Web hosting = Domain name?
Web hosting shouldn’t be confused with domain name.
They are two different entities.
In layman’s term, a web host is like a house where the house owner can stores furniture (web contents) in it; whereas, a domain name is like the address of the house. Web hosting is the “storage space”; while a website domain name refers to the “location” of your website.
Subdomains, top level domains, and addon domains
Google.com is a domain name.
The extension ‘.com’ is known as Top Level Domain (TLD).
Some TLDs are opened and free to be registered by the publics. For instances: .com, .net, and .info. Some TLDs, on the other hand, are governed strictly by government or cyber regulations. For example .gov can be only used by government organization. Some country code TLDs, like .co.jp and .co.uk, can be only used by websites located in that particular country. But that’s not always the case. For instance, you can get a British Indian Ocean Territory domain (.io) easily with most registrars. Personally I live in Malaysia and own a number of .io domains.
Some TLDs are intended for certain special purpose, for example .org is intended for organizations’ website. Though it’s widely misused by personal websites.
Subdomain is the name in front of a domain name.
For example ‘mail.google.com’, the word ‘mail’ is a subdomain. Subdomain is often confused with an addon domain. An addon domain is the second, third, fourth… independent domain name added in a single hosting account; a subdomain, on the other hand, is a secondary domain appears in front of a domain name.
Addon domain requires the owner to renew its registration; while creating subdomains require no cost at all.
Types of web hosting
Web hosting comes in different forms and shapes that can be categorized into five major groups, namely: shared hosting, virtual private server hosting, dedicated hosting, reseller hosting, and the cluster hosting.
Shared Web Hosting
As the name refers, a shared hosting server is shared by multiple websites. Typically, websites on a shared hosting share the same server resources (such as CPU and RAM) and IP address.
Virtual Dedicated Hosting
A virtual dedicated hosting is also known as Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. Virtual dedicated hosting separates the server into several smaller independent servers. Each website hosted on VPS hosting will have its own isolated hosting environment (hence own root folder) and unique hosting features (such as firewalls and SSH access).
The entire server is used by only single website (or customer) in a dedicated hosting. A dedicated hosted website enjoys better flexibility and web security. Users get full control over the server including bandwidth allocation, server operating system, and other custom web server features.
Reseller hosting services allow users to become a web host themselves. The server in reseller hosting is parted into smaller pieces (shared hosting) and can be sold to others.
Cluster hosting is also known as cloud hosting. A cluster hosting is the perfect solution for websites that require massive amount of processing power (such as complex web applications or huge web traffics) as a cluster-hosted website has access to a number of connected servers’ resources.
Unix Hosting vs Windows Hosting
Unix hosting normally refers to web host running on Linux or FreeBSD operating system.
Windows hosting, on the other hand, runs on Windows OS like Windows Server 2003 or 2008.
There are both pros and cons running a website on Unix or Windows hosting – Unix OS is open-source software, thus it’s free and tested widely; Windows OS on the other hand is critical if you need to run Microsoft web applications (such as asp.net).