Posts tagged ‘Medium Businesses’

Web Hosts: The Basics


Before you start searching for a web host, you must familiarize yourself with the terminology used in this field. The following terms are also considered key factors in deciding the suitable hosting plan that meets your requirements. You can start learning what does each term mean and how does it affect your selection.

Web Host
A web host, also known as web server, is a computer connected to the internet. This computer is more powerful than normal PCs and is set up to serve up websites. Your website content will reside on this computer, which will give people who surf the internet a way to access your website.

Web hosts can be categorized into three main categories based on the price range and common features for each category:

1. Free Hosts: limited in space, bandwidth and other features. Suitable for personal websites or for temporary usage. Usually enforce pop-up, text or banner ads. They do not provide the best performance and/or reliability. They provide minimum or no customer support. If you register for a free host, your domain will be something like yourname.freehost.com or www.freehost.com/yourname.

2. Shared Hosts: most websites are using this type of hosting. Suitable for personal, small and medium businesses. Prices range from $1 to about $25 a month. Features also range from very limited space/bandwidth to semi-dedicated servers. Your website has its own top level domain (e.g. www.website-hostings.net) The number of websites on a server affects its performance and availability, more websites usually means less performance. Servers hosting less number of shared websites are more expensive, but more reliable. Some companies allow customers to host multiple websites with different domains under a single account.

3. Dedicated Hosts: A full server dedicated to a single customer. Usually used by large businesses and very active websites with thousands of daily visitors. The customer will have full control over the server, and can create as many websites as he likes. Customer can have his own hosting company run on a rented dedicated server. Prices depend on the specifications and services provided with the server, starting from about $100 up to about $800 dollars a month.

4. Colocated Hosts: very similar to dedicated hosts, but the customer owns the server hardware instead of renting it. The server will be housed in provider’s data center. Prices are a bit higher than dedicated servers.

5. Reseller Hosts: providers offer web server storage to customers, who then resell the web server storage to their customers. Providers usually offer resellers a discount price.

6. Other Hosts: there are few other types of hosts such as email hosts, media hosts, data hosts, etc but these are out of the scope of this article.

domain Name
http://www.website-hostings.net/ is an example of a

Which Type of Web Hosting is Right for You?

When is comes to web hosting, you have many options to choose from. Depending on the type of website you want to build, you can choose from free web hosting, standard web hosting, shared web hosting, dedicated web hosting, or co-location web hosting. For those who are unfamiliar with some of these options, deciding which host to choose can be daunting and time consuming.

Free web hosting
If you want to create a personal web page or a small website for non-business use, then free web hosting is a good option. Instead of paying monthly fees, you agree to allow the service to post online ads on your site. While you have no control over the types of ads, free web hosting is an option for those who have a small budget or those who want to test their website first before investing money in a more expensive web host service.

Standard Web Hosting
Most web hosting services that cater to small and medium businesses fall into this category. Unlike free web hosts, you will have to pay a start-up fee and a monthly fee to use the services provided by the host. There is a wide array of features available through these types of web hosts. Common features include:
* Website creation tools
* Reports and website statistics
* 100 or more email addresses
* Free domain name
* Varying amounts of disk space, file storage and bandwidth
* Access to multiple scripts
* Ability to manage your site through a control panel
When researching standard web hosts, look carefully at what they have to offer. Some offer different monthly packages that contain more features than others.

Dedicated Web Hosting
If you don’t want to share a server with other websites, you can choose a dedicated web hosting service or a web host that provides these types of options. While this will cost more each month, you will have more control over the server. This means you can schedule maintenance, upgrades and other events at your convenience.

Shared Web Hosting
Even though most websites that rely on standard web hosting services are stored on shared servers, many web hosting services offer ‘shared web hosting’, which means you will only share a server machine with one or two other subscribers instead of hundreds.
If you’re looking for a way to reduce your risk of cyber theft or hacking, sharing a server with as few subscribers as possible can help. This service will cost more than standard web hosting.

Co-location
Co-location is similar to dedicated web hosting, except you only pay for an Internet connection and storage for your equipment. You will be responsible for purchasing and maintaining a server machine.
For those who want to have complete control over their business, co-location is the best option available. There are two types of co-location, managed and unmanaged. If your company lacks an IT department, you can turn over management responsibilities to the web host. If your company has an IT department, then you will just have to pay for the Internet connection and the storage costs.

Before you choose a web host you should take into consideration what type of web hosting you will require for your business. The type of web hosting offered is just as important as the quality of your chosen web host.

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Inexpensive web hosting is the by-product of the commoditization of computer and networking hardware and it is making possible some amazingly cheap web hosting options for small and medium businesses as well as individuals.

Swim With The Big Fish

Inexpensive web hosting takes place on a shared server and is also known as “virtual hosting.” It allows small businesses to present themselves online in a manner virtually indistinguishable from the major online players.

The primary advantage of shared web hosting is that you don’t have to fork over big money to pay for a dedicated server, networking hardware, and web site development when you are just getting your business off the ground.

Instead, you can realize very inexpensive web hosting by sharing these resources with other small and medium sized web sites. You save money by spreading the infrastructure costs among them all.

Best of all, your visitors and customers won’t notice any difference between your site and a major high volume web site with its own dedicated servers and other resources.

Balanced Performance

The way this works is that your web host will monitor and balance the server loads and transaction volumes across all the sites using shared web hosting services to ensure optimal, balanced performance for everyone.

That is, if they know what they’re doing…

Server resource balancing is not rocket science and most well established web hosting companies do it well. However, because web hosting costs are continually falling, the web site hosting industry is booming and there are a lot of new, inexperienced players entering the field in the hope of becoming the next big web hosting company with TV commercials of Super Bowl proportions.

Top Web Hosts

The reality, however, is that some web hosting companies know what they are doing and some do not. In our Top Hosts section you’ll find a list of web hosts who provide very reliable, yet inexpensive web hosting.

At Web-Host-Watch we evaluate the performance of a large number of web hosting companies. We’ve visited their hosted websites at all hours of the day and night, on different days of the week, and during peak shopping seasons.

Most of the web hosts we look at fall down in one or more key areas of service from time to time. But our Top Web Hosts all performed admirably, consistently, and over a long period of time.

We’ve categorized them according to their individual strengths to help you find the one that best matches your requirements whether you need dedicated or shared web hosting services.

Web Hosts: The Basics

Before you start searching for a web host, you must familiarize yourself with the terminology used in this field. The following terms are also considered key factors in deciding the suitable hosting plan that meets your requirements. You can start learning what does each term mean and how does it affect your selection.

Web Host

A web host, also known as web server, is a computer connected to the internet. This computer is more powerful than normal PCs and is set up to serve up websites. Your website content will reside on this computer, which will give people who surf the internet a way to access your website.

Web hosts can be categorized into three main categories based on the price range and common features for each category:

1. Free Hosts: limited in space, bandwidth and other features. Suitable for personal websites or for temporary usage. Usually enforce pop-up, text or banner ads. They do not provide the best performance and/or reliability. They provide minimum or no customer support. If you register for a free host, your domain will be something like yourname.freehost.com or [http://www.freehost.com/yourname].

2. Shared Hosts: most websites are using this type of hosting. Suitable for personal, small and medium businesses. Prices range from $1 to about $25 a month. Features also range from very limited space/bandwidth to semi-dedicated servers. Your website has its own top level domain (e.g. [http://www.website-hostings.net]) The number of websites on a server affects its performance and availability, more websites usually means less performance. Servers hosting less number of shared websites are more expensive, but more reliable. Some companies allow customers to host multiple websites with different domains under a single account.

3. Dedicated Hosts: A full server dedicated to a single customer. Usually used by large businesses and very active websites with thousands of daily visitors. The customer will have full control over the server, and can create as many websites as he likes. Customer can have his own hosting company run on a rented dedicated server. Prices depend on the specifications and services provided with the server, starting from about $100 up to about $800 dollars a month.

4. Colocated Hosts: very similar to dedicated hosts, but the customer owns the server hardware instead of renting it. The server will be housed in provider’s data center. Prices are a bit higher than dedicated servers.

5. Reseller Hosts: providers offer web server storage to customers, who then resell the web server storage to their customers. Providers usually offer resellers a discount price.

6. Other Hosts: there are few other types of hosts such as email hosts, media hosts, data hosts, etc but these are out of the scope of this article.

domain Name

www.website-hostings.net [http://www.website-hostings.net] is an example of a domain name. It’s a name that points to where your website is physically located. The actual address of your website is a set of numbers that looks like (70.86.135.242). This address is unique for every web server. domain names are just pointers to the real addresses. It’s easier to remember the domain names than the IP addresses.

Space / Storage

The amount of web server’s disk space available for customer’s website files, images and databases. It can be as small as 5MB in some free hosts and as big as 300GB for some dedicated servers. Space prices reduced significantly during the last few years. Customer can find hosting plans offering 3GB of space for less than $10 a month.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred from web server to clients’ internet browsers. Each time a person view a page data is transmitted from the server to that person’s PC. Audio, video and images contents consume much more bandwidth than text. Bandwidth can be as low as 100MB a month in some free web hosts and as high as 2000GB a month in some dedicated servers. Customer can find hosting plans offering 75GB of monthly data transfer for less than $10.

Server Type

Usually means the operating system than runs the web server. Common types are Windows, Linux and UNIX. Server type determines the server side scripting and database types. Windows usually runs ASP and ASP.NET with Access or SQL Server databases. Linux/UNIX servers usually runs CGI, PHP or JSP with mySQL or Oracle databases. Windows servers are usually more expensive than Linux/UNIX servers.

Databases

As you have seen in server types, there are different types of databases. The most commonly used is mySQL because its an open source GPL (free) software and can serve a lot of online applications’ requirements such as forums, content management, mailing lists, etc. MySQL, however, has some limitations in its features. Complicated large business sites will need more powerful databases such as Oracle or SQL Server.

Server Side Scripting

Most new users prefer to use PHP as server side scripting. The reason is that there are hundreds of open source (GPL) PHP scripts that can meet a lot of webmaster’s requirements. Similar to mySQL, PHP has some limitations in features required by advanced websites, which makes some senior web developers prefer to use ASP.NET or JSP. Other developers still prefer to use Cold Fusion, CGI, ASP or PERL.

Email

Most hosting plans include the feature of having some email accounts with customer’s domain (e.g. admin@website-hostings.net). The number and size of email accounts depends on the hosting plan. Free plans do not usually have this feature, small plans give about 10 accounts where big plans do not limited the number. Those email accounts are usually web based and accessible through POP3 clients as well.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

A standard way of transferring files across the Internet. Most webmasters upload and download their websites contents using FTP. The upload or download processes are usually performed using FTP client software. To access their web servers, webmasters need FTP username and password. Some hosts give more than one FTP account to their customers. FTP can by anonymous as well, but its not recommended for security reasons.

Control Panel

Most web hosting companies provide their customers with a control panel, a web based application that helps in managing websites. Common functions in control panels are: managing email accounts, providing statistics, managing FTP accounts, managing domains and subdomains and managing databases. The most commonly used control panel application is cPanel. Some companies develop their own control panel application.

Uptime

An important feature of web hosts is their uptime, which is usually measured in percentage. A server that goes down for an average of 30 minutes a day will have an uptime percentage of about 99.98%, which is acceptable for most small to medium business websites. Anything less than this percentage is not suitable for a business website. Mission critical sites cannot tolerate frequent outages, thus they may use web monitoring services to notify web administrators immediately when an outage happens.

Price

With the wide range of options available for customers, the price is also ranges from 0 to $1000 a month. Most personal, small and medium websites shouldn’t cost more than $15 a month. It’s not recommended for business website owners to go for very cheap plans (less than $5) because this price usually means a compromise in the quality of support and reliability of the server.

What Web Hosting Type is Right For You

When is comes to web hosting, you have many options to choose from. Depending on the type of website you want to build, you can choose from free web hosting, standard hosting, shared web hosting, dedicated hosting, or co-location web hosting. For those who are unfamiliar with some of these options, deciding which host to choose can be daunting and time consuming.

Free web hosting

If you want to create a personal web page or a small website for non-business use, then free web hosting is a good option. Instead of paying monthly fees, you agree to allow the service to post online ads on your site. While you have no control over the types of ads, free web hosting is an option for those who have a small budget or those who want to test their website first before investing money in a more expensive web host service.

Standard Hosting

Most web hosting services that cater to small and medium businesses fall into this category. Unlike free web hosts, you will have to pay a start-up fee and a monthly fee to use the services provided by the host. There is a wide array of features available through these types of web hosts. Common features include:

– Website creation tools

– Reports and website statistics

– 100 or more email addresses

– Free domain name

– Varying amounts of disk space, file storage and bandwidth

– Access to multiple scripts

– Ability to manage your site through a control panel

When researching standard web hosts, look carefully at what they have to offer. Some offer different monthly packages that contain more features than others.

Dedicated Hosting

If you don’t want to share a server with other websites, you can choose a dedicated web hosting service or a web host that provides these types of options. While this will cost more each month, you will have more control over the server. This means you can schedule maintenance, upgrades and other events at your convenience.

Shared Web Host

Even though most websites that rely on standard web hosting services are stored on shared servers, many web hosting services offer ‘shared web hosting’, which means you will only share a server machine with one or two other subscribers instead of hundreds.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your risk of cyber theft or hacking, sharing a server with as few subscribers as possible can help. This service will cost more than standard web hosting.

Co-location

Co-location is similar to dedicated web hosting, except you only pay for an Internet connection and storage for your equipment. You will be responsible for purchasing and maintaining a server machine. For those who want to have complete control over their business, co-location is the best option available. There are two types of co-location, managed and unmanaged. If your company lacks an IT department, you can turn over management responsibilities to the web host. If your company has an IT department, then you will just have to pay for the Internet connection and the storage costs.

Before you choose a web host you should take into consideration what type of web hosting you will require for your business. The type of web hosting offered is just as important as the quality of your chosen web host.