There are a lot of different kinds of websites, and these also come in different sizes. Some are personal websites, while others are for large companies. For each of these types of websites, there are also different types of website hosting services. These services address the different requirements of website owners.
The following are the most common website hosting services being offered by web hosting companies:
The free hosting is as free as anything can be on the internet. The user has to register for the account, and they can have a website hosting service. As a free service, there are limitations on the service. The service might also come with limited support and software. It may be necessary to load up your own software. There are also caps on the broadband and monthly data usage. In most instances, the service might also run ads on your site.
The main disadvantage of a free hosting site is that you might not be allowed to use your own domain name. For some service providers, you can use your own domain name if you bought it from them. There is also the concern about website security because there will be other sites accessing the same server.
The free hosted site is great for personal websites, or blogs. It might also need more work than other established free sites (like blogging sites, wiki sites or social media sites). For beginners, who want to learn how to create websites this can be a great start.
For those who are only starting out with their own website, free hosting services allow for easy upgrading. There is no need to migrate or move the website to another service provider. The website hosting service can migrate the website to another server as part of the upgrade.
Also called virtual hosting, this is another affordable way to start a website. It is inexpensive, and there are more software available. The support is also usually the same as other customers. A shared hosting means that the website is located on a powerful server, along with up to a hundred other websites. There are service level agreements which assure a minimum bandwidth, and downtime. The user can have his own domain name. For small to medium businesses, a shared hosting service will do very nicely regarding performance.
Shared hosting works well for relatively small websites, which require several software installed as well as the use of several databases. For a small business, this might be the only thing it needs. There are still restrictions on the service, specifically the monthly traffic volume, as well as the data storage size. There is still the concern for website security because the server is shared by several users.
This type of service gets its name from the dedicated server that it uses. With a dedicated server, there is no other website which uses the server. Only the website admin and the website hosting service has access to the server. The server itself is owned by the website hosting company. However, the user has the option on the specifications, operating system, and the software installed. The website owner may never see the server because of the location of the server facility, however, as long as they make use of the service, there is only one website running on the server.
There are a lot of things that a website owner can do with a dedicated server. First of all, he can run multiple websites on a single server. A dedicated server also comes with a better and more services. These include email, database and software support.
Along with having a dedicated server, there is the responsibility of practically owning the server. The website user can have an email service for his own company. More and larger databases can also be created on the server. With a dedicated server, the owner will be responsible for maintaining the installed software and for the server, itself. With a free rein on the server use, the website owner can add any software that he requires. This means that not all of this software can be supported by the website hosting company.
In contrast to the dedicated hosting, a co-location service means that the server was bought by the client and installed at the site. It is possible that the website hosting company sold the server, it is also possible that the customer brought in their own server to the site. Technically, any kind of computer can be brought in for the server. However, the trend nowadays is only to allow rack-mounted servers for co-location website hosting. This simplifies the compliance and physical setup of the server. If there is a need to have a dedicated IP address, co-location is the best option.
One advantage of having a co-location service is that the server is at a facility which has a fast internet connection. Another advantage is that the server is in a controlled environment. Most companies choose to have a co-located server because they can configure the server at their office before shipping it to the server facility. Server and server software configuration can take up a lot of time. It also becomes harder to do when doing it via remote. Configuring it at the customer's office ensures that the software is configured and running properly. Counting the cost of the server, this is the most expensive solution for small companies.
There are other variations of the above types of website hosting services. One of these is a clustered hosting. A computer cluster makes use of several computers connected via a dedicated connection and working as a single unit. As far as the internet user is concerned, there is only one IP address or only one computer. Clustered solutions provide a faster computer environment with different calls being addressed by different servers.
For a large online shopping site, a cluster helps solve the problem of throttling, where a single server starts to slow down due to the number of requests for the website. A clustered solution is also much more expensive than just multiplying the cost of a dedicated server by the number of computers in a cluster. There is also the cost of the networking hardware which is independent of the data center's network.
Depending on the website requirements, a website hosting service can recommend the right website hosting solution.
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