what is web hosting

Thanks to modern technology and low prices, the dream of having one’s own internet presence no longer floats in unattainable spheres, even for the much-touted Otto normal consumer. Many individuals now operate their own website, be it a blog or a site dedicated to their hobby, to present themselves and their abilities or to share their photos with other people.

Self-interested persons without any prior knowledge or in-depth programming knowledge can now create a private homepage or a professional online shop in the desired look with numerous functions. Bulging webhosting packages not only provide the necessary web space to make content available to visitors on the World Wide Web, but also incorporate practical content management systems ( CMS ) and home page builders that often even provide that to the user Creating your own homepage with a simple operation via drag-and-drop easier.

What does the term web hosting mean?

Simply put, web hosting provides individuals, institutions or businesses the space they need to publish their website, the web space. The web hosting provider provides the infrastructure in the form of an attachment with servers, which has the necessary storage space and the permanent connection to the Internet.

What else might interest you?

  • Homepage construction kits
  • Cloud Servers
  • Root servers
  • vServers
  • Domain Hosting

On such a system, customers can upload and save the various files of their website – commands, scripts, texts, images and videos are networked together finally the complete design of an invocable web presence. The permanent Internet connection also ensures that the website is always accessible and available to visitors on the World Wide Web.

Even host or host?

The web hosting is thus based on a server, which is used by the web hosting provider to bring the website of a customer online. Now customers might wonder if it would not make more sense to run such a server on their own.

In principle, everyone is free to do so. However, here the meaningfulness of the entire project depends on the actual project, the available knowledge and the available financial resources. So if you do not yet have the necessary experience to set up a server independently, to manage the permanent connection to the Internet or to maintain the system regularly, you should rather rely on the services of a professional provider.

Thanks to web hosting, even extensive website projects can be realized without having to operate a separate server.

Extensive programming knowledge is a basic prerequisite for successful independent hosting ,  as well as a high financial investment ability, not least for the acquisition of a high-quality infrastructure. The following comparison summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of autonomous hosting:

  • flexibility
  • independence
  • High financial expenditure
  • Extensive programming skills required
  • High quality infrastructure needed

Why “external” webhosting?

Web hosting is especially suitable for those who want to make their websites and online shops accessible to the public without the highest demands. Webmasters who cannot or do not want to bother with specialist literature and further education seminars also benefit from the creation, maintenance and administration of the homepage during webhosting from a single source. As a result, they not only save money, but also keep the organizational effort low. In most cases, hosting providers also offer a homepage builder, which makes entire websites with just a few mouse clicks become. Your own blog with a sophisticated picture gallery or the reputable business site for small businesses and companies is realized with the appropriate hosting solution only a few steps.

Which web host is the right one?

The search for a needle in a haystack is similar to finding the right solution for web hosting providers. By answering some basic questions, however, a suitable web host can be found quickly.

Web space: The more, the better?

In most cases, the size of the web space is the first number that web hosting providers use to advertise their offers. However, today starter packages usually contain ten or more gigabytes of web space, so this is rarely the limiting factor. Of course, every webmaster should first predict which file size his website project is likely to achieve. Texts usually occupy only a small amount of storage space, high-resolution photos sometimes weigh heavily in large numbers, videos are the biggest “storage hogs”. As a rule, a CMS itself only requires 50 to 200 MB of web space for the basic installation and again the same amount for templates and plug-ins.

If your own need for web space is still difficult to survey and is a growing project, it is often worthwhile to start with a smaller package first, because usually it is possible to increase the web space afterwards with costs or flexibly scale.

Still HDD or already SSD?

The trend is moving away from traditional hard disk drive (HDD) drives to SSD (solid state drive) storage devices for many vendors. The advantage of the SSD variant lies in the higher access speed. But the web space often only covers half of the HDD hard disk space, which the webmaster would receive at the same price. Here it is important to weigh up whether a higher speed or a larger storage space is more relevant.

A question of performance: which project and how many visitors?

Different website projects have different requirements, not only in terms of the size of the required web space, but also the performance of the hosting service. A large portal or an online store place different demands on the server infrastructure than a mere text blog.

So this is the central question in the search for the right hosting package, as this is linked to the performance of the server. Private customers who want to share their hobby with the world public, for example via a blog, can rely on cheaper shared hosting solutions. If you are thinking about creating a professional website with an online shop, you should either resort to a more comprehensive hosting package or consider VPS servers, cloud hosting or even dedicated servers on the sound basis of a visitor forecast.

Response time: How fast is the page visible?

Even if the load time of a website can be heavily influenced by the webmaster himself, the web hosting service should provide a server with the fastest possible response time.

The response time, which in turn determines the load time of a website, is an essential criterion for increasing visitor satisfaction and thus reducing the bounce rate. A website visitor should not have to wait more than a second to build the site. For example, the response time can be measured using the TTFB (Time To First Byte) code, which describes the period of time that elapses before the browser receives the first data from the server.

 

If the load time of a website is two seconds, then ten percent of the visitors jump off.

More relevant than the key figure TTFB, however, is the duration of the period until the so-called First Contently Paint appears. This is an element that provides content information to the page visitor and thus “binds” it until the rest of the page is fully loaded, such as a text, an image, or a headline.

However, this number does not apply to hosting providers because the hardware, infrastructure and connectivity are only partial issues that affect the TTFB. Factors that cannot be influenced, which also affect the key figure, are, for example, the number and size of other web projects with which a webmaster has to share the shared server, as well as the traffic these other projects implement. In this respect, the TTFB can vary within a certain period of time.

Traffic

The more visitors a page has, the greater their traffic. “Traffic” refers to the volume of traffic, ie the sum of download and upload. If the server sends data to a recipient who calls the page, this is a download. Every visitor causes download traffic. If the webmaster uploads new content and files, this is an upload. Webhosting has long become the standard traffic flat rate, so that there is no limit to the traffic.

Consequently, it is not possible to accurately specify the loading time on the part of the hosting provider; it can be different for different customers at different times of the day. This leaves the customer only the opportunity to try out the service itself. Our test gives a first indication of whether the loading time for a sample project is within the acceptable range. However, this does not guarantee that projects of other customers with the respective provider will not have longer or shorter load times.

Some vendors already use the HTTP / 2 protocol as standard, which improves the speed, security and efficiency of the data connection. If you are not only dependent on fast loading times of your web project, but would also like to benefit from the positive ranking criteria of this standard, you should look for a web hosting provider whose packages contain HTTP / 2.

Up to date and up to date: MySQL and PHP

MySQL as a relational database system and the free PHP scripting language together form the foundation of almost every dynamic website.

Without a database, the operation of a website is not possible. Therefore, even the smallest tariff packages contain at least one MySQL database. Even the installation of a content management system requires a database, but most webmasters who create a non-commercial website come out with few databases. More important than the number of databases is to make sure that the web hosting provider always provides the latest versions of the databasesystem. In the meantime, the use of SSD storage is also common in databases, which has a positive effect on the speed of the data access and thus on the performance of the web project.

To realize any dynamic web project the webmaster needs the scripting language PHP (Hypertext Processor). Without the installation of a current PHP version on the web server, the operation of a CMS is not possible. The provider should always ensure that he provides his customers with the latest PHP versions in the web hosting packages, because only then the latest plugins are usable error-free. In the context of PHP are three key figures that provide information about the performance of a hosting plan.

The latest versions of PHP and MySQL should be integrated with every web hosting package.

  • RAM: What is the maximum storage capacity that PHP processes can use at the same time?
  • Processes per minute: How many PHP processes can be handled without waiting on average per minute?
  • PHP Memory Limit: What is the maximum amount of memory that can be used by a single PHP process?

If the PHP performance of a webhosting plan is too low, there will be delays in loading the website, especially with higher numbers of visitors.

How high is the server availability?

The situation is similar with the availability of webhosting servers. Webhoster is linked to a higher and stable uptime also a certain fee. Who is not bound to a 99.99 percent availability, can safely save one or the other euro. If you want to operate your own e-commerce as an online retailer, you can hardly afford a regular downtime. After all, with every minute or hour that the website is unavailable, even a potential customer could be lost. An unreliable website also leads to a sustained loss of reputation.

Each web hosting provider advertises with an annual availability of its servers of almost 100 percent. This statement may initially seem convincing to the inexperienced user, but an uptime of excellent-sounding 99.9 percent already means a downtime averaging more than ten minutes a week.

server AvailabilityDowntime in the yearDowntime per monthDowntime per week
99.99%0:53 hours4:19 minutes1:01 minutes
99.9%8:46 hours0:44 hours10:10 minutes
99.5%43:48 hours3:39 hours50:24 minutes
99%87:36 hours7:18 hours101 minutes

Depending on the availability of the server, high downtime threatens month after month.

However, the specified percentage server availability usually refers to either a monthly or annual period. Even if the average downtime per week at 99.9 percent availability is just 10 minutes and 10 seconds, the real downtime can last for several hours at a time. As long as the total downtime does not exceed 8 hours and 46 minutes per year, the service level agreement (SLA) is fulfilled by the hosting provider.

Only the SLA counts

A high specified server availability as pure advertising promise is worthless in the case of an emergency for the Webhosting customer, since he has no legal handle to insist on a certain accessibility and, if necessary, compensation. It is therefore important that the provider firmly guarantees availability in its terms and conditions and in the context of an SLA.

An SLA is a framework contract between the hosting customer and the web hosting provider, which sets out measurable metrics of the service to be provided, such as server availability and various variables that affect the performance of the web hosting service. The SLA should also clearly define what claims the customer has, should the service provider fail to provide the specified service or fail. Before concluding a contract, each customer should carefully check the SLA proposed by the provider, and if necessary, also insist on webmaster commercial projects on an individual SLA with better security.

Depending on the web hosting project, the result of a poorly provided service is an explosive extent of varying intensity. For a highly frequented online shop, a supposedly short downtime can already mean not only lost sales, but also a variety of customer complaints, while it may well be to get over for the operator of a private blog or a website of a small construction company.

SEO-relevant security: SSL certificates

In e-commerce, where sensitive customer data is entered and transmitted via the website, an SSL-encrypted connection (SSL: Secure Socket Layer) is essential. But even operators of private websites benefit from the encrypted connection that website visitors build when the domain is called up with the web server.

The HTTPS transmission protocol has long since become standard in all popular web browsers, and non-encrypted pages trigger a warning. In most industries, Google recognizes an SSL-encrypted connection as a quality feature and honors the protection of website visitors and their data with a positive ranking signal. Previously, the integration of HTTPS encryption was only profitable for online shop owners, Google now explicitly advises all webmasters to use the encryption protocol.

Webhosting tariffs without included SSL certificate are to be advised against. In many packages there is a single certificate, often referred to as “Domain SSL”. Other SSL certificates can often cost some providers when needed often quite a bit. Recommended are therefore tariffs that contain a “wildcard SSL” or for each domain included an SSL certificate. The wildcard certificate does not extend to only one domain, as in the case of the domain SSL certificate, but also includes all subdomains that are subordinate to the main domain.

An encrypted data transfer via HTTPS benefits webmasters and site visitors.

Absolutely the duration of the SSL certificate should be unlimited. Some providers offer only a time-limited SSL certificate, which the customer has to extend separately after one year for a fee.

How extensive and how easy is the support?

Also, the scope and availability of the customer service provided by the web host can have a strong influence on the orientation of your own web project. Failures and problems are always annoying, but these usually have no existential meaning in a private or hobby page. One to two business days of processing time are easier to handle here than would be the case in the case of a business page. It depends on a large selection of support services as well as several channels for a personal contact to the web host.

Both the company headquarters and the server location determine the legal basis for the applicable data protection regulations. If both are located within best data centers, the data protection law is fully applicable. If the location of the web host is within the European Union, European data protection law within the meaning of the GDPR is applicable. However, if the corporate headquarters is located outside the EU, for example in the United States or, depending on political circumstances, in the United Kingdom, the data will be subject to national privacy laws.

If the company location is within the EU, the data protection regulations of the GDPR are applicable.

Who would like to store customer data in the context of web hosting on the server, as is the case for example with the operation of an online shop, should in the sense of the DSGVO in advance inquire, which server locations the hosting provider uses.

Customers who would like to retain control of their data should therefore opt for a web host whose headquarters and facilities are within Germany. In this way you do not have to worry about any exceptions and you are always on the safe side. In addition, they benefit from the fact that the web hosting company can respond quickly and unbureaucratically to inquiries and incidents. As soon as only one of the two complexes is located abroad, webmasters must accept longer communication and reaction paths and pay attention to any changes to the data protection rights in the country concerned. Surveillance measures and governmental orders to disclose data may change rapidly.

The webhosting offer is huge and extremely versatile – in addition to numerous international webhosts, there are also some from the Federal Republic of Germany. These include, among others:

Host Europe and DomainFactory have a head office in Germany and operate server systems in Germany, but also in other EU countries.

What minimum requirements should every web hosting service meet?

Depending on the conceptual design of your own web presence, different starting conditions for web hosting arise. For example, anyone who wants to present texts to the world public, requires less web space and traffic. However, if media content such as pictures or videos are to be published with priority, these requirements increase again.

Other interesting questions

Depending on individual goals and personal requirements, webmasters should check the hosting providers for the following questions:

  • Are there restrictions on the number of installed programs?
  • How many website projects are feasible?
  • Does the web host offer a non-binding and free trial?
  • What about the cancellation policy?
  • Is it possible to increase the booked tariff at a later date or to scale the performance flexibly?
  • Which e-commerce services are included in the webhosting package?
  • What payment methods does the web hosting provider support?

To save webmasters the consequences of an ill-considered decision, we have compiled the following minimum requirements that a web hosting package should deliver:

  • 10 gigabytes of memory
  • An inclusive domain
  • PHP capability
  • Multiple MySQL databases
  • SSL Certificate
  • 99.9 percent availability
  • Traffic flatrate
  • FTP access

These additional functions should not be missing

A well-chosen web space and a meaningful domain form the basis for a successful web hosting project. With the help of many additional products and features, the web hosting project and the creative leeway in creating a website can be greatly expanded.

With e-mail hosting to more professionalism

Those who own their own domain can usually also create personalized e-mail addresses. This is where the mail hoster comes in, which provides the storage space for e-mails. Without a standalone e-mail server, no message processing or forwarding can take place via a registered domain – in short: Without e-mail server, no independent e-mail address.

The creation of personalized e-mail addresses should be of particular importance for operators of an online shop. This is more serious and professional for customers – especially as personalized addresses give greater confidence than the generic results of free providers.

 

Mail hosting, domain hosting and web hosting are single components, which are usually included in the service packages of the web host.

The direct way for the data: FTP programs

Behind the acronym FTP hides the English term File Transfer Protocol. This is a network protocol used to transfer files over IP networks. The actual transfer requires a stand-alone FTP client. Many popular Internet browsers already have such a client. The advantage of a stand-alone FTP software compared to the integrated version is its optimized user interface, which usually lacks browser-based clients.

In the context of web hosting, the File Transfer Protocol is of particular importance, since it allows files to be uploaded, downloaded, renamed or even deleted on an FTP server for free. A web hosting package should have at least one FTP account for private websites. For professional websites, such as the home page of a company, there are at least five FTP accesses: one access for the owner of the website, the administrator in the company, the designer, the programmer and a reserve access.

Users with their own FTP access thus profit from a very fast and uncomplicated data transfer between the input device and the web server. In addition, the classification and management of files within the existing directory structure is fast and easy.

Here are five popular FTP programs that users of web hosting services use for data transfer.

FILEZILLA

FileZilla is one of the most popular open source FTP applications and is available as a free download. The program supports the operating systems of Microsoft Windows, Linux and macOS. FileZilla supports the transfer of very large files (up to four GB) and guarantees the resumption of the operation even if the transfer is incomplete. Furthermore, the upload as well as the download speed can be regulated individually. For more security of their data, users can also rely on SSL / TLS or SSH encryption.

TRANSMIT

Owners of an Apple product can use the paid Transmit. This is not only compatible with the macOS operating system, but also supports the mobile version for iOS devices. The user interface is based on the typical Mac look and convinces not only visually but also functionally. The twin-turbo engine guarantees a very fast data transfer including an adjustable bandwidth limit. Transmit is also committed to data security, supporting SSL / TLS and SSH connection encryption, and users can also access Amazon S3 and WebDAV online storage services.

CYBER DUCK

Another free FTP program is called Cyberduck and supports the Windows operating systems Windows XP and MacOS from version 10.7 onwards. With this application the easy connection to all FTP, SFTP or WebDAV servers as well as cloud services like Amazon S3, Azure or OpenStack is possible. Furthermore, users are free to limit the number of simultaneous transmissions and to resume interrupted transfers later.

SMARTFTP

For a period of 30 days to test User SmartFTP free, which supports all Windows operating systems Windows XP. After the trial period, users can choose between a Professional and an Ultimate edition. The program supports FTP, FTPS, SFTP protocols as well as WebDAV, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Terminal Emulator services. Even the connection to several servers is possible with this application – thanks to FXP also from server to server.

WINSCP

WinSCP is an open source program available for Microsoft computers running Windows XP. The application supports not only FTP but also SFTP and the encryption protocol SCP. The user interface is based on the well-known Windows folder structure, which is very appealing to the overview and usability. When connecting to SSH servers users continue to benefit from encryption – already the transmission of credentials is coded.

 Tools for building your own website

Customers who do not want to exclusively use SQL databases to build their website and manage their content can install a content management system (CMS) on the rented server with a one-click installation. Some providers already have CMS pre-installed.

Classic CMS in webhosting

A Content Management System – also called Content Management System or CMS, is an application that serves to collaboratively organize, edit, and create web-based content. The working basis can be based on text or multimedia content.

The biggest advantage in webhosting of content management systems is that even inexperienced people can edit all content without extensive programming or HTML knowledge. In addition, many CMS applications have a graphical user interface that ensures intuitive operation. Furthermore, laymen may look forward to the so-called 1-click installation. Typically, deploying a content management system involves a wealth of IT knowledge – with the help of a one-click installation, the desired program is ready to use in no time. The most popular content management systems include WordPressJoomla! Typo3 and Drupal.

 

WordPress, Joomla !, Typo3 and Drupal are the most popular CM systems.

In addition to these well-known standard systems, the portfolio of the various web hosting providers also includes numerous other CMSs that make the realization of a wide variety of projects easy.

WordPress Hosting

WordPress fans can even book special WordPress hosting packages with some providers, which are generally cheaper than the usual webhosting offers. These include:

  • 1 & 1 IONOS
  • Host Europe
  • domainFactory
  • GoDaddy

Sometimes, however, the title WordPress hosting only serves as a label to sell low-performance packages at relatively high prices although the webmaster would be better advised with a normal hosting package. Incidentally, it is not difficult to move a WordPress project to a cheaper provider, and it should not be a hindrance to a provider change.

Tip for WordPress users

An exact comparison of the conditions with those of the standard hosting packages, especially in the context of web space, performance and security features, is recommended before booking a Word Press Hosting plan!

Homepage Construction Kits: Easily to the Web presence

Web space and a domain are only half the battle – only sensible content and creative concepts help a website to great success. Homepage kits provide an intuitive and straightforward interface to unleash creativity. They represent a special form of web content management systems that allow even laymen to create a website.

Most users only have to choose a design template for their website and set themselves up for a page navigation layout, and the new website can already be populated with pictures, texts, videos or other content. Although these kits have only a limited range of functions, this benefits users with less computer and Internet knowledge because of the clearer layout and simplified handling.

Online shop systems: The pioneer of e-commerce

Basically, an online shop system differs only slightly from the conventional home page builders. Most of their functionality is extended by some typical shop functions – these include:

  • Creation of products and prices
  • shopping cart
  • Set up shipping costs
  • Various payment options
  • Search and filter function for products

The advantages of an online shop are manifold. A digital shop counter is not bound to any legal opening hours, the distance to the customer also plays only a minor role, as many logistics companies guarantee the delivery of the goods to the customer in just a few working days. Also, the current monthly costs can be kept low, as by eliminating a physical store about rental costs are eliminated.

By analyzing web statistics and other analyzes, not only can the online shop be improved, but also the number of visitors can be increased via search engine optimization and advertising in the search engines. Some of the best-known webhosts with online shop systems include the products of DomainFactory , 1 & 1 IONOS and Host Europe .

  1. The address: is the domain included?

A reliable web hosting provider as well as sufficient web space are the basic requirements for a website – but even the domain is a not to be underestimated factor of web hosting .
If webhosting is figuratively a house or an empty room, which is filled with content, then the domain name corresponds to the address of the house.

 

Webhosting explained on the model of a house.

Components of a domain

Each website can be accessed by entering the domain in the address bar of the browser. A domain consists of three levels, each separated by dots that must be “read” from right to left:

  • 1st level: top-level domain (TLD): domain ending (for example, “.de” or “.org”)
  • 2nd level: second level domain (SLD): name of the website (for example, “net winner”)
  • 3rd level: Subdomain: In general, “www.” Is preset as a subdomain, other subdomains the webmaster can use to separate thematically or country-specific separate areas of the website (for example, “blog.”, “Wiki.” Or “Shop.”)

 

A domain consists of three levels and can be further subdivided by subdirectories.

In addition to “.de” or “.com” domain shipments, web hosting providers now offer a plethora of up to 1,000 different TLDs. However, since the country-specific TLDs still enjoy the widest acceptance and confidence, webmasters in Germany are well advised with a “.de” domain. If you are still interested in fancy TLDs, you should first inform yourself whether the respective web hosting provider offers the corresponding extension.

Is the domain included? And if so, how long?

Web hosting packages usually include one or more domains. However, the user can also rent the domain from a specialized domain hoster and the desired server capacity from a web host, or move an existing domain to the web host. But beware: not every web host allows the intrusion of external domains! If a hosting package does not contain an inclusive domain, but the provider also allows the connection of external domains, it may be cheaper within the scope of domain hosting to register the domain separately with another provider.

Furthermore, it should be noted that no domain is permanently assigned, but is always limited to a specific term. In most cases, the first registration period is one year, which often automatically extends . If this term extension is charged in the package price, the webmaster saves money, because the separate addition of a domain can, depending on the desired domain ending, relatively expensive.

How many subdomains are useful?

Subdomains are hierarchically under a different domain. While a domain must be unique and registered as such, subdomains can sit in multiple forms in front of the existing domain. Search engines treat subdomains as a completely new domain. In general, subdomains serve the purpose of dividing the contents of a page into different categories.

  • https://tipps.netzsieger.com
  • https://shopping.netzsieger.com

The greatest possible number of subdomains included in the web hosting package is therefore advantageous in principle for the clarity and fundability of the website project. However, from the point of view of search engine optimization, it is usually more worth working with subdirectories. A large number of subdomains can be worthwhile for webmasters who operate under one domain thematically delimited subpages or, for example, want to present several branches of an institution or organization.

Subdomain or subdirectory?

Because Google treats subdomains as standalone domains, the main domain may not benefit from a well-ranked subdomain. Therefore, it is sometimes advisable to work with subdirectories instead of subdomains, so instead of using “webhosting.netzsieger.com” better “netzsieger.com/webhosting”.

Types of Web Hosting

Anyone who has already taken a look at the portfolio of web hosting providers, will quickly realize that there are various offers under the umbrella of this umbrella term frolicking. In general, four variants of web hosting can be distinguished:

  • Shared Hosting
  • Virtual Server
  • Dedicated server
  • Cloud hosting

While all variants of web hosting are hosted in a server center of the provider, the differences are mainly in the existing storage capacity, flexibility and control, the relevant prior knowledge and the available speed and reliability. In the following we give a short overview of the different variants.

The standard product: Shared Hosting

This is the most common and cheapest form of web hosting. This is the service that newcomers to hosting providers can expect under the product name “webhosting”.

The project is located on a server with many other websites of many other customers and shares with them the performance and resources , ie storage capacity, RAM and CPU of the physical machine. However, this also divides the cost of providing the server resources among all users, which explains the comparatively low prices for this variant of web hosting. On the other hand, customers have to forego root access and have limited freedom of hosting.

The web hosting provider’s server hosts multiple multi-client sites in the shared hosting model.

Especially projects with a moderate number of visitors should trust in this solution. In spite of the shared hardware, it is possible to realize projects of different customers that are shielded from each other without any problems due to different partitions of the hard disk memory.

  • cost-saving
  • No technical know-how necessary
  • Maintenance, repair and updates are handled by the web host
  • No root access
  • Not suitable for large numbers of visitors
  • Performance losses when other customers charge the server
  • Limited access and management options

Due to the low price, shared hosting is very popular, especially for newcomers. But even professional websites can be operated quite cost-saving with this web hosting model. The most popular providers of shared hosting services include 1 & 1 IONOS , Host Europe , Domain Factory, All- Inkl or webgo .

Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS)

Similar to shared hosting, several customers also share a physical server system for web hosting in virtual hosting. Therefore, this hosting model is also called a vServer . However, the individual websites are more strictly separated. Every webmaster receives a fixed amount of resources for web hosting. Each customer receives its own IP address and does not share it with other customers. This form of web hosting is logically more expensive because of the more complex structure compared to shared hosting.

 

With VPS hosting, each customer is guaranteed capacity on the server of the hosting provider.

  • Guaranteed computing power
  • Security architecture, maintenance, repair and updates takes over the web host
  • Full control over root access
  • Full flexibility, as own software can be installed
  • Customer must intervene manually in case of server crashes
  • No own hardware
  • Incorrect settings can damage the system
  • More expensive than shared hosting models

Anyone who wants a minimum of performance and still does not want to dig too deep will opt for a virtual server in his web hosting project. Virtual Server Hosting is ideal for medium-sized website projects and online stores. For example, vServers offer the hosting service providers 1 & 1 IONOS , webgo , Host Europe or GoDaddy .

Dedicated server hosting

Dedicated servers, referred to in German as dedicated servers, are servers that are intended for a specific purpose. Thus, they guarantee the user the full control of the server system and thus the web hosting project. Customers rent a complete unit for their own purposes , which is why all the resources and the complete power of web hosting available at any time. However, this freedom also has its price and is therefore to be recommended especially to those who need the maximum control over the servers and the greatest possible server performance.

 

A dedicated server is fully available to the customer for their project.

Basically, there are two variants of dedicated servers:

  • Managed Server: The user gets full access to the server, but the hosting provider takes over the setup, maintenance and security.
  • Root server: All administrative tasks and full freedom of design are in the hands of the user.
  • A server, a customer, a project
  • Flexibly tuned to the needs of the customer
  • Full capacity, no resource sharing
  • Any server software installable
  • Full administration rights at the root server
  • Safer from others’ access or data loss
  • Cost-intensive variant
  • Customer must carry out updates himself
  • Customer is responsible for the security of the system at the root server
  • Users must intervene manually in case of server crashes and fix problems themselves
  • Longer-term commitment to a provider

Anyone wishing to operate data servers, backup servers or game servers as securely as possible and protected from third-party access and having sufficient technical know-how is well advised to use the dedicated server hosting model. The use of such a service is worthwhile for users who run an online shop, with which they achieve sales of several thousand euros per month and employ the appropriate staff, which deals with the care of the server. Even extensive websites benefit from short loading times when hosted on dedicated servers.

Popular providers of dedicated server services are 1 & 1 IONOS , All-Inkl, Host Europe , GoDaddyOne.com and webgo .

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is enjoying increasing popularity. Providers promote this model with unlimited resource availability, which makes it easy to intercept even extreme traffic and traffic spikes. A single website accesses several server systems that are connected in series. As a result, depending on the current requirement profile, sufficient resources are always available. If you want to avoid performance losses at moderate prices, access to a cloud hosting service.

 

In cloud hosting, the virtual cloud server gets the computing power from multiple physical servers.

The data lies in the cloud and are no longer threatened by punctual, individual technical failures, backups easily recoverable.

  • Unlimited availability of resources
  • RAM flexibly adaptable to current needs
  • Price model mostly adapted to actual needs
  • High reliability
  • Backups easily recoverable
  • Server quickly up and usable
  • No root access or at least limited access to the configuration
  • Relatively expensive
  • Problematic data security if the virtual hard disk is located abroad
  • Dependence on large data centers

Cloud servers are currently the fastest and cheapest way to rent a development server that makes data exchange within a team work smoothly. Cloud hosting services are especially worthwhile for large projects that depend on high availability. These offers are therefore particularly interesting for operators of online shops and other websites with high visitor numbers. In terms of data security, interested parties should make sure that the data are stored only in Europe and ideally in Germany, but not in the USA.

More and more providers are offering their customers cloud hosting services. These include 1 & 1 IONOS with their managed cloud hostingHost Europe and Domain Factory with their product JiffyBox .

Free web space? This must expect customers

For private individuals, web hosting with its own server is rarely worthwhile. The regular maintenance and the continuous operation of the system not only cost a lot of money, but also a lot of time . The range of offerings of web hosting providers covers a wide range – but as with so many tools and offers from the Internet, there are also many apparently free offers.

For many customers, the benefits of a free web space are obvious. The mere prospect of receiving a service without its own consideration convinces many. Furthermore, free web hosts usually advertise with a passable user interface, with the help of which many projects should be realized. Depending on the web host, users of free web space even benefit from existing strong backlinks. Of course, these advantages sound appealing at first, but there is hardly a web host that actually has something to give away of its own free will – for this reason, users should especially have a look at the fine printof the agreements with the provider. Often lurk there hidden costs or various restrictions for the user, with whom he could not necessarily count in advance.

In most cases, providers reserve the right to overload the websites with advertising banners – customers are not even able to integrate their own and above all meaningful advertising. In general, Google AdWords is blocked by the web host, which is why user-defined banners cannot even be displayed. Also, the web space often leaves much to be desired, since its storage capacity usually comprises only a few megabytes. So if you want to polish up your website in addition to texts with pictures and video material, you will quickly reach the limits. Even limiting certain file types is not uncommon.

 

Web hosting providers of free storage usually do not offer a stand-alone domain.

Webhosts with free storage sometimes fall back on the limitation of traffic. While usually a maximum of 100 gigabytes are free of charge at leisure, then takes some form of regulation, which is often found only in the fine print of the contract. Such a limitation can only result in a throttling of the page load speed, or cost a lot of money per gigabyte started.

Furthermore, customers often have to forego a competent and easily accessible support. For questions and problems, they are therefore dependent on self-help. Since operators of free web hosting offers often have only a short half-life, the users live in constant danger that their site is suddenly no longer accessible or even completely deleted. The most serious disadvantage, however, is likely to be that free web hosting providers do not issue proper domains– Instead, customers receive a subdomain of the provider. This is a huge disadvantage especially for the visibility in search engines. So if you want to establish a serious online presence, free web hosting is not a sensible option, especially since reputable web hosting offers are already available for a few euros a month.

  • Free
  • Strong backlinks
  • Many banner ads
  • No user-defined banner
  • Low storage capacity
  • Restriction of file types
  • Limitation of traffic
  • No support

Those familiar with a paid web hosting provider should pay particular attention to the size of the web space, the regularity of updates as well as the availability and compatibility of content management systems, homepage builders, blogging software or forums. It is also always worthwhile to take a look at the general terms and conditions of the web hosting provider – here you will find, for example, interesting tips on limiting the traffic and the existing payment options.

That’s how we test

In our webhosting test, we compare selected tariff packages from seven major hosting providers. We focused on the selection of the respective packages on the one hand to the recommendations of the respective providers and on the other selected those packages that offer a storage space of at least 100 GB on a conventional HDD hard drive or 50 GB on a modern SSD hard drive as far as possible to enable objective comparability. Of course, each web host also offers other package options, which we cannot include in detail in the comparison. Specifics of the various tariff packages of a provider are available to interested parties in the respective test reports.

We thoroughly examined each of the service providers with regard to the four assessment categories “package size”, “performance”, “data security and customer service” and “tariffs and conditions”. In each of the rating categories, the providers were able to score 0.00 to 5.00 points each. The individual grades of the four evaluation categories are included proportionally in the overall rating of a provider according to the following weighting:

  • Package size: 30 percent
  • Performance: 30 percent
  • Data security and customer satisfaction: 25 percent
  • Rates and conditions: 15 percent

Based on the overall ratings, our ranking of the best web hosting providers emerges. Of course, webmasters individually measure different weighting criteria according to different evaluation criteria. As a result, different service providers or tariff packages may be better or less well suited to their discretion. Our test is understood as comprehensive advice and basis for an individual purchase decision.

Package scope

This rating category analyzes the functions and features included in the tariff plan as well as their scope or number. This includes key figures that are of the utmost importance to any webmaster, such as the amount and type of available space. In this regard, it is especially important whether the respective provider lists the total storage volume or already the storage space according to the webspace and mailspace, as it handles 1 & 1 IONOS and DomainFactory . It also matters for the page load speed whether the data is hosted on conventional HDD or faster SDD storage. SSD storage already offers webgo , One.com and DomainFactory as standard.

What applies to the storage space also applies to the number of domains contained in the package, possible subdomains, maximum available databases and FTP access: the more, the better. Especially if you want to operate several websites with one package, you should pay enough attention. Here is additional caution is required, whether the domain is really permanently included in the package or if after the first contract period regular domain registration fees. Anyone who has already acquired a domain from an external domain registrar and would like to use it with a web host with a tariff package should definitely attach importance to the fact that the provider allows the integration of external domains. For example, One.comwould put a stop to it here.

The portfolio of webhosting service providers usually also includes a number of open source applications that can be activated in a user-friendly way by a one-click installation via the customer administration system. This saves tedious and sometimes complicated installation processes. A wide range of popular CMS, shop systems, blog, gallery, forum and wiki applications is therefore desirable.

Mail features are another important topic. Optimal is a scalable mail space, in which the mailbox size can be adapted to the highest possible number of available mailboxes. Of course, a suitable spam and virus protection for the mailboxes should be an integral part of the tariff package. Post Office Protocol (POP3) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) are transmission protocols that allow a client to pick up emails from a mail server. As a result, no permanent connection to the server is necessary. With the e-mail program WebMail , the mailboxes can be called up and managed directly via the browser.

Advanced webmasters benefit from a number of additional features. Access to the Htacces configuration file is now almost standard and allows settings to be made in PHP and the web server, to define directory protection or to specify page and domain redirections. With the version management system Git it is possible to manage changes to files in the databases. In addition to compulsory current PHP versions for tinkerers also the programming languages ​​Perl, Python and Ruby should be supported. For private users and laymen, however, these are usually dispensable. Professionals also benefit from SSH access as they can access and manage their webspace encrypted via a Linux console.

Cronjobs allow the automatic call of a file at a certain time. For example, the webmaster has the option of backing up the databases every night, automatically publishing an article at a specific time, or generating and sending an invoice at a specific time. Regular tasks completely automates a cronjob. This useful feature does not include all tariffs and some packages only to a limited extent. For example , they are not intended for Host Europe and One.com .

Power

Numerous web hosting tests are circulating on the Internet, which are proving to be a website with web hosting packages. They measure various parameters regarding the performance of the web hosting provider for more or less long periods of time. These include the TTFB (Time to First Byte), server reachability, or the number of calls that take longer than a second. Based on this, they derive a verdict on the performance of a web host. We do not think this is expedient, because these test periods are usually too short. Meanwhile, maintenance or annual server downtime, which is rare every year, can fall precisely within that time period, distorting test results. In addition, the load time depends on too many different factors, than that one could only blame the hoster for it.

Rather, it is important to ensure that the provider assures the highest possible server availability within the framework of an SLA (Service Level Agreement). Only in this case, the customer has a reliable protection and, if necessary, compensation claims, should the downtime last too long. Excellent is when providers like 1 & 1 IONOS , webgo or One.comadditionally grant a RAM guarantee and minimize the number of customers per CPU core or per server. If a provider does not secure this, it is more or less a matter of luck whether a customer shares the resources of the shared server with many other customers with extensive web projects or not. Visitor tips from other websites would temporarily affect the accessibility of one’s own site.

If the customer can increase the performance level on demand, as is the case with 1 & 1 IONOS , DomainFactory and GoDaddy , this also has a positive impact on our assessment. A high PHPmemory limit, also as freely configurable as possible, as well as a high runtime per script (php_max_execution_time) are of course positively noticeable in the rating.

The expected standard should now be the implementation of the faster Http / 2 network protocol to increase page load speed, as well as DDoS protection against intentionally caused page crashes due to congestion. Although many Web hosting customers have been victims of such DDoS attacks have with All-Inclusive , One.com , DomainFactory and Host Europe is still not integrated effective safeguards some providers. If you are dependent on high availability and high page load speeds, you should make sure that the tariff package contains both components.

Those who rely on rapid loading speeds, especially for website visitors in international target groups, also benefit from the use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network). The content is cached in several locations worldwide, which means that especially those contents that do not need to be constantly updated are played out locally quickly and the website is set up accordingly faster.

Data security and customer service

Without an SSL certificate, it is almost impossible to operate a website seriously today. But still some webhosting service providers are stingy at this point. Among the providers can be found here any conceivable variant in the service portfolio : GoDaddy offers no inclusive certificate. Host Europe and DomainFactory provide a certificate for only one domain without subdomains. 1 & 1 IONOS and One.com have at least a wildcard certificate for a domain including all subdomains jump. Unlimited free Let’s Encrypt Certificates, however, are available at  All- Inkland webgo, If a provider does not support the integration of free certificates, caution is advised: The purchase of individual certificates can quickly become very expensive. The same is true with the malware protection. SiteLock has only a few offers as a standard component, namely Host Europe , All- Inkl and webgo . Many also charge extra for this indispensable feature.

Backups advertise almost all providers. But here it is necessary to analyze more exactly what exactly is being saved at which time intervals. Optimally, automatic backups of FTP data, databases, and mailspace should be created daily. The customer should have direct access to them in order to be able to restore them if necessary. Hidden costs can lurk here if providers only provide backups for a fee and on request, or offer backup features only as a chargeable additional booking. It should also be noted how long the providers keep backups before deletion.

In order to be on the safe side in terms of data security, it is advantageous if the server hosting the customer data is located in a data center within the EU, optimally in Germany, of course. Also for the Seitenladegeschwindigkeit the server location and its connection to the net are crucial. Anyone who does not present his data center as well as the infrastructure and security architecture used there in detail on his website acts in an intransparent manner, as a rule has something to hide and does not take the data security seriously. Geo-redundant data storage at multiple sites, as practiced by 1 & 1 IONOS , significantly increases resilience and minimizes the risk of data loss.

Of course, customer support should be available at all times for many types of contact and should ideally provide comprehensive, competent, friendly and personal service. An emergency 24/7 service may be worth gold especially for commercial website projects. We contacted the telephone service and confronted it with several general and specific requests. We judged the waiting time, professional competence, friendliness, honesty and service thoughts of the support staff. Since in one case ( One.com ) no telephone service was offered, we looked there for the contact over the chat.

We also examined the information offered on the website of the providers in detail. We emphasized clarity, a structured menu navigation and the transparent award of all costs incurred, contract periods and notice periods. This quickly shows who is important to customer satisfaction and information sharing and who is only looking for the fastest possible orders and easy customer acquisition.

Tariffs and conditions

Whether the price-performance ratio is right, clarifies itself at this point. We analyze the tariff structure of the providers in their web hosting segment, considering factors such as minimum contract periods, notice periods, discounts and lock-ups, set-up fees, hidden costs, cost traps, cost transparency, clarity in the ordering process, costs for add-ons, external domains and additional domains pay special attention.

Our experience shows that the clarity of too many discount campaigns suffers quickly and just supposedly cheap providers work with many tricks to disguise either long contract periods or paid bookings. Obviously cheap deals turn out to be true cost traps. Once again, transparency is the key. Negative examples here are GoDaddy and One.com. Positive stabbed All-Inclusive out of additional grants even a non-binding free trial phase and a notice period of only seven days.

A selection of different forms of payment can be included in the rating positively, as well as a long-term money-back guarantee if dissatisfaction. If the tariff plans leave room for individual composition and design, this is also worth a plus.

How much is a website?

The answer to the question of what a website costs at the end of each month can be answered in two ways. First, there is a minimum amount that the customer must be willing to pay to run a website. On the other hand, there is an amount (open at the top) for which you usually get everything the webhosters and web designers have to offer. Alternatively, there are homepage kits or web design software that are much cheaper. How many features the customer really needs, he ultimately has to decide for themselves. But even with the cheapest offers for end users usually sufficient features are included.

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