Web Hosting Services

Web Hosting Services are provided by companies to individuals or corporations to allow them to make their websites available on the internet.

What is provided by each of these Web Hosting Services providers can vary quite a bit.

Types of Web Hosting Services

  • Free web hosting service: offered by different companies with limited services, sometimes supported by advertisements, and often limited when compared to paid hosting.
  • Shared web hosting service: one’s website is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few to hundreds or thousands. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. The features available with this type of service can be quite extensive. A shared website may be hosted with a reseller.
  • Reseller web hosting: allows clients to become web hosts themselves. Resellers could function, for individual domains, under any combination of these listed types of hosting, depending on who they are affiliated with as a reseller. Resellers’ accounts may vary tremendously in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a collocated server. Many resellers provide a nearly identical service to their provider’s shared hosting plan and provide the technical support themselves.
  • Virtual Dedicated Server: also known as a Virtual Private Server (VPS), divides server resources into virtual servers, where resources can be allocated in a way that does not directly reflect the underlying hardware. VPS will often be allocated resources based on a one server to many VPSs relationship, however virtualisation may be done for a number of reasons, including the ability to move a VPS container between servers. The users may have root access to their own virtual space. Customers are sometimes responsible for patching and maintaining the server.
  • Dedicated hosting service: the user gets his or her own Web server and gains full control over it (root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, the user typically does not own the server. Another type of Dedicated hosting is Self-Managed or Unmanaged. This is usually the least expensive for Dedicated plans. The user has full administrative access to the box, which means the client is responsible for the security and maintenance of his own dedicated box.
  • Managed hosting service: the user gets his or her own Web server but is not allowed full control over it (root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is disallowed full control so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.

Based on the amount of services (hardware, software, etc.) provided by the hosting service, the fees will be higher or lower. Fees are usually charged on a monthly basis with a price break offered if you pay for several months (usually a year) in advance.

Most new websites can easily be handled with a relatively cheap entry-level web hosting service. Should your website do very well, it is usually fairly easy to upgrade your service to a higher level.

We have analyzed dozens of web hosting services and come up with what we think are the top three. They are solid hosting providers that have been in business for years. They all have an excellent track record and can handle anyone’s needs – from the smallest mom & pop website right up to the corporate giants.

What Is a Web Hosting Provider?

A web host is a service provider that places your web site on a computer which is connected to the internet. This then gives people who surf the internet a way to access your website. The computer that the web hosting company uses is typically just like the computer you have at home, the only difference being that it is set up to serve up web sites and is therefore called a “server”.

A web host will typically have a fast connection to the Internet and they may host thousands of web sites on many servers. The web host essentially rents out space to you so that you can get your website up on the world wide web.

Some large web hosts own their own datacenter (collection of servers), some rent a server from a larger web hosting company and then resell the space under their own company name. In this case the web host will manage your account on the server, but they will be renting the actual web space from another much larger company.

This is a picture of a datacenter. Which contains many PC’s all connected to the Internet It is very expensive to own and operate a datacenter. Datacenters have reliable and fast connections to the Internet and also have backup power and high security.

Most web hosting companies do not own a datacenter, but rent web hosting space in a datacenter.

There are literally thousands of web hosting companies available in the market, all with different types of plans and at different prices. It can be hard to wade through all the options, especially if you are completely new to web hosting and just want to get your website up on the web. All web hosting plans have some basic common features.

  • Server Type This is the type of server software that is running on the server. Windows 2000 server, Linux and Unix are common server types. If you have a basic website then the server type does not matter. If you have a more complex website that has database functions and serves up dynamic pages, then the server type will be more important
  • Disk Space This is the amount of actual space available to you for storing your website on the web server harddrive
  • Bandwidth / Month This is a measure of how much website traffic is available to you. Every time somebody looks at your website, data has to be passed over the Internet from the web server where your site is hosted to the browser of the person looking at your site. Bandwidth is a measure of how much transfer is available. High traffic sites like Yahoo for example have very high bandwidth requirements, but the average site does not
  • Email Accounts How many email accounts you can have with the web hosting account.
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