What is A Web Host, Web Hosting Service Provider

Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server for clients to put their website onto so that the website is accessible to the world wide web . The computer that the websites are stored on are typically in data centers. Webhosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for servers they do not own to be located in their data center, this service is usually called colocation.


Selecting a Web Host


For a monthly fee or yearly Web hosting companies will connect your site to the Internet at high speed via one of their Web servers, allowing the site to be viewed by anyone with an Internet connection and a Web browser. The host provides your site with space on a server, and also offers Web server software, access to its high-speed Internet connection, tools for managing and maintaining your site, customer support, e-commerce features, and more. There are many ISP and Web hosting options to choose from, so use the following list to find one that meets your needs.


What to Look for in a Web Hosting Company


Shared hosting or dedicated server. Shared hosting is an arrangement in which your site is housed on the same host server with several other Web sites. This is an economical solution for smaller sites. Paying the host for your own dedicated server, a solution used by larger and busier sites, provides faster access and ensures that your site will be accessible to visitors 100 percent of the time (instead of sharing Web server speed and power with other sites). Does your ISP or Web hosting provider offer both options?

Hard-disk storage space. Smaller sites may need only 300-500 MB (megabytes) of Web site storage space, while busier e-commerce sites may need more. As your site grows, your ISP should be able to accommodate you with a range of options.
Availability. Your site must be accessible to customers 24 hours a day. ISPs and Web hosts maximize the availability of the sites they host using techniques like load balancing and clustering.
E-mail accounts. E-mail accounts that match your domain name are often available from your ISP. Are they included with your monthly access and hosting fee?

Support. A big part of the value of turning to an ISP or Web host is that you don't have to worry about keeping the Web server running. Does your host offer 24x7 customer service?

 

Hosting reliability and uptime


Hosting uptime refers to the percentage of time the host is accessible via the internet. Many providers state that they aim for a 99.9% uptime, but there may be server restarts and planned (or unplanned) maintenance in any hosting environment.


A common claim from the popular hosting providers is '99% or 99.9% server uptime' but this often refers only to a server being powered on and doesn't account for network downtime. Real downtime can potentially be larger than the percentage guaranteed by the provider. Many providers tie uptime, and accessibility, into their own Service Level Agreement, or SLA. SLAs may or may not include refunds, or reduced costs if performance goals are not met.

 

Types of hosting


The scopes of hosting services vary widely. The most basic is webpage and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a Web interface. The files are usually delivered to the Web "as is" or with little processing. Many Internet service providers (ISPs) offer this service for free to their subscribers. People can also obtain Web page hosting from other, alternative service providers. Personal web site hosting is typically free, advertisement-sponsored, or cheap. Business web site hosting often has a higher expense.


The host may also provide an interface or control panel for managing the Web server and installing scripts as well as other services like e-mail. Some hosts specialize in certain software or services (e.g. e-commerce). They are commonly used by larger companies to outsource network infrastructure to a hosting company. To find a web hosting company, there are searchable directories that can be used. One must be extremely careful when searching for a new company because many of the people promoting service providers are actually affiliates and the reviews are biased.

Free web hosting service:

is free, (sometimes) advertisement-supported web hosting, and is often limited when compared to paid hosting.

Shared web hosting service:

one's Web site is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few to hundreds or thousands. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. A shared website may be hosted with a reseller. This is by far the most common type of hosting account people use.

Reseller web hosting:

allows clients to become web hosts themselves. Resellers could function, for individual domains, under any combination of these listed types of hosting, depending on who they are affiliated with as a provider. Resellers' accounts may vary tremendously in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a colocated server.

Virtual Dedicated Server:

dividing a server into virtual servers, where each user feels like they're on their own dedicated server, but they're actually sharing a server with many other users. The users may have root access to their own virtual space. This is also known as a virtual private server or VPS.

Dedicated hosting service:

the user gets his or her own Web server and gains full control over it (root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, the user typically does not own the server. Another type of Dedicated hosting is Self-Managed or Unmanaged. This is usually the least expensive for Dedicated plans. The user has full administrative access to the box, which means the client is responsible for the security and maintenance of his own dedicated box.

Managed hosting service:

the user gets his or her own Web server but is not allowed full control over it (root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is disallowed full control so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.

Colocation web hosting service:

similar to the dedicated web hosting service, but the user owns the colo server; the hosting company provides physical space that the server takes up and takes care of the server. This is the most powerful and expensive type of the web hosting service. In most cases, the colocation provider may provide little to no support directly for their client's machine, providing only the electrical, Internet access, and storage facilities for the server. In most cases for colo, the client would have his own administrator visit the data center on site to do any hardware upgrades or changes.

Clustered hosting:

having multiple servers hosting the same content for better resource utilization.
Grid hosting : this form of distributed hosting is when a server cluster acts like a grid and is composed of multiple nodes.

 

Web Server


The web server is a relatively simple piece of software that accepts requests over HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and delivers HTML pages and Image files.


FTP Server

FTP is the means of which a web master can transfer files to and from the server. To put your HTML and image files on a server you will generally use FTP to upload (transfer to) your files to the server running the web server.


Mail Server


The mail server consists of two parts POP (Post Office Protocol) and SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). POP is where email is received into your mailbox and SMTP is what is used to send and receive email between mail servers.


Database Server


If you are using server side scripting on your web server (you use something like Microsoft Internet Information Server) then instead of providing ?static? data only on web pages you can provide data from a database allowing your users to search and view the data in different and dynamic way. Also, a Database server is used to gather data from visitors to your site; orders, feedback, discussions and the like.


Each one of the above components are software programs running on servers in the web-hosting environment. You can interact with each of these with special software programs you use on your computer. The main ones being:


Web Browser


When viewing the web you use a web browser like Internet Explorer. Many web hosting companies provide a ?Control Panel? to administer your web host account, which you use with your web browser. Most allow you to configure most aspects of your account using a simple web browser.


Web site/page editor


Today many web servers allow editing of WebPages over HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) based on Microsoft FrontPage technology. These special editors allow you to essentially look at your web site as if you were using a web browser and edit the pages directly as you see them using WYSWIG (What you see if what you get) technology. Most web hosting environments support this, and if you are starting out, make sure it is available. One tip: make sure the web host providing this really does understand this technology ? it is the main area of which many hacks and security intrusions occur.


FTP Client


This is a very simple piece of software that allows you to view the server folders and files in your web host account as if they were files and folders on your own computer. You can then drag and drop files between you computer and your web host account.


Email Client


If you are on the internet you would already be using an email client to send and receive your email. The most common are Outlook Express, Eudora and Web based mail clients like Hotmail.


Database Administration Client


The most common databases used with web servers are Microsoft SQL Server (available only on Windows) and MySQL (commonly found on Linux and UNIX but also available on Windows). SQL Server comes with it's own administration client where you can view your databases, edit them, backup data and do all the administration functions you need. MySQL has an active online community where there is a range of administration clients available.


Choosing a web host is, again, similar to choosing a house to live in or commercial premises to do business. You need to define what it is you require: how much space you need and what features and facilities you need.


If you have been reading this article because this is new to you, then it is likely at this stage you only need minimal space and basic facilities. Once you have worked with the basic facilities you will learn more and become aware of greater facilities and features and then you can simple move from one web ?hosting environment to another ? paying more or paying less. Moving in cyberspace is much easier, faster, and more seamless than physically moving house or commercial premises.


Initially you may use the web-hosting environment offered by your ISP (internet Service provider), the company you use to connect to the internet. But remember these companies main business is connecting many thousands of people to the internet ? not managing web hosting environments. You will generally find they offer less than basic facilities and minimal space.


If you are just starting out with your first web site the first major choice you will be faced with is ?Unix? or ?Windows?. For a person just starting out on the internet, both are equally capable and will offer the facilities you need to have your place in cyberspace.


If you have a web designer or technical person to help you, you only need to consider how much space you really need. With this simple idea in mind, when you are just starting out, owning your piece of cyberspace will not cost anymore than $8 per month. Many web-hosting companies will offer what you need for as little as $3 per month (usually paid yearly).


If you are going alone and doing it all yourself you may want to consider an account with a web hosting company that offers and prides itself on it's support and customer service, 24/7 support access and the experience, knowledge and skill of it's server administrators. Remember, these are the gardeners and the guards who take care of your environment.


Web hosting is very simple and straightforward an once you obtain your space in cyberspace you will never want to let it go and you can easily move it where you want as a turtle carries it's shell on it's back. Always remember you are not stuck in the first web-hoisting environment you choose.


Web hosting isyour space in cyberspace and it is imperative to have a place in cyberspace in our modern society, just as it is to have an office to do business.

 

 

(Written By CEO BeOnline Solutions Mr. Sayed Karim)

 

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