Web Hosting is a type of service provided by internet hosting providers to clients, be they individual or organization, to create and maintain their own personal website and make it available on the World Wide Web. The web hosting companies themselves provide space to clients via servers they own or lease from another provider. It is also common for web hosts to provide online connectivity and data storage space.
The range of services offered by web hosting providers is broad, from the basic web page and small file hosting to more involved services like providing software or services for e-commerce. Web page hosting and file hosting uses a web interface or File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to upload files with minimal processing. This is often provided as a free service or perk to subscribers of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Web page hosting can also be procured from outside service providers. Often the service is free (through the use of ads) or cheap.
Business website hosting or larger sites are often more expensive and more involved than personal web pages. Web hosting for these types of projects usually involves comprehensive packages, providing database support and application development platforms (e.g. PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, ColdFusion, and ASP.NET) Other services that may be provided are e-mail, payment and processing methods used for the selling of goods, forums, and content management. Often businesses outsource their network infrastructure to web hosting companies to save network space and keep costs lower than hosting it themselves.
Web Hosting Uptime and Reliability
The web hosting term “uptime” has to do with the percentage of time each month during which the host is accessible through the internet. The best hosts offer somewhere in the realm of 99.9% uptime, which is equal to less than an hour per month of server downtime. Still, there may be restarts and irregularly scheduled maintenance that is not factored in to this number. Web hosts often offer reduced rates and refunds in their service level agreements, should performance not meet standards.
Virtual Hosting Service
Also known as “shared web hosting service” or a “derive host,” this refers to multiple sites being hosted on one server. The sites are all relegated to their own section to keep them separate from the other sites. This service greatly reduces operating costs for the sites as each site shares in the cost of maintaining the server.