Over the years I have frequently had to explain how domain names, nameservers, and web hosting work. I wrote this article to help clarify any confusion people have and provide an extremely simple explanation of web hosting. I will also provide the very best web hosting resources from my personal experience and experts in the industry.
Best web hosting
Siteground – Top Recommended
Digital Ocean – Developers Choice
Kinsta – Agency Choice
How web hosting works
The first thing is to have a domain name, this is the address of a website, such as incometowealth.com. To buy a domain name you need to use a domain registrar, such as Namecheap. Your domain name will be accessible through a particular IP address (internet protocol), think of this as the phone number for a computer and the domain name is like an alias for that IP address to make it easier to access.
The second step is to set up nameservers for your domain. The domain name you have is the alias for your website’s IP address, and the nameservers you have will “point” people to that IP address. This is done through pointing the nameservers where you registered your domain (Namecheap) to your web host. Your website is simply a collection of files and code (HTML files, CSS files, images, etc.) that are stored on the servers of your web host. You pay this web hosting company to host your files and website on their servers.
When visitors type your domain in their web browser the DNS points to the right computer and the user sees the website contents that are hosted on your web host’s server.
Types of web hosting
Shared Hosting – This is the most affordable web hosting option, you buy hosting on a server that is shared by other websites. It’s very simple and easy to use but you have minimal control over the server.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) – With VPS hosting you get a stronger and more advanced form of shared hosting. You share a server with other websites but you are assigned resources that are not shared with other websites.
Dedicated Hosting – Dedicated hosting allows you to lease an entire server without sharing resources with anyone else, hence the name dedicated hosting. You have full control over the servers including software or hardware you decide to use.
The importance of quality web hosting
There are a ton of different options for web hosting you can use for your website. The web host you choose will depend on the type of website you want to host whether its a blog, an eCommerce website, or a big brand such as Coca-Cola. No matter which host you use you will want to look into their performance in the following areas:
Uptime – Does the hosting company guarantee at least a 99% uptime?
Customers – How many total customers do they have? Where are their customer located globally?
Online reviews – These can shed light into the quality of the service but make sure you are reading a credible source
Support – Does the web host have 24/7 technical support?
Related products – Does the hosting company provide an email, SSL security, site backups and other services?
Web hosting recommendations
#1 Siteground (60% off currently)
What Siteground is best for:
- WordPress Hosting
- Affiliate Marketers
Siteground provides great performance and affordability, and this is why I always recommend their hosting for beginners. I always see beginners asking for hosting recommendations and I always scratch my head if Siteground isn’t mentioned.
They also have extremely useful free features. These include 1-click WordPress installation, multiple free email accounts, and an easy install SSL certificate for added security.
Just like most web hosts, Siteground provides multiple hosting plans. Beginners usually signup with the StartUp plan because it is the cheapest, and as their site grows they can easily upgrade to plans such as the GrowBig and GoGeek with additional features and functionality. The biggest difference between the plans is that GrowBig and GoGeek allow you to host multiple domains from one account, whereas StartUp only allows one domain.
StartUp – This is the most basic hosting plan of the three. It allows for one domain and 10,000 monthly visits. The offer includes: free email accounts, 10GB SSD web space storage, free SSL, and 24/7 support, among other great features.
GrowBig – This plan allows for multiple domains and 25,000 monthly visists. The offer include everything from the StartUp plan as well as priority technical support, 20GB storage, and SuperCacher a plugin to increase site speed, among other great features.
GoGeek – This plan is the largest of Siteground’s shared hosting plans, and it allows for multiple domains and 100,000 monthly visits. The offer includes all of the StartUp and GrowBig features as well as advanced features such as PCI compliant servers, and one-click Git Repo Creation.
You choose the plan that fits best, and you can trust that Siteground will provide great hosting for your website. For a guide on building a WordPress website with Siteground you can read the full guide to starting a website with Siteground.
#2 Digital Ocean (Developer’s Recommendation)
What Digital Ocean is best for:
This is definitely the choice for developers because it provides a lot of customization at a great price. Digital Ocean’s slogan is cloud computing, designed for developers. They offer a level of customization that is more advanced that most web hosts. Digital Ocean offers servers you can choose based on price and storage requirements and then you install your website on to their servers.
#3 Kinsta (Enterprise Hosting)
What Kinsta is best for:
- Massive companies
Kinsta is managed WordPress hosting through Google Cloud. They offer great enterprise hosting that are often customized on a per-customer basis. They offer a more hands-on experience as great features, which is reflected in the pricing for enterprise hosting. Kinsta has top tier performance and you get what you pay for with enterprise plans costing $600 or $900.
I would recommend Kinsta to anyone starting an agency or managing dozens of websites. They have expert level WordPress support and some of the fastest servers of any web hosting providers.