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Website Hosting Services

Website Hosting Services

Website Hosting Services

A web hosting service is a kind of internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their site accessible via the world wide web. Website hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by users, as well as providing internet connectivity, usually in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the internet for other servers located in their data center, called colocation, also known as Housing in Latin America or France.

History

Up till 1991, the internet was limited to use only "...for research and education in the sciences and engineering..." and was used for email, telnet, FTP and USENET traffic, but only a tiny number of website pages. The world wide web protocols had only just been written and not till the end of 1993 would there be a graphical website browser for Mac or Windows computers. Even after there was some opening up of internet access, the situation was convoluted until 1995.

To host a web site on the internet, an individual or business would need their own computer system or server. As not all companies had the budget or expertise to do this, website hosting services began to offer to host users' sites on their own servers, without the client needing to purchase the necessary infrastructure neededd to run the web site. The owners of the websites, also known as webmasters, would be able to build a website that would be hosted on the web hosting service's server and published to the web by the web hosting service.

As the number of users on the internet increased, the demand for organizations, both large and small, to have an online presence increased. By 1995, companies such as GeoCities, Angelfire and Tripod were supplying free hosting.

Classification

Smaller Hosting Services

The simplest is aweb page and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a website interface. The files are generally delivered to the web "as is" or with minimal processing. Quite a few internet service providers (ISPs) supply this service with no cost to subscribers. Individuals and companies may also get website page hosting from alternative service providers.

Free web hosting service is provided by different companies with limited services, generally supported by adds, and often limited when compared to paid hosting.

Single page hosting is often sufficient for personal website pages. Personal web site hosting is typically free, advertisement-sponsored, or inexpensive. Business web site hosting often has a greater expense depending upon the size and type of the site.

Larger Hosting Services

Many big organizations that are not internet service providers need to be permanently connected to the web to send email, files, etc. to other sites. The organization may use the computer as a website host to offer details of their goods and services and facilities for online orders.

A complex site requires a more inclusive package that offers database support and application development platforms (e.g. ASP.NET, ColdFusion, Java EE, Perl/Plack, PHP or Ruby on Rails). These facilities allow clients to create or install scripts for applications like forums and content management. Also, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is typically used for websites that wish to keep the data transmitted safe.

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Types of Hosting

Internet hosting services can manage web servers. The scope of web hosting services differs greatly.

Shared Website Hosting Service

One's site is found on the same server as many other websites, ranging from a few websites to hundreds of websites. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. The features available with this kind of service can be fairly basic and not flexible in terms of software and updates. Resellers at times make available shared website hosting and web companies sometimes have reseller accounts to provide hosting for clients.

Reseller Website Hosting

Reseller website hosting permits clients to take on the role of web hosts themselves. Resellers can function, for individual domains, under any combination of these types of hosting, depending on who they are working with as a reseller. Resellers' accounts may vary quite a bit in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a colocated server. Many resellers offer a nearly identical service to their provider's shared hosting plan and supply the technical support themselves.

Virtual Dedicated Server

Also known as a Virtual Private Server (VPS), it divides server resources into virtual servers, where resources can be handed out in a way that doesn't directly reflect the underlying hardware. VPS will generally be allocated resources based on a one server to many VPSs relationship, however, virtualization might be done for different reasons, including the ability to relocate a VPS container between servers. Users might have root access to their own virtual space. Customers are usually responsible for fixing and maintaining the server (unmanaged server) or the VPS provider may offer server admin jobs for the client (managed server).

Dedicated Hosting Service

The customer gets his or her own website server and has complete control over it (user has root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, the client often doesn't own the server. One kind of dedicated hosting is self-managed or unmanaged. This is typically the least expensive for dedicated plans. The customer has full administrative access to the server, which means the customer is responsible for the security and maintenance of their own dedicated server.

Managed Hosting Service

The user gets his or her own website server but is not allowed complete control over the server (the user is denied root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); but, they can control their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is not permitted complete control so that the provider can guarantee the quality of service by not giving the customer to modify the server or perhaps create configuration issues. The user usually doesn't own the server. The server is leased to the client.

Colocation Website Hosting Service

Almost the same as the dedicated website hosting service, but the user owns the colocation server; the hosting organization offers physical space that the computer takes up and manages the server. This is the most powerful and expensive type of website hosting service. In most cases, the colocation provider may offer little to no help directly for their user's server, providing just the electrical, internet access, and storage facilities for the server. In most cases for colocation, the user would have their own administrator go to the data center on-site to do any hardware upgrades or changes. Formerly, many colocation providers would accept any computer configuration for hosting, even ones housed in desktop-style minitower cases, but most hosts now require rack mount enclosures and standard system configurations.

Cloud Hosting

This is a modern kind of hosting platform that allows clients strong, scalable and reliable hosting based on clustered load-balanced servers and utility billing. A cloud-hosted website might be more stable than alternatives as other computers in the cloud can take over when an individual piece of hardware fails. Furthermore, local power failures or even natural disasters are less problematic for cloud hosted sites, as cloud hosting is not centralized. Cloud hosting also permits providers to invoice users only for resources used by the user, rather than a flat rate for the amount the customer guesses they will use, or a fixed rate upfront hardware investment. Alternatively, the decentralization may give customers less control on where their information is located, which could be a deal breaker for customers with data security or privacy concerns.

Clustered Hosting

Having a group of servers hosting the same content for improved resource utilization. Clustered servers are a sturdy solution for high-availability dedicated hosting, or creating a scalable web hosting solution. A cluster may separate website serving from database hosting capability. (Often web hosts use clustered hosting for their shared hosting plans, as there are a number of options to the mass managing of clients).

Grid Hosting

This type of distributed hosting is when a server cluster performs like a grid and is made of multiple nodes.

Home Server

Sometimes, an individual computer situated in a private home can be used to host one or multiple web sites from a usually consumer-grade broadband connection. These can be purpose-built computers or more commonly older PCs. Some internet service providers purposefully work to block home servers by disallowing incoming requests to TCP port 80 of the user's connection and by refusing to offer static IP addresses. A good way to keep a reliable DNS hostname is by having an account with a dynamic DNS service. A dynamic DNS service will automatically update the IP address that a URL directs to when the IP address changes.

Some specific kinds of hosting provided by website host service providers:

  • File hosting service: hosts files, not website pages
  • Image hosting service
  • Video hosting service
  • Blog hosting service
  • Paste bin
  • Shopping cart software
  • Email hosting service
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Host Management

The host could also provide an interface or control panel for managing the website server and installing scripts, as well as other modules and service applications like email. A web server that does not use a control panel for managing the hosting account, is generally referred to as a "headless" server. Some hosts specialize in certain software or services (e.g. e-commerce, blogs, etc.).

Reliability and Uptime

The availability of a site is measured by the percentage of a year in which the site is publicly accessible and reachable via the internet. This differs from measuring the uptime of a system. Uptime refers to the system itself being online. Uptime does not take into account being able to reach it such as during network outage. A hosting provider's Service Level Agreement (SLA) might include a certain amount of scheduled downtime per year in order to perform maintenance on the computers. This scheduled downtime is sometimes not included in the SLA timeframe and needs to be subtracted from the Total Time when availability is calculated. Depending on the wording of an SLA, if the availability of a system drops lower than that in the signed SLA, a hosting provider sometimes will supply a partial refund for lost time. How downtime is calculated changes from provider to provider, therefore reading the SLA is not to be taken lightly. Not all providers release uptime statistics. Quite a number of hosting providers will guarantee at least 99.9% uptime which will allow for 43 minutes of downtime per month, or 8 hours and 45 minutes of downtime every year.

Obtaining Hosting

Web hosting is at times provided as part of a general internet access plan from internet service providers. There are also a lot of free and paid providers offering web hosting.

A customer should evaluate the requirements of the application to choose what type of hosting to use. Such considerations include database server software, scripting software, and operating system. Most hosting providers offer Linux-based website hosting which offers a wide range of different software. A typical configuration for a Linux server is the LAMP platform: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python. The web hosting customer might want to obtain other services, such as email for their organization domain, databases or multimedia services. A user may also choose Windows as the hosting platform. The user still can choose from Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby, but the client may also use ASP.NET or ASP Classic. Web hosting packages often include a web content management system, so the end-user does not have to worry about the more technical components.

Security

Since website hosting services host sites belonging to their clients, internet security is a very important worry. When a client agrees to use a website hosting service, they are handing over control of the security of their website to the organization that is hosting the website. The degree of security that a web hosting service provides is extremely important to a prospective customer and can be a major item when considering which provider a client may choose.

Web hosting computers can be attacked by malicious users in various ways, which include uploading malware or malicious code onto a hosted website. These attacks {may|might| be done for various reasons, such as stealing credit card info, launching a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) or spamming.

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