The Basics of Web Hosting

Web hosting services offer individuals or businesses the opportunity to have their own websites on the World Wide Web. With people spending more and more time online now than ever before, websites have become increasingly important. Free web hosting services allow anyone to get started with their website, but paid web hosting services – such as shared hosting and dedicated hosting – are often tailored for business or commercial websites.

Here is a short overview of what people mean by the terms free hosting, and paid hosting such as shared hosting and dedicated hosting.


Free hosting allows users to create a website with limited functionality, free of charge. These websites almost always have restrictions on the type or amount of content uploaded, narrow bandwidth, and the service is usually sustained by external advertisements on the website. These websites aim to convert their users into paid customers by lauding the benefits of paid hosting services and offering free trial periods. Free hosting services are suitable for those looking for a small, easy-to-manage personal website, but the increasing popularity of blogs and social networking sites means that free websites are quickly becoming a thing of the past.


Paid hosting requires the user to pay monthly or annual fees to have their website hosted on a domain, with most web hosts offering a variety of packages which give the user a choice of web space, bandwidth, and additional or sub-domains. Paid hosting services may also offer the user a choice of a shared server or a dedicated server. Shared web hosting means a number of websites share a single server, and this is usually the most popular and affordable option, ideal for small businesses or commercial endeavors. Dedicated web hosting means an entire server is dedicated to your website, and whilst this is the most expensive option, these will have the largest web space and widest bandwidth.


Server – a combination of hardware and software which provides web hosting for clients.

Bandwidth – this measures data transfer from your website to visiting browsers, otherwise known as ‘monthly data transfer’. The wider the bandwidth, the more visits a website can accommodate in a given period of time.
Web Space – this is the amount of content (usually measured in megabytes MB or gigabytes GB) that is allowed to be uploaded to the website in a given period of time.