In the modern digital age, websites have become a must-have if you wish to jump-start your marketing campaign, build your company’s reputation or brand your products. Nowadays, even personal social success is incomplete without a website or blog, with which you can reach like-minded followers and friends.
All websites and blogs start with web hosting at its simplest, web hosting is a service offered by an internet service provider such as Interactive Online, whereby they store and maintain your website (HTML, images, and other related website files) on special computers known as servers. The servers allow Internet users to reach your website through your domain address.
Therefore, anytime you visit a website, your computer’s web browser is actually connecting to and receiving files from another computer, and rendering these files into the web pages you view.
Types of Web Hosting
With the advancement in technology, different web hosting services have emerged to meet the diverse needs of clients. While they all act as storage centers for website content, they largely differ in the amount of control, space and reliability offered.
In in this type of web hosting, you share one server and the software applications within it with other website owners. Most shared hosting providers offer this service on Linux though some use the Windows platform as well, but for a higher monthly rate.
Most shared hosting plans are scalable such that one starts off with a small package and then progress as their needs increase. Shared hosting is affordable because you share the cost of operating the server with other owners. You also have greater administrative control and a wider range of monetization options.
Shared web hosting however, is slow, quite insecure and offers fewer software and database support options.
Dedicated hosting involves using one server to host just one web site or group of websites owned by one company. You have full control over the server (i.e. root access if it’s Linux or administrator access if it’s Windows); though typically, you don’t own the server. With this type of hosting, you have the assurance that other customers’ websites won’t impact on your website. Though dedicated hosting is costlier than shared hosting, it should be your go-to option if your website receives a lot of traffic or you have special requirements (such as security requirements).
Cloud hosting involves the use of resources from multiple servers. This provides capability, redundancy and better performance. Cloud servers share the same physical server hardware, but special virtualization technology splits-up or partitions the hardware such that each server uses its own dedicated resources and can be configured just like fully dedicated servers.
Each cloud server operates independently, and doesn’t interfere with the servers of other websites within the same system. Users have total administrative control over VPS software, without the extra costs associated with maintenance and hardware required by dedicated web hosting.
This is a free web hosting service offered by certain ISPs. Free hosting works best for private website pages, static websites and small audience blogs. You have very limited control and few monetization choices because the hosts usually run their own adverts. It’s not recommended for professional or high traffic websites. This is because of the limited technical options on offer; as well as the fact that one can’t use their own domain name.
This is similar to dedicated hosting, but the user owns the server while renting space at an ISP to run it. The hosting company offers physical space for the server and takes care of it. This is actually the most expensive and powerful type hosting service. Usually, the colocation provider provides little or no direct support for the client’s machine, only providing the storage, electrical and internet access facilities required by the server. The client hires his own administrator who visits the on-site data center to perform any hardware changes or upgrades. Formerly, most colocation service providers accepted any system configuration, even those housed on desktop style minitower cases, but now most require standard system configurations and rack mount enclosures.
This type of web hosting spreads the hosting load across many physical nodes or machines, thereby increasing availability and lowering the chances that one service (e.g., email or FTP) will affect the other (e.g., MySQL). This robust hosting option can be assembled from a group of cloud servers, dedicated servers and at times, a hybrid of the two.
This is an expensive solution, but is a great choice for high traffic websites targeting global clients. Highly scalable, this option offers high availability for several web applications. You can very easily shut down one among server for maintenance and assign its load to the other servers. In case of failure of one server, the remaining servers automatically take over the work meaning that the customer website will continue operating without loss of service or down-time.
Apart from being costly, this type of hosting increases the infrastructure that requires managing and monitoring.
Ecommerce hosting can be any among the above web hosting types, only with an added dimension: secure socket layer or SSL. If you wish to sell something over the internet you will definitely need a secure server to provide protection to customers.
Many hosting providers will allow you to use their SSL certificates but at an extra fee. This type of hosting usually includes shopping carts and any other features useful for online stores. It’s an important hosting option for businesses selling goods over the Web.
Different types of web hosting plans offer structured advantages for different types of businesses and websites, and making the right choice of the best hosting will depend on your specific needs. When choosing among the various options, you should evaluate your business goals for control, space and reliability– these determine the amount of monthly “rent” you will be needed to pay.