect the quality of service.

For example, web hosts offer varying levels of control (managed vs unmanaged hosting), flexibility, features (e.g., domain registration, SSL certificates, integrations), scaling, and more.

There are three main types of web hosting: shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated hosting.

Shared hosting is like sharing an apartment with a roommate. More accurately, it’s like sharing a house with tens or hundreds of roommates.

In comparison, VPS hosting is like having your own apartment in an apartment block, while a dedicated server is like owning a home in the suburbs.

In a shared hosting plan, users have their sites running on the same computer. Users share resources such as CPU, memory, and bandwidth, depending on their needs.

This arrangement makes shared hosting the cheapest form of website hosting. It’s also easy to use because you don’t have to deal with server management or maintenance.

On the flip side, shared hosting means other sites hosted on the same computer could affect the security and performance of your own site. Even though each user is allocated a specific amount of resources, a surge in traffic or a security incident could bring down other sites.

Shared hosting is perfect for beginners and small website owners. Once your site starts growing, it’s time to upgrade to a VPS server.

Virtual Private Servers are virtual machines on a shared physical server. Through the use of virtualization technology, users on a VPS remain isolated from one another, which means better security and performance.

Each user gets allocated a share of resources (CPU, storage, RAM). They can manage that space themselves (unmanaged) or have the hosting company handle the server side administration (managed VPS), depending on their needs.

This virtual separation even allows root-level access to the server for more flexibility and freedom. Users can install custom operating systems and server software on their VM, and whatever happens on other VPSs has little impact on how your site behaves.

VPS is a little bit more expensive than shared hosting and requires more technical expertise. Having a hard limit on resources also means your site is less able to handle sudden spikes in traffic and scaling can become difficult.

VPS offers the perfect balance of affordability and performance, but larger websites with heavy traffic are best served by dedicated servers.

A dedicated server means having entire computer systems—hardware and software—set apart for your website or email hosting. This physical separation guarantees privacy, security, and performance, provided you have the technical skill to manage it properly.

Dedicated servers give users the ultimate control and flexibility, short of buying and managing your own server hardware. You get to everything from scratch, ensuring the ultimate performance and security.

You can even get a bare metal server, which is a type of dedicated server with some slight differences

Like dedicated servers, bare metal servers are leased to a single tenant and don’t use hypervisors (virtualization technology). However, they run on technology that allows them to work more like the cloud, particularly in terms of flexibility and ease of provisioning.

In other words, the difference between bare metal servers and dedicated servers is that multiple bare metal servers can be configured into complex cloud-like networks. This allows easy provisioning of resources and fast scaling.

Additionally, bare metal servers use the most modern, cutting-edge hardware and software technology to ensure the best possible performance.

In contrast, the isolation of traditional dedicated servers means provisioning can take days and scaling is difficult. They may also come with other constraints, such as older technology and lack of cloud compatibility.

If you take a minute to think about how website hosting works, you’ll have an idea of the complexity involved in hosting thousands or millions of websites.

A website hosting server runs continuously to ensure site availability. This requires very high levels of reliability and stability in the hardware and software used.

Plus, constant exposure to internet threats means the server must have strong security features to defend against attacks.

For these two reasons, website server equipment must be robust and well maintained. Other features of a good website host include:

  • High performance – fast memory and processor ensure the website loads quickly and effortlessly even when there are thousands or millions of requests
  • Backup – regular backups should be kept to minimize the chances of losing the website in case of a disaster
  • Bandwidth – this is the rate of data flow from the website servers to clients within a specific amount of time. A high bandwidth allows faster page load times, especially when there is a lot of traffic on your website
  • Redundant power and connectivity – website servers are computers like any other, so they will go offline when there is no power

Website hosts should have two or more power and internet backups to minimize the chances of going offline. The industry standard is 99.9% uptime, which means means less than 10 minutes of downtime a week or just under 9 hours a year.

Those kinds of standards are difficult to maintain without investing heavily in infrastructure. Luckily, companies like Amazon and Google operate some of the most advanced data centers in the world.

Most hosting companies use the servers owned and maintained by these organizations to ensure the best performance for users.

Given how important website hosting is to your website’s success, you must make sure you find a trusted web hosting company in Canada.

You may not know this, but Truehost was an SaaS company before we ventured into web hosting. We had such a terrible experience with a cloud company that it inspired us to move into this space and be a hosting company with a difference.

There are more horror stories from people who had nightmarish experiences with hosting companies, especially on social media. Some of those problems are:

  • Slow load times: Pages take forever to load, driving visitors away
  • Frequent downtime: Your site goes MIA for hours or days at a time
  • Limited resources: Not enough processing power to handle traffic demands
  • Poor security: Hosts are particularly vulnerable to hacking and data breaches
  • Lack of support: Good luck getting help when you need it

When problems like these occur, you lose customers and money. While that’s bad, it gets worse.

Some well-known hosting companies have been accused of predatory tactics and price gouging. They don’t care about customers and raise prices arbitrarily, knowing that users lack the skills or knowledge to change hosting companies.

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of hosting your website with a reliable and trusted website hosting company.

The most important thing to look for in a website hosting company is a customer-first approach.

Excellent customer service is the foundation of every good website hosting company.

Most people worry about hosting speed and downtimes but that’s not the right way to look at it. Any website hosting company can provide fast hosting, depending on what hosting plan you’re using.

In fact, website speed mostly depends on website performance and the type of server you use (shared vs VPS vs dedicated server).

Other considerations like security, backup, and uptime are important factors, but these are usually standardized to align with industry best practices.

A better indicate of a reliable and trustworthy hosting company is how they treat customers.

A cloud hosting company that’s committed to customer satisfaction will ensure that you get no careless configuration errors, accidental deletions, unscheduled maintenance, backup failures, security gaps, or greedy pricing.

Expert tip: Don’t trust review sites to find good hosting companies. Communities on Reddit or Twitter are a great place to start, but it takes time to filter through responses. Our advice: contact the company’s support and ask about their services, especially help with site migration. Their response will tell you what you need to know.  

FYI, you can reach Truehost through our contact page or by calling us on +1 972 674 3814.

Truehost is one of the fastest-growing website hosting companies in the world because of our commitment to customer satisfaction. Every customer is precious to us, and we work very hard to keep them happy.

At Truehost, our mission is to help small businesses grow. We don’t just provide website hosting, we also have a whole host of tools designed to help business owners.

For example, our website builder,, comes with in-built SEO optimization, DNS management tools, free SSL certificates, analytics, and more.

That’s part of the reason why we’ve earned a strong reputation as one of the most reliable and trusted cloud services provider in the Philippines, Canada, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, India, and the UK.

If you’re looking for a website hosting provider who is committed to helping your business grow, talk to us today. We’re also available on Twitter and Instagram!

To learn more about websites and web development, check out the other articles in this guide.

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