Frequently Asked Questions
Web hosting is, more or less, an agreement between you and a web hosting service provider that you will pay a monthly lease to own and operate a portion of their massive web servers. These are computers that will house all of your data, and will allow others to get a good look at the content you so painstakingly create. Think of it as a storage unit with windows that other Internet users will drive by and take a peep through.
Before you begin your comparison journey, you have to decide what type of web hosting will fit your needs as a webmaster. Your basic choices are shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated hosting. If you are just starting out online and you don't have a lot of websites, then you may want to begin comparing cheap shared hosting plans. If you want more freedom over your hosting account, then you may want to choose a more powerful VPS hosting plan instead. Finally, if you're extremely serious about being successful online and you want the best of the best, then you should being comparing dedicated hosting plans.
The web hosting industry is extremely competitive, with almost 25 thousand web hosting providers competing for your business at any given point in time. To grab your attention, many of them will offer extremely low prices, while some will simply add more features and benefits to the plans. While price comparisons are generally simple to conduct in other industries, in web hosting, it can be quite confusing, considering all of the plan features that must be compared as well. Many people also fail to realize the differences in payment structure, as well as other pricing factors, such as fees and startup costs.
The first thing you need to consider when comparing two similarly priced plans is the payment structure. Some plans require you to pay a year in advance, while others will let you pay on a monthly basis. This can be the biggest difference in regards to startup cost. Plan A may cost $7 per month; however, you may be required to pay one year in advance, which would make the startup cost about $84 (plus applicable fees). On the other hand, Plan B may cost $15 per month, but without annual payments. In this example, even though Plan B costs twice as much per month, it would be possible to get started for a fraction of the cost without the obligation of a yearly contract.
In the web hosting industry, pricing is not always what it seems, especially for the novice webmaster. Make sure you investigate the true cost of prospective hosting plans before making any commitments. Unexpected or hidden fees is an another pricing factor to consider when purchasing a hosting plan. The first fee to look for is the setup fee. Many hosting plans charge around $50 for a setup fee when you first purchase the plan. In some cases, the hosting company may offer a rebate on this setup fee; however, you should know that you will receive the money at a later date, and you will still need to pay the fee when purchasing the plan.
Cloud VPS hosting is much different than regular web hosting because it utilizes a network of web servers that work in unison to provide server resources to hundreds of web sites simultaneously. Although this sounds similar to VPS hosting it is every different, because there are no limits to the amount of resources that can be allocated to a particular web site at any given point in time. Some of the most powerful web sites on the internet use cloud hosting to transmit data, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, and other massive corporate sites. If you want the fastest possible web hosting for your site then you should consider cloud VPS hosting.
In general, most VPS hosting providers offer a plethora of VPS plans that are scalable in size. Since a VPS is simply a designated partition from a web server, it is possible to adjust the size of that partition depending upon the needs of the web server. Thus, it is not uncommon to see several VPS hosting plans being offered by one hosting provider. For example, some large hosting companies offer up to nine different levels of VPS hosting. Needless to say, with such a diverse plan selections, the prices can differ greatly. However, most companies offer plans ranging anywhere from $20 per month to $200 per month.
The main benefit of VPS hosting is the expandability of the hosting plans. Instead of being confined to a particular set of server resources, you can expand your plan at any time in most cases. If you are not sure how much server resources you need to keep your sites operating optimally, then you may want to consider a powerful VPS plan, or a cloud VPS hosting plan. VPS web hosting is surprisingly affordable in most cases, with prices starting just above the cost of shared web hosting. This affordability and expandability makes VPS web hosting perfect for novice webmasters and professional alike. Upgrading a VPS hosting plan is extremely simple, especially if you choose to stay with the same hosting provider.
VPS hosting is perfect for small to medium sized businesses that need the functionality of a dedicated server without the additional cost or server maintenance responsibilities. If you have been using a shared hosting plan and you're noticing decreased site performance and site downtime, then you may need to upgrade to a VPS hosting plan. VPS hosting is perfect for people that need complete control over their server's software configuration and control panel. With a shared hosting plan, you are forced to use the software configuration mandated by the hosting company. In contrast, VPS is comparable to having a private web server, except without the exuberant setup and maintenance costs.
VPS web hosting is one of the most popular kinds of hosting available, most likely because it offers a perfect balance between affordability and professional functionality. VPS is an abbreviation for Virtual Private Server, which describes the web server configuration. Web servers are powerful computers that serve information to web pages so that it can be accessed by visitors around the world. When a visitor views one of your web pages they are actually downloading content directly from your web server. A virtual private server is simply a section of a web server that is devoted solely to your web site. VPS hosting is a mixture of shared hosting (the most affordable kind of hosting) and dedicated hosting (the most powerful kind of web hosting).
If you were to purchase a dedicated web server it could cost you several thousand dollars, and you would have to find a place to store it, which would be an additional monthly fee for colocation services. Fortunately, there are dedicated hosting plans that let you lease a dedicated server without any commitment to purchase. Dedicated hosting plans start at about $100 per month and go all the way up. As in every other industry, you'll undoubtedly get what you pay for. Most dedicated hosting plans cost about $300-$400 per month for a fully managed dedicated server. It is important to decide whether or not it is necessary to purchase a dedicated hosting plan for your web sites. Surprisingly, many people purchase dedicated hosting and never use more than half of their server resources. Instead of spending a lot of money on dedicated hosting you may be able to save money by purchasing a less powerful plan that is more suitable for your online business.
Dedicated web servers are servers that are devoted to a specific hosting account holder. This exclusivity, combined with the overall power of the web servers, make dedicated web servers the most powerful hosting solution available. When you purchase a dedicated hosting plan you are actually leasing your own dedicated server at a remote location. Dedicated web servers offer the webmaster complete control over server resources, which includes software configuration, resource allocation and even server performance tuning. In fact, you practically own the dedicated server while renting your dedicated web hosting plan.
While all of the benefits of a dedicated server may sound great, it should be noted that there are two different kinds of dedicated server plans, and they are completely different in terms of ease of use. Which is better – managed or unmanaged dedicated hosting? The answer to this question depends entirely upon your experience with web servers, and your needs as a webmaster. If you have no experience with server management then you will definitely need a fully managed dedicated web hosting account. Fully managed dedicated hosting plans cost a bit more than unmanaged hosting plans, simply because there is on site technical support and server administration included. with a managed dedicated hosting plan, you can relax and leave all of the complicated issues up to the hosting company.
If you own a large business or dozens of successful websites, then you may want to consider upgrading to a dedicated hosting plan eventually. This is especially true if you are experiencing site down time or other performance issues with your current hosting plans. If you are just getting involved in web hosting, using a dedicated hosting plan as your first web hosting experience is not recommended. Instead, you may want to start with a shared or VPS hosting plan, both of which are suitable solutions for small to medium sized businesses.
As the name implies, a dedicated server is a private web server that is dedicated to a single person or company. Unlike shared or VPS hosting plans, the web server that is servicing your websites is not being used by anyone else. Dedicated web servers are the envy of the web hosting industry, being the most powerful solution available for small to medium size online business owners. Many webmasters decide to purchase the cheapest web hosting plan available rather than shop around for the most suitable solution for their web site. Unfortunately, doing this will almost always result in an unnecessary upgrades later on, often at a time that is very inopportune for both the site owner and the site visitors.
Control panels have replaced programming and other web skills that are no longer needed for site and server administration. Control panels are split into sections that simplify the process of operating web sites and controlling the features of your web hosting account. If you have ever tried to upload a web page to your sever manually without the help of a content management system, or if you have had the misfortune of setting up cron jobs manually through your server without the help of a control panel, then you probably understand the importance of the convenience offered by control panels. Processes that take hours to complete can be reduced to minutes of work. After offering volumes of hours of support to their web hosting customers it became clear to hosting providers that a simpler solution was needed. Thus, the control panel was born.
In many cases, control panels are supplied with the hosting account by default, so there is not much of a choice involved after you've selected the hosting plan. However, in some cases, you can choose your own web hosting control panel and have it installed on your server if you'd like. The easiest way to get the control panel of your choice is to opt for a web hosting plan that includes your preferred control panel pre-installed. It may be hard to find a web hosting provider that offers a control panel other than cPanel for basic hosting accounts. However, VPS and dedicated servers usually come with more powerful control panels like Virtuozzo and Plesk. It is important to note that even though these control panels are more powerful, they are not easier to use. If you are just starting out with web hosting, you should definitely consider learning how to use cPanel first.
When you log into your control panel, you will notice a set of modules arranged in rows. Each row pertains to a different a section of website and server management. Some of the modules which you will be using most often include the email module (where you can check your site's email and create new email accounts), the domain manager (which lets you assign new domains and manage your current list of domains and subdomains), redirects (which lets you assign specific redirects from one web page to another), and the FTP section (where you can set up access to your web server through an FTP client). The aforementioned sections are just some of the many modules that you have at your convenience within the web hosting control panel. If you operate an online business with multiple business email addresses associated with your domains, then you'll most definitely use the email account module the most. You'll want to choose an email client that suits your needs. Most of the time, you can choose from applications such as Squirrel Mail.
Control panels give you complete control over your hosting account within a centralized user-friendly interface. There are various control panels on the market, and each one has its advantages. The most popular control panel is cPanel, which is by far one of the simplest and well-documented tools on the internet. With such a large user base, it is literally impossible to be confused with cPanel. Most web hosting providers offer complete video tutorials for every module within cPanel, and if your hosting provider does not, you can usually find the same tutorials on other sites like Youtube. A good control panel will give you complete control over your hosting account with very little training using visual modules and integrated instructions.
Control panel is a graphical user interface (GUI) to manage your web hosting account. Within your control panel you can upload and organize site content, manage domain name settings, schedule duties and much more. Whether you need comprehensive traffic analysis or a simple interface to check your emails, a good web hosting control panel can do all of this and more.