The second step in the web development process is to determine which hosting solution would best suit the needs of your website. Both for the purposes of testing your website during development and for production.
A website can either be hosted on your own home computer, a traditional hosting service (Shared, VPS, Dedicated), or hosted on a cloud server.
So which type of system would best suit your needs? Well before we answer this question, there are several factors to consider.
So, let's start with the first scenario. If you do not intend to make this website publicly accessible, then you will likely be hosting it on a system within your own network. For this to work, you will need to configure this system to work as a server. In this course we will show you how to setup your own computer as a server to preview your website projects. This is necessary because certain file extensions that we will be working with, such as PHP and MySQL will not work, unless a testing server is created. Keep in mind that you do not need a testing server to view basic HTML pages.
If your intention is to build a server and host a website that is accessible within your local network (intranet) we will also be demonstrating how to configure your server and router settings so that other computers within your network can access your server's web directory.
Now, let's say on the other hand - and this is probably the case, that you do intend to make your site publicly available. Well as you probably guessed, you could technically use the testing server we will be setting up on your system and open certain ports on your router to allow connections from outside IP Addresses (rather than just local connections).
Please note, this is highly complex and very susceptible to security vulnerabilities if not done correctly. Setting up a home computer for a public website is beyond the scope of this course. It is also not a very good practice, and requires a static IP address which can be quite costly and outweigh any potential benefits.
The best option to serve as your hosting solution is either a traditional web hosting package from a reputable company, or a cloud hosting service. So you're probably wondering what the difference is between these two options.
Requirements and Hosting Solution
When we say "traditional web hosting", we are referring to the pre-assembled packages offered by hosting companies such as Godaddy, or Host Gator. These two are just examples, among many other companies out there. The reason we identify them as traditional, is because the latest web hosting solution that most web developers are now gravitating towards is cloud hosting. We will get to cloud hosting in a minute.
With traditional web hosting - the server, that your website is stored on, is housed in a data center, typically with hundreds or thousands of other servers. These servers are administered and maintained by the hosting company. This is probably as easy as it gets, because you simply need to pay a nominal hosting fee to store your web files, and the hosting company takes care of the rest.
Hosting companies offer many different packages to suit your needs. Each package will fall under shared hosting, dedicated hosting, or virtual dedicated hosting.