New to Web Hosting? Start Here

Hosting, also called “Web Hosting,” is when a vendor provides the service of a physical location of the servers, storage, and other equipment that allows your web site to be live.

If you’ve ever wondered “Where is the Internet??” The answer is that the internet is hosted and spread across the world in a vast number of servers, and those servers are themselves inside of computers or appliances, spread out across the planet.

Cloud Hosting refers to a number of different methods of having your web site be hosted across one or multiple servers that are geographically separate from your premises. Because computer data can be easily copied without degradation, data and service can be “redundant,” having many copies of the same data or the same processing, done in many places.

What To Look For In a Web Host?

What to look for in a host?

When choosing a web site hosting service, the key word is “value.” Value is how much you get for your dollar, not how many dollars you spend. This web site will help you to determine how to get the best value from your web hosting, and aid you in deciding which web hosting service to go with.

  • Reliability: A good hosting provider will offer at least 99.99% in uptimes, and  have a service level agreement, meaning that they will compensate you if your web site is down for longer than they guarantee.
     
  • Tech Support: The difference between friendly tech support that helps you with your problems in a timely manner and tech support that doesn't is the difference between getting your business and not.
     
  • Scalability: When your business or web site grows, how easy will it be to increase (or even decrease) your service as it is needed.
     
  • Hardware: Is it state-of-the-art or are they using outdated hardware? The difference can be the risk of your site going down.
     
  • Company business tactics: Web hosts may decide to go for carbon offsets and green technology, frequent data backups, bi-coastal redundancy, or any other methods to get your business. They aren't always just a gimmick. 
     
  •  User and professional reviews: Be sure to get honest and unbiased reviews, like the ones you read on this site.

Most Common Types of Hosting Solutions

1. Shared Hosting: This is a popular option for websites that do not have a lot of traffic yet. As the name implies, your website is hosted on a server that also hosts other sites. You share the same IP address. One possible drawback to this is that someone else’s web activity, such as email spam, might reflect on you, and, in this case, your important emails may get marked as spam and never read. One advantage to this is that the price is very competitive.

2. VPS Hosting: A Virtual Private Server, also called Virtual Hosting, is in between shared and dedicated. Each server sharing the physical computer has its own IP address, and even different sets of operating systems. There can be several virtual servers on one physical computer.

3. Dedicated Servers: Having a dedicated server is suitable for major web sites that have a lot of traffic. The equipment is yours and yours alone. In unmanaged hosting, the hosting company leases the server(s) to you and you must maintain that server(s). This option gives you a lot of control. It also requires higher skills.

4. Cloud Hosting: Also known as Grid hosting, is good for websites that have a lot of traffic on certain days, but low traffic on other day. In grid hosting, multiple computers work together to distribute the load. This option is very scalable, because you only pay for the resources you need.

Alternatives: Free hosting solutions are limited because they only provide an IP address, not a dedicated domain name (as in hostsite.com/yoursite); Self hosting, where you host the server computer on your own premises using consumer-level bandwidth, requires technical expertise beyond that of many average customers, and may not have the bandwidth required to keep a business running.