Web Site Hosting
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Web site hosting refers to a service that makes your web site available to
your users. In general, most web sites are intended to be viewed by anyone on
the Internet, at any time. If you want anyone on the Internet to be able to view
your web site at any time, you need to make sure your web site is running on a
computer which is connected to the Internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
To do this you have two options:
- Host the web site yourself
- Find a hosting provider to host your web site
Hosting the Web Site Yourself
Hosting the web site yourself means that you will need to have the right
equipment, including a web server and a permanent connection to the Internet.
You would need to ensure that your Internet service provider (ISP) allows this
type of usage too. You would also need to have web site administration skills
such as managing/configuring a web server, patch management, firewalls, virus
Most people don't do their own web site hosting. Even if they have the skills
or equipment, it often makes more sense to hand this task to a third party who
can monitor the web site 24/7.
Find a Hosting Provider to Host your Web Site
This is the most common choice for web site hosting. Using a third party
hosting provider allows you to concentrate on developing your web site (or
whatever else it is you may do), and leave the hosting tasks up to a company who
(presumably) specializes in web site hosting.
A good web site hosting company will provide at least the following services:
- 24/7 support
- 24/7 FTP access (so you can update your web site)
- A number of email accounts (i.e. yourName@yourDomain.com)
- Online control panel for managing your web site
- Online traffic statistics (so you can see how much traffic your web site
- A robust database management system, such as MySQL or MS SQL. This is so
you can add your own database if required
If you require specialized server application software such as ColdFusion,
ASP, PHP, you will need to check that the hosting provider supports this.
Once you start looking for a web site hosting provider, you will notice there
is a very large difference in how much they charge. You will also notice that
most web hosts have multiple hosting plans, each at different prices. Any good
web host will allow you to upgrade a plan later on if required, so don't feel as
though you need to start off on a plan that costs more than you need.
Shared hosting refers to when your web site is hosted on a server along with
many other customers' web sites. Don't worry, your users won't know this - your
web site is still configured as a separate web site on the server and can still
have its own domain name etc. It is simply sharing the server with other web
The benefit of shared hosting is price. Having your own server (otherwise
known as a "dedicated server") costs a lot more. Unless you get lots of traffic,
it doesn't make sense to pay more for a dedicated server.
A dedicated server is a server that hosts only your web site (or web sites).
This can give you more control over your web site. It can also help in ensuring
that other customers' web sites don't impact on your web site. Using dedicated
servers is much more expensive than shared hosting, but if your site receives
lots of traffic or you have other requirements (such as extra security
requirements), a dedicated server could be for you.
A managed hosting solution is where you have a dedicated server and the web
site hosting provider manages your server for you. Typically, the hosting
provider will be resposible for the hardware, operating system, virus
protection, patch management etc. You still have total control over the machine
(depending on SLA arrangements), and you are still in charge of your own web
site content. Managed hosting is usually a lot more expensive, and in some
cases, costs will be negotiated between the two parties.