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Hosting Explained

by Bogdan Enache

Web Hosts

As explained before, hosting implies a computer, somehow similar to the one you have at home, connected to the Internet, where your website's files reside. This way, people who surf the Internet can access your website. So, if we were to give a definition for a web hosting company, it will be:

Web Host = A service provider with a computer or a network of computers, connected to the Internet, where you can place your web site. A web host basically rents out its computers space and connection to you, so that you can make your web site available on the Internet. Web hosts are responsible for keeping the server (and your website) online, and also maintaining and upgrading it.

Web Hosts usually don't have just one computer or a dozen; they have hundreds of them. A web host's network of computers in a specific location is called a data center. Data centers have fast connections to the Internet, 24/7 monitoring for secure access, UPS and battery back-ups in case of power failures, controlled temperature and humidity and so on, providing an optimal environment for the hardware systems located in the facility.

Depending on your budget and your needs, you can rent from the web host a whole server, you can share the rent on a server with others or you can even buy the server and pay only for the connection and the maintenance. So, when we talk about hosting, we talk about three types of hosting: dedicated hosting, shared hosting and collocated hosting.

Dedicated Hosting.

You have a dedicated server where you can store your website(s). You have remote access on the computer and you can install and update on it any software you want or need. This kind of hosting is suitable for big sites with lot of traffic (and income) because the costs are a little bit higher than, for example, shared hosting.

Shared Hosting.

It means that your website resides on a server along side with other websites. The total space on the computer's hard drive is divided into smaller amounts and you get an amount of that disk space. So, for your website a set amount of disk space and data transfer (bandwidth) will be allocated. Your website will also share the computer's hardware and software resources (the memory, the CPU, the database server, etc.), but rest assured, your information will remain confidential. No user/website can access the files of another user/website residing on the same server. This type of hosting is the cheapest of the three types presented, but it's good enough for almost 95% of the people looking for a web host.

Collocated hosting.

It's similar to dedicated hosting with the difference that you actually own the server, so, beside software upgrades, you can buy hardware upgrades too (more memory, larger hard drives, etc.). The advantage is that the server stays in protected environment, with optimal connections to the Internet, rather than staying in an office or at home.

Bogdan Enache, the author, is the webmaster of HostingProfs.com, a website dedicated to providing free information about web hosting in general and how to choose a hosting plan in particular. He also blogs on WebDev77.com about Web Hosting, SEO techniques, Web development concepts and Internet marketing trends

Monday, Feb 11th, 2008