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Feeling Overwhelmed? Understand Web Hosting In 7 Minutes And Feel Confident Again

By CuylerC / March 2, 2018
Feel Confident Again

You will not believe this…

But you can understand web hosting.

Do you need web hosting?

Does all the jargon slung around like an out-of-control mud fight confuse you?

I want to clear web hosting up for you and arm you with some valuable knowledge. The next time you open your browser and look at the mumbo jumbo splattered on the features page of a hosting service you’ve taken interest in, you’ll understand what they want to sell you.

Sound good?

Then keep reading and join the business owners who understand hosting and have selected their own hosting company for their business website.

Now on to the mumbo and the jumbo…

Hosting Terms

Note: Would you like to know who we use to host our websites? The best in the industry, these guys have the trophy case to prove it. Get amazing service, fast website speeds, fully maintained and upgraded servers, easy scalability, free website transfers, and a no-hassle guarantee. Join the many business owners who rely on A2 Hosting. Click here to learn more and take advantage of their 50% off deal on shared hosting for first time purchasers.

Helpful Tip


If I haven't covered a term you need to know the definition of, techterms.com has a handy search bar. Just type in the term, and a definition will appear.

How Does Good Hosting Make Websites Faster?

The more resources a server can dedicate to the operation of your site, the faster it will load up for the visitors requesting that site. Depending on the type of package you buy from your hosting company of choice, your site will perform faster, or slower.

Hopefully faster…

A powerful fancy computer, called a server, hosts websites. Every website uses up resources on the server hosting it. So, the more RAM, hard drive space, processing power, and efficient hardware technology you have, the faster your server will run, and the faster it can serve up the files to your visitors.

The Web Page Delivery Van

Fast Server

Some server packages will appoint more resources to your site than other packages offered by a hosting company. The more visitors you have to your site, the more resources you need to serve up your site to those users.

Every time your server delivers a page of your website to an internet user, it uses some of its resources. And if the server must “serve” more than one web page at a time, the resources needed increase in quantity. Every visitor requesting a site to their browser effectively asks the hosts to increase the resources needed to keep your site viewable online.

The type of server package you need to host your site will depend on more than one factor:

  • The amount of visitors you have to your site at any one time.
  • The type of media you deliver such as: text, images, video, software access.
  • And the efficiency of the server being used, the hardware the server is made of, and the number of server renters currently sharing the server. 

Once you way those factors, you can take a more accurate approach to choosing the proper server package.

Keep reading... later I provide a help section called "Ask Yourself" to help you determine the best server package for you.

Caching also helps speed up websites.

Caching works like this:

The visitor lands on your page for the first time. Their browser will retain your web files. Next time they visit your site, their browser recognizes the site and page they are on, and instead retrieving the files from your server, their browser pulls them up from the user’s computer.

You can also help this process along by installing caching plugins on your site – if you use WordPress.

Now I have a bonus for you...

Bonus: Other Ways To Make A Website Faster

Other ways to make sure your server delivers content faster include:

  • CDN
  • Efficient Site Construction
  • Display only the needed elements
  • Minimal image and file sizes

A CDN, or (Content Delivery Network), will cache your site on different servers around the world. When a visitor types in your site address, the CDN will detect their location and deliver the content to them from the closest server to their location.

So instead of trying to retrieve files from Canada, when the visitor lives in China, the visitor might retrieve your web files from a server in Singapore instead. Much closer than sending file over the ocean. It might only load the site up 1 or 2 seconds faster.

But when you consider a load time of over 3 seconds can cause a 33% loss in possible traffic, that 1 second got huge.

Now, do you know how to properly construct a website...?

Don't Worry! Proper Construction of a Website Doesn't Involve Rocket Science

Proper Site Construction

To keep your site fast, your site needs top notch architecture behind it. This means clean web language and coding under those fancy pages of your website. No more coding than needed either: redundant lines of code will cause your browser to read more code than needed to display the web page.

To get the cleanest code possible, a code website developer who hand codes sites will do the best job. But because hiring a web developer includes opening a fat wallet, most business owners want to buy web creation software.

In this case, I recommend Thrive Themes. Their WordPress plugin suite writes the cleanest code you can find for a software that automatically writes it as you create your website through a visual interface.

Don't Display More Than Necessary

Don’t put more elements on your website than needed to achieve your goals. Also, when displaying a 500px by 500px image, don’t load up a 10000px by 10000px image.

Just because your website software will scale the image down to fit in the space of 500px, doesn’t mean the image data file size shrinks as well. It doesn’t.

"The smaller the data size of a page, the faster it will load up."

The browser still must load up that 15mb 10,000px image. A 500px image might only by 150kb if edited down to 500px before uploading it to the site.

The smaller the data size of a page, the faster it will load up.

So now you understand hosting, and how sites can run faster, I want to move on to common hosting packages you will encounter…

Note: Would you like to know who we use to host our websites? The best in the industry, these guys have the trophy case to prove it. Get amazing service, fast website speeds, fully maintained and upgraded servers, easy scalability, free website transfers, and a no-hassle guarantee. Join the many business owners who rely on A2 Hosting. Click here to learn more and take advantage of their 50% off deal on shared hosting for first time purchasers.

Common Hosting Packages

A good host will offer different packages based on your resource needs.

And most hosts offer 3 package options per type of server. So, if you need a shared server, you’ll run into approximately 3 packages focused on shared servers. I’ll show you the typical breakdown of hosting options below:

  • Shared Server
  • VPS Servers
  • Dedicated Servers
  • Cloud Servers
  • Reseller Servers

Shared Servers

Light, Medium, and Fast appear as standard shared server packages on most hosting company websites. Each package goes up in value from Light, then Medium, then Fast. And each jump up in value also gives you more resources and features, as obviously expected.

I chose a generic naming convention. I’ve seen actual naming conventions range from (standard) Lite or StartUp or Personal (medium) Swift or GrowBig or Professional (Fast) Turbo or GoGeek or Business.

Check out the shared hosting package breakdowns on A2Hosting.

These represent common hosting packages, and I think A2 Hosting offers more than some of the competitors out there. They offer high end service and quality performance.

Quality Service

Even The Tech World Needs Old-fashioned Quality Service

As a high end, higher priced hosting company, many traffic intensive websites use A2 Hosting because of their premium track record. Despite their quality hosting reputation, prices for their services fall well in the affordable range for any business or personal website.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

VPS accounts are a partitioned section of the same server shared by other account holders. Although the description appears like a shared hosting setup, the similarities end there. Each partition has its own web server software installed. This gives the function of acting like a dedicated server, but still sharing the server with others.

You don’t have to worry about somebody else hogging all the resources and slowing down your site like on a shared hosting account.

Unlike shared servers which take from the pool of resources as needed, your host registers a percentage of the server’s resources to your VPS account. No other website can dip into your hosting package’s resources.

You also can manage your own partition with full root access, if you so wish. You probably won’t need this advanced feature unless you plan on developing software.

Check out these common VPS hosting packages.

As you can see, unmanaged VPS servers cost the least. But don’t let the price fool you. Only those experienced in server management should ever use an unmanaged VPS. This choice reserves itself for users who want full control over their server partition.

If you need the higher dedicated resources of a VPS account because your website traffic picked up beyond the shared hosting server’s capabilities, you need the simplicity of a managed VPS server.

Unmanaged VPS servers cost less because the hosting company doesn’t need to spend as many man hours on server maintenance. The account holder takes care of the server; the hosting company just gives it a place to hum silently. The hosting company techs will adjust server settings upon the account holder’s request, however.

You can also rent a managed VPS server with root access if you have some advanced geeking to do.

Ask Yourself


Before you pick a hosting package, ask yourself these questions:

What is the purpose of my website?

Some examples:

  • Drive visitors to your physical store location
  • Provide prospects or current clients with information
  • To get prospects to call you or make contact with you
  • Gather prospect contact information
  • Online sales (supplementary income to main business)
  • Online sales (primary business income)
  • Personal site for your use only
  • Online Resume
  • Software or app development
  • Some other goal not mentioned

Your website can have more than one objective. For instance, you may want customers to visit your physical store front, but you also might want to have them call you. And you might also want to collect contact information.

Next ask yourself:

How much visitor traffic will I plan on having once I launch this website?

Some expectations could be:

  • A little at first, but plan to grow larger
  • A lot after site launch (large paid traffic budget, or contact list sent the website link)
  • Always a small amount of traffic
  • Medium level traffic

Determining the server package you choose does not solely rely on traffic numbers. You also have to ask yourself:

How much bandwidth will the average visitor use?

And to get a rough idea about bandwidth usage, you need to ask:

What type of content will I have on my website?

  • Text only
  • Text and Images
  • Text, Images, and Video
  • Video and Text
  • Apps and Software

If a visitor consumes text content only, you will do fine with a shared server, even for a lot of traffic. But if you provide a lot of video, the total amount of visitors your server can handle on your site at the same time drops dramatically.

So how does this help you pick your package?

No one answer exists. Depending on your hosts server configurations, and hardware capabilities, you may be able to host 5000 visitors a day on a shared server with just some text and images.

You need to remember every visitor uses bandwidth and server resources (RAM and CPU). Just like your home computer can only handle so many programs running at a time, so the same goes for your server.

And just like your internet slows down at home when the whole family uses it, so to does the server's connection to the internet for uploading the data requested.

So, if you are providing video and resource intensive software access, you may need a VPS or Dedicated Server. Especially if you plan on a lot of traffic.

Last question...

So what can I do to ensure my site runs efficiently, effectively, and with little downtime?

I'll give you the answer to this one: Use a quality hosting company.

And here is a great post you can read on the benefits of a premium hosting company: Successful Business Gain An Edge And Increase Profit By 33% Just By Using Premium Hosting

And here is another to show you how to pick a quality hosting company: How To Choose The Perfect Web Hosting Service For Your New Business Website In 7 Easy Steps

Dedicated Servers

Dedicate Servers: where the big boys play. If you have so much traffic and software running on your website, or websites, you need a server and all its resources to yourself, then you need a dedicated server.

Dedicated server plans look like VPS plans: unmanaged, managed, and managed with root access.

You can see some common plan break downs here: A2 Hosting Dedicated Hosting Plans

You get a lot more resources dedicated to your site than on a VPS account. And why wouldn’t you? You rented a whole server to yourself. One whole computer dedicated to making sure your website runs top notch and delivers the goods to your visitors.

You might have also noticed another package on the page.  The Semi Dedicated Server…

Semi-dedicated Server

What is this…?

I never talked about it yet.

With fancy marketing at play here, you will notice, upon reading the description of the service, VPS and semi dedicated hosting do not differ except in a few options.

A2 Hosting kept the terminology simple for those who want to upgrade form Shared Hosting without a complicated need to understand VPS and its root access.

 Also, if you check out the resource provided in these semi dedicated hosting plans, you will notice a larger allotment of memory, storage, CPU’s, and Transfer data on available larger packages than you get with VPS packages.

You don’t get to choose these larger packages with VPS servers. You also can only select managed hosting. Root access does not exist either. Not an issue if you just want to host a site. If you want to develop software, you should read a different blog.

Of course, if you talked to support, you can get your VPS hosting package upgraded with these resources and end up with the same packages offered in the semi dedicated hosting options.

Marketing, pure and simple. They do market their services effectively. I give them that. By keeping their package details simple for those who need the specific features of a package, they ensure their customers get what they want, and stay happy.

So, what about that cloud…

The Cloud Servers

Imagine... your website in the clouds

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting places your site in a VPS server, but instead of paying for a resource package size, you pay for the resources your site uses in a specific time period. Usually billed monthly.  You pick your starter package size, and as your site grows, the package automatically grows with it

Also, because your site exists in a cloud network, if your VPS server partition goes down, another VPS server partition will pick up the task of hosting your site, and your site doesn’t skip a beat.

Your site can pull resources from another server networked into the cloud if the resources on your current server run low. So, the need to upgrade server size as your site grows disappears.

Sounds like a dream come true… but stay aware of the downsides:

Chances of a security leak increase. Your data travels a network, rather than staying locked in the security of your server. The more data moves, the higher the chance the data gets napped by hackers.

When a server locks in data, only a request from an internet user brings the data out. And thorough website builders ensure they encrypt the connections between their website and the users requesting information from it with SSL technology.

Requests for a website stored on the cloud can involve data files from multiple server locations. These multiple files from various locations now must puzzle together into a web page.

This complex process can leave security breaches in the data stream which hackers use to steal sensitive data.

Also, because cloud hosting involves complex and newer technology, the chances of technical issues and downtime reach higher levels than the tradition hosting routes.

I’m not saying don’t use it. I’ve heard remarkable praise for cloud hosting. I’m just saying keep aware of potential downsides.

"You can rent server space, and re-rent it out to your own customers."

Cloud hosting improves daily, and one day it may take over as the only way we host.

You can check out the cloud hosting package breakdown here: A2 Hosting Cloud Plans

Also, click on “configure this cloud” on one of the packages and play around with the sliders to see how easy you can configure your package.

Now, let’s talk about reseller hosting…

Reseller Hosting

Want to start a new career selling hosting?

Well then, you want reseller hosting.

You can rent server space, and re-rent it out to your own customers. The best part: A2 Hosting still gives you technical support. Of course, other hosting companies offer reseller hosting. But I’m using A2 Hosting for these examples.

A2 Hosting hosts this very website, and I can only describe my experience as excellent. I know the good people in Michigan stand behind their promises to their customers.

If you think reseller hosting might solve your hosting troubles, you can learn more here: A2 Hosting Reseller Hosting (Scroll to the bottom of the page to get more information on how reseller hosting works).

I’m not diving into this topic, because I’m focused on helping you understand hosting for the purposes of owning and building your own website.

Conclusion

You should now know the terms needed to understand hosting, and you won’t lose your way now when you start looking through a hosting company’s website.

I told you some ways to keep your site fast, and how good hosting companies help with that as well.

I went over the common hosting packages, so you’ll understand the types of offers you’ll discover in your search for a host. And now, you can pick the best package for your website.

If you want to know more in depth information about how hosting works, I suggest you check out our article: You Must Understand These 17 Key Elements Before You Purchase Hosting (Not Understanding These Will Prove Fatal For Your Business)

I hope I diffused the confusion and increased your confidence.

Did you find this information helpful? Do you like to help your friends? 

Share now to give them a boost!

Note: Would you like to know who we use to host our websites? The best in the industry, these guys have the trophy case to prove it. Get amazing service, fast website speeds, fully maintained and upgraded servers, easy scalability, free website transfers, and a no-hassle guarantee. Join the many business owners who rely on A2 Hosting. Click here to learn more and take advantage of their 50% off deal on shared hosting for first time purchasers.

About the author

CuylerC

Cuyler loves WordPress. He uses it to set up websites, web-software systems, and eCommerce channels. He has experience in the technical world of the internet, and is good at troubleshooting problems through google searches, and technical support. (gotta love Google and good tech support). He has come to believe that some problems aren't worth solving himself if he can just pay for a good service to put that responsibility on. He would rather spend time building his websites and business than solving technical problems. He spent too much time doing that already.