Hosting is primarily used when you own a website. It's a dedicated server on which all the data related to a domain is stored. The owner of a domain then connects the name of their site to the information so that it is visible over the web. Website ownership can be quite confusing as sometimes there can be multiple parties involved.
There will be the person who owns the name of the site (www.anything.com); a company which will manage the domain name to ensure it can link to the data correctly, and finally, the hosting service which holds all the information due to show on the site.
Deciding if a Host is Required
If you've just recently purchased a website and are getting ready to create and upload your content, you'll need a place to store it so that it's accessible through the web. Although you are able to do it yourself if your internet connection is great, it's general practice to have a hosting server supplied in a data centre by a third party. This means that if something goes wrong at home, your site will continue to be view-able throughout the world. Furthermore, most hosts are able to provide a guarantee of being online and accessible all the time.
Choosing a Host
There are lots of things to take into consideration while choosing a host for your site. For example, you'll want to know how much they cost on a monthly basis, as well as what they are charging you for. Some companies will only provide a web-server, but others will provide email servers as well as technical support to get you started. You'll want to know how reliable they are as well as how good their customer service is, so that you know there's someone to help out when an issue arises.
Price is also an important factor to take into account. A quick internet search will reveal that there a number of sites that boast cheap or free web hosting. However, while these offers maybe attractive, be sure to read the fine print when it comes to cheap or free website hosting companies as there may be bandwidth limitations or they host may place advertising onto your site in order to cover their server costs. Free web hosting may be a preferable option for those who are creating their first website as it allows them to test the water and based on how the site performs they can ascertain whether they really need to pay more for dedicated web hosting. In addition, a number of free web hosting companies also provide free website building software, making it even easier for beginners to get their website online.
The Benefits of Dedicated Hosting
A shared server means that you'll have a server split between different sites. It means that the overall costs are quite cheaper but you may get limited in the amount of space that can be used; or the bandwidth limits (How much you are able to upload or download from the site).
Conversely, with a dedicated server, this generally isn't an issue. The hosting service assigns an entire server to your site alone so that you are able to have more storage space to store all of your pages and scripts. In addition, as you are not sharing your server with other users you avoid the risk of not having enough bandwidth for your site due to other users using it up. This makes dedicated hosting especially important for high-traffic sites.
Dedicated hosting also gives you superior administrative access, this allows for greater control of your site as you are able to install programs and root access means that you can more effectively monitor how you use the server's resources.
Uploaded Information Ownership
Although the servers on which the information is stored belongs to a company (if you are paying a company to provide the hosting), the information that has been uploaded belongs to the person who originally created the content. In some instances, if you don't pay the hosting bill when due, the server owner may take the content offline and ensure that it is unavailable until the bill is up to date. It's rare this happens but it's always best to read the terms and conditions.