If you’re looking to launch your own website, then sooner or later, you’ll have to get to grips with the whole concept of web hosting. This can be a confusing area for beginners, who often assume that there is only one type of web hosting, and that the only thing they need to do is to find the best price. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of all the different types of web hosting that are available, to help you choose the right type of package for your particular needs.
Different web hosting types
Dial Up Access Hosting
This is web hosting at its most basic, and is a legacy from the early days of the internet. Under this type of hosting, users literally dial up to view your site. With the spread of broadband, dial up access hosting has become more or less obsolete, although you might still find hosting plans of this type here and there.
This is the most common type of web hosting, and the type you’re most likely to come across. It’s web hosting for the average web user, and it’s also known as “virtual” or “mass” hosting. Shared hosting, as the name suggests, involves a number of websites all sharing the same computer server. The advantages are that it’s cheap, since server costs can be shared, and user friendly – anyone can set up a website with a shared hosting plan, and no particular technical skills are required. On the downside, security levels, data transfer allowances and storage space can be low, and the hosting package may not have all the features you require.
With a dedicated hosting package, you get a whole computer server to yourself. It allows you full control of all server settings, and all of the resources of that server are at your disposal. That means lots more bandwidth, so you can handle large volumes of visitors, faster response times, more storage space, higher levels of security, the most advanced control panel technology and greater reliability. It’s also the most expensive option, and is generally only used by large companies who need a high quality online presence.
Dedicated hosting itself comes in two types – managed hosting, where the hosting company looks after the server for you, and unmanaged, where you have to perform all the server maintenance and management tasks yourself.
Root Server Hosting/Semi-Managed Hosting
This is similar to dedicated hosting, but it also allows you to access the root of the server itself. Obviously this requires more technical skills, but it’s a very flexible and versatile form of hosting, that allows you to customize your server to your exact requirements.
This type of hosting allows you to lease or purchase a huge chunk of web space from a hosting company, which you can then subdivide and sell on to other people. In effect, you become a web hosting company yourself, with the added advantage that all of the technical and support functions are handled by the parent company.
The most advanced, and expensive, web hosting of all. Co-located hosting is where your own server is physically located in another company’s data center. This provides maximum levels of bandwidth, security and reliability, but will be way beyond the reach of the average webmaster. It’s really only an option for major commercial enterprises.
These, then, are the six basic types of web hosting. There’s a lot of variation within those types, and each package will have its advantages and disadvantages. The main thing is to be absolutely clear about what you hope to achieve with your website, and to research your web hosting options thoroughly before signing up to a specific deal.
If you’re new to running websites, then the whole idea of website hosting can be very confusing. In this article, we’ll look at the absolute basics of website hosting, to demystify some of the technical jargon and to give you some idea of the different types of hosting that are available.
Website hosting itself refers to the way your website is made available to internet users. Once you’ve created your site, all of the files that go to make up that site are stored, or hosted, on a computer, which displays those files every time somebody accesses your site through the internet. These computers are known as servers, because they “serve up” your site to visitors.
Web Hosting technical terms
- Domain Name – the name that identifies a specific website, for example, www.website.com.
- Website – the content pages that you actually see when you visit a domain.
- Web Hosting Software – the operating system, such as Windows or Linux, which creates the website and ensures that it appears online, and additional applications such as payment processing.
- Web Hosting Hardware – the physical computer server on which the website is stored.
- Connectivity – how the computer server connects to the wider internet.
- Administrator – the person who sets up and looks after the computer server, ensuring that it stays running and backing up all the website data that is stored there. An administrator will also monitor the amount of visitors that each website receives, to ensure that the server can handle that amount of traffic without crashing.
Web hosting comes in four basic types. These are designed to suit the needs of different users, and they all have different hardware, software and connectivity requirements.
Shared hosting is where many websites are stored on the same computer server. This is generally the cheapest form of hosting. Dedicated hosting is the next level up, and is a one website per server arrangement. This is a more reliable and faster form of hosting, but it’s also more expensive. The most expensive form of web hosting is co-located hosting, where a hosting company leases space in their data center for a user’s own server. Finally, there is in-house hosting, where large companies and corporations manage their own web hosting on their own servers.
If you want to run your own website, your choice of website hosting will be based on your budget and the specific requirements for your website.
If you’ve been searching for a web host, you’ve probably encountered the issue of bandwidth. Most experts agree that bandwidth should be a key consideration when setting up a website, but what exactly is it, and why is it so important? In this article, we’ll look at the whole issue of bandwidth, and outline some of the key things you need to be aware of.
What is bandwidth?
When a visitor clicks on a website, data is exchanged between the visitor’s computer and the server that is hosting the website. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that each website is allowed to exchange with visitors each month. In practical terms, it refers to the number of visitors that each website is allowed to receive. Web hosts set out the amount of bandwidth that each website can have in advance. They have to do this, or risk their servers being overloaded by high volumes of traffic.
How much bandwidth, then, do you actually need? Generally speaking, the more information there is on your site, the more bandwidth you will need. If your site has lots of heavy media files, such as music, movies or animation, then you will need a lot of bandwidth. A small site that is mostly made up of text and a few pictures will need much less.
Most web hosting companies are very upfront about the amount of bandwidth each user can expect to get. However, bandwidth allocation is not without its risks. A recent practice is the overselling of bandwidth allocation. This is similar to the airline practice of overselling seats. Airlines know that some passengers just won’t turn up, and in the same way, web hosts know that a lot of sites won’t use anything like the amount of bandwidth that they’re entitled to. Just as airlines run the risk of all the booked passengers turning up at once and not having enough seats for them, web hosts run the risk of all their users taking up their allowances and overloading the servers.
An unexpected surge in traffic can also cause your website to crash. If you suddenly get a lot of visitors, perhaps because of a link from a popular website, your hosting company might bill you for exceeding your bandwidth allowance in that particular month. They might even shut down your site completely if this happens. Web hosts have also been known to “throttle” traffic, preventing visitors from reaching your website, to avoid overloading bandwidth at certain times of the day.
Free Web Hosting Service
Everybody likes to get something for nothing, and the offer of free web hosting may be too tempting for some webmasters to ignore. This is especially true in today’s economic climate, with many people working within tight budgets and trying to cut costs. However, is free web hosting ever a serious option? Even if you’re paying nothing, is the price too high? In this article, we’ll look at what free web hosting actually involves.
About free web hosting service
1. Free web hosts aren’t charities, and they don’t offer web hosting out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re in business to make money too, and the way they do that is through advertising. If you sign up with a free web host, you consent to having pop-ups and banner ads placed on your site. Not only does this look cheap and unprofessional, you have absolutely no control over the content of those ads. Can you be sure you’re sending the right message to your visitors?
2. You’re much more likely to get hacked on a free web host than with a paid provider. This is because security is one area where the hosting company itself tends to cut costs. If there are any security features at all, they’re likely to be of the most basic type. Sites hosted on free servers are also more vulnerable to viruses.
3. Free web hosting is notoriously unreliable. This is because the hosting company are using lower specification servers to host a large number of websites. At best, response times are slow. At worst, your website won’t appear at all.
4. Don’t expect premium hosting features from a free web host, or generous amounts of bandwidth and disk storage space. A free web host will usually offer the bare minimum necessary to get a basic website online, and no more.
5. Generally speaking, you can’t host your own domain name on a free web host service. The web address will usually include the name of the host company, eg, www.mywebsite.freewebhostservices.com. Again, this looks unprofessional.
6. Free web hosts seem to spring up almost overnight, so there is never any shortage of them to choose from. On the down side, they can disappear just as quickly. If that happens, and your web files are still on their server, all of your hard work will disappear along with the company.
With all that said, there is a place for free web hosts. If you’re not looking to host a serious online business or professional website, then these limitations are probably not going to be an issue. Free web hosting can be a very good choice for personal websites or hobbies. Some people even use them to practice their website creation skills. However, if you’re looking to portray a professional image, or if you’re looking to build a proper commercial website, then free hosting represents a very false economy indeed.
Understanding Domain Names and Web Hosting
As an internet newbie looking to have a website for your business you might confound the two main elements, domain name and web hosting, not knowing exactly the differences between them. Below we will briefly discuss each of them to properly understand these terms.
The domain name is your website’s address on the internet. Typing your domain name in the address bar of the browser, visitors will find your website online. Every visited website and every composed e-mail include a domain name in its address. On the other hand, web hosting is basically the service that supply you with the computers, also known as servers your website to be run. Web hosting gives you disk space where to store your files and people with internet connection have access to the files on your website. We might even say that paying for web hosting is like renting an apartment, and thus registering a domain name is like getting the address of the apartment people to know where you reside.
An excellent domain name is a great advantage for your business online, as visitors will easily find your website through the domain name. A good domain name should be meaningful and easy to keep in mind. It is recommended to get a domain name that is associated to your business, products or services. In terms of domain extension, .com is the most popular and mostly used on, thus it is a wise decision getting a domain name with .com extension. However, if you are experiencing difficulties getting the desired domain name, you should try different forms of the name you want.
A reliable web host is one of the most important aspects for a successful online business. Choosing the right web hosting company could make the difference for the success or the failure of your online business. With some years ago, generally only the larger companies could have afforded having a website for their business. Today, with the fast development of the internet, an increasing number of small businesses are present online at a very small price. This is also due because of the high competition between web hosting services allowing people to have their own website for a very low price. Of course, not all web hosting services are alike and you need to make a wise decision in selecting a web host as it has a great influence over your website and target visitors. A bad sever will damage the
performance of the website and your online visitors might have a bad impression about your products and services.
My suggestion is to go for a good Linux web hosting package with some own research and the assistance of a skilled webmaster. A good and reliable Linux web hosting can put you in the front of the competition in your niche. A website with uninterrupted access to it will have a great impact on your online business as visitors can access your website anytime. You website should help and not damage your business. You have to choose the right web hosting service in order to have an advantage in front of your competitors.
What is Web Hosting Uptime?
It is not the easiest thing to find your way in the world of web hosting as there are so many aspects to take in consideration when you are selecting a web hosting server. There are countless available options out there turning your decision into a highly difficult one. In the process of creating a website, the selection of a good server holds a great importance. On the other hand, the hosting uptime of your web host or server is one of the most important aspects of all.
Uptime in web hosting industry
Hosting uptime refers to the amount of time the server is up online and running. This is an important aspect, as when you have a website you want it available to your online visitors at all times. Please note, that there is no 100% guaranteed uptime and no web hosting company or server can claim to have such performance. To better understand the idea, you need to know the three types of downtime.
The first is the scheduled downtime, which is actually planned. Web hosting companies and servers are scheduling downtime for various upgrades and reboot operations. This is in fact in your advantage and in the advantage of the web host or server in the future in terms of better functioning and performance. Usually, the web hosting company will inform you in advance when such scheduled downtime is taking place for you to know your website will be down and unavailable for some time. This is an expected server downtime.
In other cases a planned downtime is used to fix a bug or some error in the system or solving other types of problems. Generally, web hosts or servers will inform you about this operation as well as about the amount of time the server is estimated to be down. This server downtime is also an expected one.
The third type of downtime, the unplanned downtime has a negative influence. You should definitely avoid signing up with web host experiencing numerous unplanned server downtimes. Such a server is no good for you and it will only seriously damage your business. Most of the times, visitors going to a site that is unavailable will presume the business is no longer running and that customer is likely to be lost forever.
Perform a thorough research to make sure you are choosing a web host with a superior hosting uptime. Although some server downtime is to be expected, stay away from servers with much downtime. Ideally, a web host or server should have a 99.9% hosting uptime. Always keep in mind that 100% hosting uptime does not exist and web hosts stating they such hosting uptime are not trustworthy at all.
Web Hosting Security Terms
The quest for a fine web hosting company can represent quite a challenge, as there are so many available options to choose from. Every single company claims to be the best, making you difficult to select from them. Before any decision is made, you should be aware that all features are useless if the web hosting service is not accompanied with top quality security. You have to make sure the company is able provide proper security for your website. Below are some of the main security features you should be looking for before making a decision.
How to protect your website’s information?
Secure Sockets Layer or SSL – It is an encryption protocol providing security for your site’s communications, both incoming and outgoing. The incoming information, for instance credit card information, emails and addresses, is the most sensitive information which might be used by hackers to commit various frauds. This is why SSL is the top security feature. Even more, most online shoppers will not purchase any products or services form you if you have no SSL certificate displayed on your site.
File Transfer Protocol or FTP – Is a network security protocol assisting file transfer on internal and external networks. FTP is an essential security feature as it allows the webmaster to administer site accessibility and to send files in total security.
Secure File Transfer Protocol or SFTP – Is a superior FTP version offering much more than a common FTP, having a secure shell to transfer files online and between computers in a network. Committed business owners would definitely want their web host company to have this feature included in their security package.
Firewall – almost all web hosts are being protected by some kind of a firewall, but not all of them provide the ultimate user access to the management functions of the firewall. If you are committed to the security of your site, you should choose a web host that provides customer access to the setup of the site’s firewall.
Spam Filter – you might consider spam an annoyance, but numerous hackers use spam to send harmful viruses on your computer. Spam might cause phishing or password stealing, or even worse serious data loss produced by malicious software. Spam is a real threat not just for the security of your site and your computer, but it also eats up a lot of bandwidth and fills your inbox with unsolicited email messages. On the other hand an efficient spam filter will get rid of almost all possible problems caused by spam.
Distributed Denial-of Service (DDoS) Protection – DdoS attacks are well-known and frequent attacks carried out by hackers with access to several compromised computers. Such attacks are predominantly risky as they can compromise the full network of computers very quickly. Every single website on the server, yours included, will suffer serious damages. As a matter of fact, it is highly possible that the ultimate customer is the one who suffers the most by such attack. It is crucial for your web hosting service to have proper safety measures to effectively prevent such attacks.
What is Bandwidth and Data Transfer?
Several web hosting companies are interchangeably using the bandwidth and transfer expressions. They are indeed closely related to each other, but are not the same thing. In fact, bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred at a given time, while data transfer refers to the exact amount of data being transferred. For instance, let’s consider bandwidth being a bridge. The larger the bridge, the more vehicles can use it. Similarly, data transfer would be number of vehicles that can pass through in a given time-frame. In most times, when web hosting companies are mentioning bandwidth they are in fact talking about data transfer.
How they influence your site – both bandwidth and data transfer are equally important for the overall performance of your website, regardless of the connection speed of your online visitor. In the lack of sufficient data transfer, your site might not be accessed if you reach your allocated monthly quota, meaning your site will not be online till another month begins or your choose to upgrade your current hosting plan.
Unlimited Bandwidth and Data Transfer
Several companies are now promoting hosting plans with unlimited bandwidth and data transfer, but keep in mind that in most cases, bandwidth is an expensive resource. There is just no such thing as never-ending supply. Sadly, you generally have no control over bandwidth regardless if we are dealing with unlimited or limited one, as the hosting company is the one managing the allocation. This also applies to the case of leasing a dedicated server. Certain hosting service providers are well known for throttling, meaning limiting the amount of simultaneous connections. Such practices will make your site perform extremely slow and thus preventing some users to access the website. If this is an issue for you, you should ask your hosting company about how they manage usage or upgrade to a package with huge amount of guaranteed data transfer.
Decrease Usage – there are certain ways to decrease the transfer amount your website uses. One of the simplest ways is to optimize your website in such way to efficiently run with less transfer amount. You might start with reducing the use of Flash or various streaming media applications. You might also want to limit the number of used META tags. Although it might appear that it will ruin your SEO effort, the excessive number of keyword will actually do more harm than good. Another method to optimize your site is to cache it and including an expiration date within the HTTP headers. In this way, the browser will refresh your website content after some time. Remember, that these simple and easy ways will save you up to 40% of your available bandwidth.
Some Final Thoughts – bandwidth and data transfer might not be the same thing, but they are evenly essential for a website. If you are uncertain about how much you actually need, try contacting some hosting companies for some basic guidance. Hosting companies that are ready to assist you might be the right hosting company for you.