What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a computer where people store their websites. Think of it as a house where you store all your stuff; but instead of storing your clothes and furniture, you store computer files (HTML, documents, images, videos, etc) in a web host.
Much like there are many different categories of cars, website hosting also comes in various flavors. For example, shared hosting is the cheapest and easiest to manage – they are akin to the compact cars of the world.
As the type of web hosting scales up, so too does the cost involved and often the complexity of managing the hosting account. For example, in VPS hosting you would need to manage not just the hosting details but also the environment that it is being hosted.
Three types of web host
In a nutshell, the most common types of hosting are
- Shared Hosting
- VPS/Cloud hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
Shared vs Virtual Private / Cloud vs Dedicated Server Hosting
In terms of performance and management, each web hosting type also has their own pros and cons so choose yours accordingly.
What is WordPress Hosting? Or Prestashop / Magento / WooCommerce Hosting?
It’s important to know that web applications and web hosting are not the same things.
Some web hosts offer plans such as WordPress Hosting, PrestaShop Hosting, WooCommerce Hosting, and so on. These are not really hosting types, but intended to attract laymen who may not be familiar with real web hosting terms. These hosting offers merely entice users with the names of popular web applications.
For example, not many people might know the difference between hosting types, but many will recognize the term ‘WordPress’.
The type of web hosting you will need is typically defined by:
- The volume of traffic you expect on your website, or
- Any specific needs your website might have.
Most websites that are just starting out will typically have low traffic volume (i.e. few visitors) and shared hosting accounts will be fine for those. Most shared accounts will also come with application installers (such as Softaculous), but to ensure that your needs are met, ask the host if the application you want can be installed on the account you’re looking at.