What is Web Hosting?

Types of Web Hosting

The following are types of web hosting that are often offered by web hosts. Not every web host offers every option, so it’s best to plan out not only your present use but what you imagine you might need in the future in order to make a good choice of web hosts.

  • free web hosting service
  • shared web hosting services
  • virtual dedicated server (VDS) or virtual private server (VPS)
  • dedicated hosting service
  • managed hosting service
  • do-it-yourself hosting service
  • collocation web hosting service
  • reseller web hosting services
  • Free Web Hosting

Free web hosting is limited service that nevertheless puts your website on the World Wide Web at not cost. Free web hosting has the advantage of not requiring an upfront investment, but has some drawbacks such as usually providing only a subdomain for your site, limited tech support, and limited features, including bandwidth. For more details on free web hosting, see the articles “Why Use a Free Web Host?” and “Cons of Free Web Hosting.”

Shared Web Hosting

Shared web hosting, also referred to as virtual hosting, is a paid service in which one’s website resides on a shared server alongside many other sites, with the different sites usually sharing common resources, such as memory, bandwidth, etc. You control your website using a control panel, while the web host controls the server.

Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS) or Virtual Private Server (VPS)

VDS or VPS provides services similar to that of a dedicated server, except that there are resources set aside for your usage and your access to them is not affected by the presence of other sites on that same server. That is, it feels like a dedicated server, even though it isn’t. The key is making sure that your service will continue unabated when demand peaks.

Dedicated Hosting Service

With dedicated hosting service, you have access to an entire computer that is not shared with any other customers. While you’ll pay more than for VDS or VPS, all the resources are assigned to you, whether you have one website or many, and can often be made to fit the particular needs of your business. You will need to make sure that the server operating system database server software, and scripting software are compatible with the applications and scripts that you need to run. At this point you may also need a dedicated person to oversee server management and problem solve when software related issues arise.

Managed Hosting Service

With managed hosting service, you have a dedicated host and a dedicated manager  provided by the web host to take care of administration and management of your system, as well as an array of other services. This is the most expensive hosting service, but allows you to focus on the content and development aspects of your business.

Do-It-Yourself Hosting Service

If you know your way around server management, it is possible to run your server yourself. In this case, you will need to make arrangements with your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to provide a static IP (Internet Protocol) address or use a dynamic DNS service to change the IP address as needed.

Colocation Hosting Service

If the available servers offered in a dedicated or managed hosting service package do not meet your needs, it is possible to provide your own custom server and have it housed with the providing host, where it is connected to their system. The web hosting service and you share responsibility for the server. If you do not have a maintenance agreement, the equipment, as well as other aspects of server management, will be your responsibility. As is the case with dedicated and managed hosting, this type of hosting requires careful scrutiny of the requirements of your business in order to make appropriate choices about providers.

Reseller Hosting Service

If you wish to resell web hosting services, you contract with a hosting provider and sell server space, there are several types of contracts, including one in which you lease a dedicated server and are then free to sell the web space on it. One possibility is to lease a dedicated server to house your own site or sites and then sell the rest of the space to others. Because you are the reseller, you can determine how many sites are given space and keep an eye on resource use to insure that your site or sites have sufficient resources at all times. Keep in mind that this role would also require you to provide support for clients and to monitor their compliance with the terms of service, as well to manage the accounts.