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. You can often pay more to get data transferred in higher quantities, faster. Most web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space at a speed that is perfectly fine for small-to-moderate sized businesses or individuals. For companies with burdensome websites, they may need to seek out a more advanced web host.
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. If requests come in for multiple websites on the same server simultaneously, the server will only be able to transfer so much information at a single time. For low-bandwidth websites, the delays will often be unnoticeable, but for more burdensome websites, the delay can be significant.
A 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. Because most people can’t remember 10 digits in perfect order, domain names serve as easily-remembered alias for visitors. Probably the best known domain name is google.com, and Google’s IP address is 188.8.131.52… which is easier for you to remember?
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. That means that if you have a more burdensome website in terms of bandwidth – if you have lots of video or streaming audio, for example – you have a higher bandwidth requirement than someone with a simple text-only website, or someone with only a few low-resolution images. Some web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth, and some place a cap on it.