What is Web Hosting? A Guide for Business Owners

Find out the difference between domain registrars and web hosting providers. See how both are important for starting your website and keeping it running smoothly online.

Singapore Business Owners

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Quick Definations for Web Host, Domain Name and Name Server

For many business owners, the terms “web hosting” and “domain registration” can seem like complex, technical jargon. However, understanding these concepts is crucial for establishing and maintaining a strong online presence.

Web Host

A web host is the actual place (a server) where all your web files are stored for people to access through the World Wide Web.

Domain Name

A domain name is the digital address that customers use to find your online store. It’s a unique name that visitors enter into their web browser, like “www.yourbusinessname.com”. Just as you’d register a business name, you need to register your domain name to ensure it’s exclusively yours.

Name Servers

Name servers are specialized servers on the internet that play a crucial role in translating domain names into IP addresses (typically the web hosts), which are numerical labels assigned to devices connected to a network.

Let’s break down the concept of web hosting in simpler terms, drawing parallels to something more familiar: setting up a physical business.

what is web hosting_diagram
Web hosting is like having an office

What Is Web Hosting?

Web hosting services provide space on their servers to host your website, making it accessible to anyone on the internet at any time. Think of web hosts as landlords renting out space on the internet where your website’s files live.

What is Domain Registrar?

A domain registrar is a company authorized to sell domain names. Domain names are the addresses internet users type into their web browsers to visit your website, such as www.yourbusiness.com. These unique addresses need to be registered to be used exclusively by you on the internet.

What a Domain Registrar Provides?

  • Domain Registration: This is the process of acquiring a unique domain name for a specified period, usually a year, after which it needs to be renewed.
  • Domain Management: Registrars provide tools to manage your domain, including transferring your domain name, changing your registrar, and setting up privacy protections.
  • DNS Management: Domain registrars often offer DNS (Domain Name System) management services, allowing you to point your domain name to the server where your website is hosted.

What is a Web Hosting Provider?

While a domain registrar gives your website a name, a web hosting provider gives your website a place to live. Web hosting is a service that allows individuals and organizations to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.

What a Web Host Provides?

  • Website Storage: Web hosts offer space on their servers where all your website files are stored and accessed.
  • Website Access: Hosting services ensure that your website is accessible to users around the clock, handling the traffic of visitors coming to your site.
  • Support and Maintenance: Many hosts provide technical support, security, and maintenance services to ensure your website runs smoothly and remains secure from online threats.

Different Types of Web Server

There are mainly four types of web server hosting options available for websites today: shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), dedicated, and cloud hosting. Each type offers different levels of performance, security, and flexibility to cater to the diverse needs of websites ranging from small personal blogs to large corporate platforms. Choosing the right hosting environment is crucial for ensuring your website operates smoothly, remains secure, and can scale as your business grows.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most basic and cost-effective option, ideal for small websites and beginners. With shared hosting, your website shares a single server’s resources, such as CPU, RAM, and disk space, with other websites. This can be a great starting point due to its affordability and simplicity, but it may lead to performance issues if other sites on the server experience high traffic or if your site grows beyond the server’s capacity.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS hosting offers a middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting. Although your site still shares a server with other websites, it operates within a virtualized environment that allocates specific portions of the server’s resources to your site. This setup provides more control and dedicated resources, reducing the risk of performance issues related to other sites on the server. VPS hosting is suitable for businesses expecting moderate traffic or developers needing a customizable hosting environment.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting provides a server solely for your website, offering maximum control, performance, and security. With dedicated hosting, you’re not sharing resources with any other websites, which means you have the entire server’s capacity at your disposal. This type of hosting is ideal for large businesses or websites with high traffic volumes, requiring extensive customization and control over their hosting environment. However, it’s also the most expensive option and requires technical knowledge to manage and configure the server.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting represents a shift from traditional hosting models, utilizing a network of virtual servers that store your data across multiple physical servers. The main advantage of cloud hosting is its scalability and reliability; you can easily scale your resources up or down based on traffic, and if one server in the cloud network fails, another can take over, ensuring your website remains online. This type of hosting is suitable for businesses with fluctuating traffic patterns or those looking for high availability and scalability options.

The Relationship Between A Web Host and a Domain Registra

What is Web Hosting? A Guide for Business Owners 1
Web Hosting
Domain Registrar
Name Servers
Main Function
Hosting your website’s content online.
Acquiring a unique domain name for your website.
Directing your domain to the hosted website content.
Notable Providers
Bluehost, SiteGround
Namecheap, GoDaddy
Cloudflare, Google DNS, Domain Registrars
Comparision of Web Hosting vs Domain Registra and Name Servers

To make a website visible online, you need both a domain name and web hosting. The domain name serves as the address that directs users to your website, while the hosting provides the physical space (server) where your website’s content is stored. After registering a domain name, you will use the domain registrar’s name server to point your domain to your web hosting provider’s server using DNS settings.

What is Web Hosting? A Guide for Business Owners 2
Many vendors offer both domain registration and web hosting

Most vendors like GoDaddy or SiteGround now offers both domain registrar and web hosting services. Just be clear, these are 2 distinct functions even though they are provided by the same company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Nameservers?

Name servers are specialized servers on the internet that play a crucial role in translating domain names into IP addresses, which are numerical labels assigned to devices connected to a network. Whenever you type a website’s domain name into your browser, name servers direct your request to the correct server where the website’s files are stored. This process, known as DNS (Domain Name System) lookup, allows you to access websites by typing easy-to-remember domain names instead of complex numerical IP addresses. Essentially, name servers act as the internet’s phonebook, enabling the seamless finding and connecting to websites worldwide.
In short, name servers are like the internet’s address book, helping turn website names into addresses computers can understand.

Most domain registrars offer name servers, allowing you to connect your domain to the internet, but you can also use your web host’s name servers or services like Cloudflare for this purpose.

What is the difference between Web Hosting and Email Hosting?

Email hosting and web hosting are two different services that cater to distinct aspects of your online presence.

Web Hosting is a service that allows you to publish your website on the internet. It provides the technology and server space required for your website to be accessed by users around the world. Web hosting involves storing website files, such as HTML, CSS, and media files, on a server.

Email Hosting, on the other hand, is specifically focused on managing your email communications. It allows you to send, receive, and store emails using your own domain name (e.g., [email protected]). Unlike web hosting, email hosting services are dedicated to ensuring the security and reliability of your email accounts.
While some web hosting packages include email hosting as part of their service, the capabilities and features can be limited compared to dedicated email hosting solutions. Dedicated email hosting services like GSuite or Zoho offer advanced features such as larger storage capacities, better security measures, email encryption, and comprehensive support, which are essential for businesses looking for professional email communication tools.

How much does web hosting costs?

It is not expensive to host a website. For a standard website, hosting will costs around SGD$5 to SGD$40 per month. Most hosting providers will also use the same plan to support email hostings. Alternatively. you can look at Zoho or Google Suite for email hosting from around SGD$5 to SGD$20 per user account per month.

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