Web hosting is the service of storing data that keeps websites up and running for users. Every single website that is online has a host server, and almost all use a web host to manage that storage. Not all web hosts provide the same level of quality, though. Uptime, and data speed and quantity of transfer are the best measures of a host’s success.
A shared web hosting service is an agreement whereby each user gets a certain portion of total available resources. Multiple domains are hosted by the same server, which means that the server’s capabilities are split between multiple domains. This means that these websites will not experience as robust of performance as a website that has a dedicated server applying all of its resources solely to one website.
domain name is the actual name of a website, and every single website has a domain name. To obtain one, you need to purchase it through a domain registrar. Domains can cost anywhere from a few dollars a year to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, based on the contract and popularity of the domain. Every domain name is actually pointing to an IP (Internet Protocol) address, which is a series of numbers.
Domain names aren’t actually bought and sold. In reality, they are only registered for exclusive use for a set period of time, usually one or two years. Unless the registration is renewed before this period has expired, after this time anyone else may be able to register the same domain and claim ownership for a further period. To manage all these registrations, administer domains effectively, and provide a service to domain name owners, private companies are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Domain registrars can process your domain name registration on your behalf and will pass the costs of this process onto you, including additional fees for providing this service. They provide a domain search service, allowing you to search for domains and check their availability. Many also provide additional services which they include within the same registration fee like customer service, support, and administration tools.
ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. All top level domains (.com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .name, etc) and many second level domains (.co.uk, for example) are administered by ICANN, who draw up contracts with each registry and run an accreditation system for registrars. Netregistry is an ICANN-accredited registrar.
Bandwidth is the amount of data that is accessed while viewing a website. Every time a user views a website, data is transferred, and the measurement of that transfer is bandwidth. In general, images, audio files and video files are higher in bandwidth than text.
Disk space refers to the total space available for a user to store files on at any time. Files may be any type – HTML, images, videos – and at any single given time, the total file size may not exceed the disk space. How much disk space you need is dependent on what type of media and interactions you’ll be hosting through your site. Your email account’s storage is also counted in disk space.
You can find out how many people visited your site through a number of different third party resources, such as Google Analytics or StatCounter. Some hosts provide easy ways to incorporate these tools into your website to start tracking, but some don’t give you any help in setup at all.
When you purchase an account with a web host, one of the services you receive is a certain number of dedicated email accounts for any domain hosted on that account. Some web hosts give you one email account, or 20 email accounts, or unlimited email accounts. Those email accounts are managed from the control panel of the web host and you can set up email accounts, change their passwords, and set up email forwarders, all from that control panel.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) web hosting is designed to allow one physical server to share its resources, such as memory, storage and processing power, with a number of virtual machines and to use its resources more efficiently without the high cost of maintaining such a hardware system.
Unfortunately, the short answer is that without adding in some level of protection, your site is probably not protected from hackers. Some web hosts give you that added protection, and some don’t. For example, some web hosts provide SiteLock Security, which works hard to block hackers and spammers. If you are using WordPress, your site is inherently more secure than many, but it is still extremely important to install plugins focused on boosting security.
You can – and should! – back up your website regularly. From the control panel, there should be a Backup function, and with one click, you can save all of your files, if they are under 500 MB. If they total more than that, you will need to save your databases in partitions. To back up your website, is also as simple as through FTP simply dragging your PUBLIC.html folder over to your computer and copying the files in that way.