Your Guide to Web Hosting

by Matt Hedges

If you want to become a major player in the online business community and increase the size of your business, developing a website is a necessity. After you have thought of the idea, it is important to continue and consider a domain name and then give proper thought to where you should host your new website. There are many hosts out there so choosing the right one is important which is why you should consider the following advice about web hosting.

What is web hosting?

Not just a domain name, but a group of files linked together by HTML code in order to put on view the text and graphics on a computer is what a website is all about. The compilation of your created files has to be saved somewhere in the computer (with special software) to show others, provided it has an Internet access. Generally speaking, web hosting is a renting space on a web server. A web server lets a computer have the requests from the Internet for the website files that has been stored. It also does send the files to the Internet for the purpose of displaying by the requesting computer. It is called ‘server’ fir its same approach like a waiter in a restaurant.

Many services come with a web server. It can generate email addresses on the back of your domain name so others can communicate with you. It can also allow your site to show videos, run programs, maintain and create databases and a lot of other tasks which can be of great benefit. The software is key to this and is more important than the computer when making a server.

I don’t need to say that the monthly payment you make after purchasing a web hosting is needed for the purpose of maintaining and upgrading the server’s hardware and software. It also includes the charge of keeping it online all the time in a secure data center with the aid of a fast Internet connection, and the payment of the people who are doing all these. One can surely roll his or her computer into a web server as soon as it is decided but the idea of entrusting a dedicated person (for this job) with this job is often a better and reasonable one. It requires you to pay that person but it is ideal if the person does it in a reliable manner.

Varieties of Web Hosting

Shared Hosting- Websites are usually targeted to a particular section of people for a particular purpose unlike the sites like Yahoo! (Meant for everybody using Internet). So, they don’t have thousands of pages or files. This point towards the fact that websites, in general, don’t need the entire globe of resources of a web server. Let me tell you then that usually the Web servers are capable of handling hundreds of websites at once because they are powerful machines. Over 95% of all websites follow the model of shared hosting that refers to the concept of hosting more than one website on a particular server. Shared hosting is undoubtedly inexpensive as compared to the other types because it not only shares resources of the server among the clients but also the cost. This also contributes to its popularity. Shared hosting (also called virtual hosting) lets each client have a certain amount of each resource. The payment levels vary in accordance with the varied amounts of resources like disk space, bandwidth, email addresses, and many more.

Dedicated Hosting- Having a web server that is dedicated to you is worthwhile if you believe your website will have many visitors or you do not wish to share a server with others or you do not wish to dominate shared resources. This equates to renting out an entire server for you and is known as dedicated hosting. The machine remains the property of the web hosting company as does hardware maintenance and web host software but responsibility for use and configuration of the server is given to the user. A variation on this theme is provided with semi-dedicated hosting and this is where the web hosting service is extended to a few clients, usually between two and four, and there are clear boundaries between the companies. This is viewed as managed hosting as the host company manages and maintains the server. As may be expected, dedicated hosting is dearer than shared hosting.

Server Co-Location- If you must have complete control of your server and domain the option to buy one and control it yourself is an option. However, as tempting as this sounds, it may still be unable to prevent server problems such as power outages, losing power due to leaks, suffering fro thieves and break ins, employees who do not know what to do and many other unforeseen difficulties. There may be difficulties in maintaining your server on an internet speedy connection but this is where a data center can provide assistance. You may want to look for a Co-location which is where a physical and secure place for your server is rented, with continual power and a speedy connection. In this situation the user retains responsibility for maintaining the hardware and software and the data center does not get involved in this issue. If the user has the knowledge, ability and time to maintain their web server, then this facility can be more beneficial and priced better than a dedicated hosting service.

UNIX Hosting- Although a number of web host styles have been talked about so far, it is more accurate to say they have been variants on UNIX as this is what the majority of web severs are operated on. The UNIX operating system was developed by universities as a method of providing access to networks and servers and features in many different forms and designs. This is because this form of operating system was created with ‘open source protocol’ which enabled many amendments and adjustments to be made. There are a great number of variations produced such as FreeBSD, SuSE, Debian and Red Hat Linux all of which stem from Linux and BSD, which are considered to be the popular versions. A huge benefit of using UNIX as a form of hosting is its low cost and the fact that it provides a better alternative to many operating systems. This reduction in costs allows the web host to charge a lower price for their service or allows them to have a larger profit margin. Other benefits in using this style of hosting platform is that the UNIX is considered to have high security, it is considered extremely powerful and it offers great stability. You may hear the phrase ‘UNIX hosting’ used quite a lot and this is because it refers to any platform that originated from the first UNIX.

Windows Hosting- There are clearly many products developed by Microsoft and Windows Server 2003 is one of them. In order to operate this product, a license needs to e bought and this raises costs and increases prices. Even with this cost, this type of operating system supplied by Windows is not as powerful and is less secure than the UNIX version. Products such as ASP, ColdFusion or ASP.NET are extremely popular for a number of applications and can only be run on a server like Microsoft SQL Server or Access. If you wish to use these features there is a requirement to have a host who uses Windows.

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