You keep hearing the term ‘web hosting service’ but you’re not sure exactly what it means. A web hosting service is the service you use to load and make your website live. This service provides you with a way to make your website accessible to other people on the Internet by providing you with space on a server to save all of your website files and other associated content. Servers are located in a data center and the web hosting service maintains the data center and some data centers even host servers for other companies that they do not own. This service is called colocation. Web hosting services can be free for personal websites or can cost up to $400 for business websites depending on the level of service you need.
Web hosting services vary widely from company to company. The simplest service is basic web pages and small scale file hosting. Files are uploaded onto the server by using a web interface or File Transfer Protocol (FTP) that allows you to upload multiple files at one time. The files are not changed when you load them onto the server and many Internet service providers offer this service free to their customers or you can secure service through another web hosting provider. Most personal web pages need very little in the way of extras in their web hosting package while larger sites, especially e-commerce sites, can utilize the additional software and application provided by the web hosting service, such as database support, forums, and SSL certification. As the website owner, you will be provided a control panel or some form of interface to use to manage your website on the web hosting server.
When you first look into a web hosting service one of the things you are going to want to verify is the uptime or the percentage of the time the host server has your website accessible on the Internet. Any web hosting service company should be aiming for a 99% uptime. Server restarts and maintenance – planned or unplanned – usually make up that other 1%. Occasionally a server’s downtime – when the server is being worked on, upgraded, etc. – will be longer than the web hosting company expects. You will want to make sure that there is some form of refund or reduced price in your service contract with the company to compensate you for this downtime.
Types of Hosting
The web hosting industry has spawned a broad range of niche markets over the years. Ranging from shared hosting to dedicated hosting, as well as all the hybrids in between, each type of web hosting presents its own set of pros and cons.
Shared Hosting - Cost Effective, Easy to Use and Feature Rich
Whether you call it conventional, regular or normal hosting, shared hosting is the most common web hosting service on the market. In fact, a large majority of the websites you encounter online are running on this type of platform.
As the name implies, shared hosting is a service arrangement where you share bandwidth, disk space capacity and various network resources with other paying customers. The structure of this model equates into a low-cost solution that is typically easy to maintain for even the most inexperienced of users. Although the price is usually reasonable, these packages do not slack on power, as they come loaded with an arsenal of useful features. The economic value, simplicity and hassle-free aspect makes shared hosting a viable option for most individuals and small companies.
Dedicated Hosting - The Utmost in Control, Flexibility, and Responsibility
Dedicated web hosting is the exact opposite of the shared variety. Instead of sharing the server with other customers, the hardware is dedicated exclusively to your website needs. Since you are not forced to share resources, dedicated hosting can provide you with a superior level of control, flexibility and performance. This is an arrangement wherein you can choose your own operating system, install your own software applications, and incorporate the security mechanisms you feel will provide the server with the best protection. It also a scenario that requires you to have a certain skill set in order to administer and maintain the server. Unlike shared web hosting, dedicated hosting is not recommended for the inexperienced user.
VPS Hosting - Immense Power and Great Performance
A virtual private server, or VPS, represents a technology that is rapidly emerging in the web hosting industry. A VPS is created by software that partitions a single physical server to establish multiple virtual servers within it. Known as virtualization, this process results in a number of isolated environments with the ability to perform many of the same functions as an individual machine.
A virtual private server tends to provide more guaranteed resources, better performance and security than your typical shared platform at a price that is notably less expensive than a dedicated server. With these factors in mind, many view a VPS as the perfect compromise between shared and dedicated web hosting.
Managed Hosting - Hassle-Free But Costly
In its most common application, managed hosting refers to the full servicing of a dedicated server. This service aims to alleviate the complexities and technical challenges of managing a web server. Though server management is the main feature, other options range from web application and database administration to monitoring and extensive support. Managed hosting services are geared towards customers who lack the technical abilities needed to handle a dedicated server, as well as those who do not have the time to fully immerse themselves in all the management aspects. Although cost efficient under the right circumstance, the biggest downside of managed hosting is its price tag, as it is considerably more expensive that other forms of web hosting.
Reseller Hosting - Substantial Profit Potential
Reseller hosting has emerged in recent times, providing entrepreneurs and small businesses with an opportunity to profit from the flourishing web hosting industry. As a reseller, you purchase a service plan from a hosting provider equipped with a certain amount of disk storage, bandwidth and features. This gives you the ammunition you need to sell web hosting plans to customers looking to build their presence online.
What makes this type of arrangement so attractive is that you pay a flat fee and have the potential generate substantial income from your investment. When selecting a respectable web hosting provider, a reseller account can run seamlessly and transparently enough to give you the presence of a large, established company.
Web hosting services are the key for any individual or business with aspirations of succeeding online. As you can see, there are many offerings to select from, and making a decision can be overwhelming. The good thing is that with so many companies on the market, you are almost certain to land a solution that adequately suits your needs.