A Beginner's Guide to Web Hosting- The Types and Factors to be considered for Personal web Hosting
WHAT IS WEBHOSTING?
Web hosting is a service which allows companies and individuals to have their own space on the internet. Web hosting companies, or web hosting service providers have their own servers that act as data centers. Customers can upload their files to these data centers to make them viewable on the internet.
ESSENTIALS OF WEB HOSTING
Web hosting is composed of numerous elements, the three most basic ones are server computer, web server and the operating system
--The server computer is usually composed of at least two processors and is responsible for keeping your website connected to the internet.
--The Web server, like Apache, is basically a software application that helps the server to get the web pages when requested by a web browser, like IE.
--The operating system (or platform) like Windows or Unix is a piece of software responsible for starting up and shutting down the server, and installation of the various software packages
Free Web Hosting Vs Paid Web Hosting
There are many web hosting service available, free web hosting and paid web hosting. Free web hosting, as the name implies, is absolutely free; however, there will not be much disk space allotted, and hence is useful for beginners who would like to put up a simple site. A paid web hosting company is one that will charge you for their services, mostly year-wise. Paid hosting service is solicited by small or big business organisations. The charge varies according to the type offered viz dedicated-server hosting or a shared-server hosting.
BENEFITS OF WEB HOSTING
- Web space: You will get a separate web space allotted, which averages to approximately about 200 MB. All the people from around the world will get access to the website, and therefore, there is the excitement of becoming popular with an online presence.
- Free e-mail: This is another benefit that is usually provided by al the web hosting providers. You can be given up to ten e-mails that will be exclusive to your own website. Aliases and auto responders are also provided. This will, obviously, make a good impression on the viewers of the website.
- Control Panel: You would be provided with a control pane to maintain and manage your website at your convenience, like adding new pages etc. You can also get to know your available space and bandwidth limit or your site’s statistics. In case your site has a database, you can even manage your database from your control panel.
TYPES OF WEB HOSTING
There are many options of web hosting service available in the market, along with all the hybrids in between. The major types are:
Shared Hosting: This is the most common service available where bandwidth, disk space and other network resources are shared with other customers/clients. It is therefore easy and economical model to adopt and use.
Dedicated Hosting: This type of hosting service dedicates a server exclusive to the customer’s website and is, therefore the opposite of the shared variety. It provides the user with superior level of control and performance and he/she can choose his/her own operating system and security measures.
VPS Hosting: The virtual private sector (or VPS) hosting partitions a single physical server to give place to multiple virtual servers within it. Therefore, a single server with one IP address hosts many domains by sharing resources. A virtual private server provides better performance and security as in case of dedicated hosting, but with a lesser price.
Managed Hosting: In this case, the server is dedicated to the customer/client, as in dedicated hosting. However, the server management, database administration and other technical functions can be left to be handled by the hosting company.
Reseller Hosting: Reseller hosting is when a person first purchases a service package from a webhosting provider with a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth, only to divide it(the space) into many sections and sell each of them to other webmasters
CONSIDERATION FOR A SUITABLE WEB HOSTING PROVIDER
♦ Pricing factor
As mentioned, you can choose between free web hosting and a low-cost web hosting. Free web-hosting is often made possible by third-parties that purchase advertising space to promote their products or services on the client’s web pages. The quality will be low and reliability of the service remains questionable. Low-cost web hosting, on the other hand, is much more reliable and you are alloted with sufficient resources on the server. It gives you the independence of having your domain name for yourself, without any sort of third-party advertisements. Many web hosting companies offer substantial discounts when paying for a year or two years’ worth of service in advance. This can be availed if you want to keep the website for a longer period.
♦ Bandwidth & Disk space
Disk space is the amount of the space on the disk while bandwidth, which is the amount of information that is transferred over the internet. Being aware of how much of each has been allocated to you is advantageous so that you ensure that you do not cross the limit. Bandwidth usually can be anywhere within 15-20 Gbps with disk space ranging from 50 MB to 50 GB.
♦ Technical Support
It is important for you to be able to contact the support team of the hosting company if your website experiences technical problems, if you would like to change/add your settings or for any general queries. Hence, it is better to check on the 24-hr availability of the technical team
You would always want your website connected to the internet without any sort of disruption. Make sure that the hosting company promises 99.9%, if not 100%, uptime. In order for this to be possible the web hosting company needs to have state-of the art electrical and back-up power systems, apart from other security measures.
♦ Control Panel
How much of control do you have on your website? This depends on the control panel that is usually provided to you by the hosting company through which you can manage your website, like modifying passwords or updating your site. So, be sure that the company provides you with some form of a control panel.
♦ Software options
Does your site use technologies such as PHP? Ensure that all the software applications and technologies your site requires are included in the package. This includes programs such as FrontPage and WordPress and database-related technologies such as PHP and ASP.
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