First and foremost, for non-IT savvy, it might be a little tough for them to comprehend the meaning of web hosting. I believe if you search it on any search engine, of course there will be answer and explanation for them. But, how far do you really understand? Honestly, when I first get to know this term few years back, I had problem understanding myself. Then, I found one simple explanation that might be easy for people to understand. So, today, if anyone were to ask me what is "web hosting", i'd explain as follows...
Imagine you are homeless and you want to rent a room or buy a house. In order to get a shelter for yourself, you need a room. So, you imagine yourself as the website and the room as the hosting that you need to place yourself in. That means your website need a web hosting. Then, that's the time you start finding yourself a web hosting provider. Here, web hosting provider would be the house owner who rents you the room. So, in order for your website to be available and browsed by Internet users, you need to make sure your website is hosted in a web server provided by a web hosting provider.
So, when you finally understand what web hosting is, next will be the time to find out more about the different types of web hosting available. You have shared hosting, dedicated hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, and colocation hosting. You name it, the Internet has it! So many to remember and differentiate..so, let's get the ball rolling with...
Shared hosting means that a web server has its resources shared by many other websites. Or you can put it as, in a house, there are many tenants. Usually small or normal e-commerce businesses will choose this type of hosting. Websites with high traffic might not be able to choose this type of hosting due to insufficient webspace.
Dedicated hosting refers to hosting in which you rent a server from your web hosting provider and will be placed at your web hosting provider's datacentre. They will provide software installation and connection to Internet. This will indicates that the website owner has control over the server as they don't share it with other websites. In short, dedicated hosting is where only 1 user hosted on the server machine and have a full privilege over the server to manage it by themself. The server machine will be still belongs to the web hosting provider.
Well, this hosting has the features which are almost the same as dedicated hosting EXCEPT that you provide your own server and web hosting provider just help you to plug it into their datacentre. You need to install own software and hardwares. Everything is DIY.
Reseller Hosting is a hosting where the account owner has the priviledge to allocate the webspace and bandwidth access and resell them to his clients. This shows that reseller hosts act like a middleman and is usually not responsible for any software or hardware intallation. They only buy webspace and resell to clients.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It is almost the same as dedicated server. Hence, it's sometimes called Virtual Dedicated Server. Generally, it means that the account owner has the feeling as though his owns a dedicated server. In real sense, it's actually separating a physical server into several independent hosting spaces or VPS-es, each isolated from the other.This will allow you to create and manage multiple sites and domains and take full control of your VPS with root/administrator access which allows you to access the virtual hard disk, RAM and to reboot your private server independently from other VPS-es.
After we are done with the different types of hosting, there is something else which I want to touch on. It is none other than the "domain name". So, ever wonder what is domain name? Wow, sounds technical? Not really actually. Don't be scared. Last time, when I saw the words domain name, it freaked me out too. Now, when I got used to it, it's not that nerve-wracking after all. So, domain name is just the normal web address or url (Uniform Resource Locator) you type in the "address" area when you open a browser. Examples of domain name are "exabytes.com". You know? Just the normal web address. Well, since it's a web address, it's a unique name. Hence, there will be no other same domain name. In fact, domain name is actually corresponding with numeric IP address. So, every domain name will have its numeric IP address. For example, the IP address for exabytes.com is 188.8.131.52
When you see exabytes.com, ever wonder ".com" stands for what? It actually stands for commercial. Whenever you see .com, .org, .net or others which ends after the final dot or period (.) of a url, it is known as top-level domain. It actually tells you what kind of website it is, indirectly. And the commonly used domain name extension nowadays will be .org, .net, .com. However, there are a lot of new domain extension up for grab lately such as .aero, .info, .museum, and .name. Next in the list that I shall explain is, Country Level Domain Name. Examples of country level domain name is exabytes.com.my. It has ".my" as its country code top-level domain (ccTLD). .my here represents the country "Malaysia". Of course, different country will have different ccTLD. For example, .jp stands for Japan, .au for Australia, .ca for Canada.
There are more to learn in order to excel in web hosting industry. Hopefully this simple guide will help all those novice out there. There are other things you need to know as well. But, it will be in my next article. Cheers!