Web hosting, by definition, is the process of making a webpage or website available for viewing online in the Internet.
There are several web hosting services that offer to store information, images, video or other content for individuals, institutions or entities. Web hosts provide store information, such as web pages on their server. Internet service providers, aside from giving customers a way to connect to the internet, also offer to host web pages without any additional charge.
Hosting services offer different service packages to fit the need of the consumer. The most basic type is the web page and file hosting. This type of hosting package is usually free. Customers can upload web pages or files via FTP or file transfer protocol, and the website will be posted “as is,” although advertisements may be posted on one part of the web page. This hosting service package is offered by companies like HostGator and IX Webhosting.
For more complex and technical websites, some companies offer database support and application development platforms such as PHP, Java and ASP.NET. These programs allow customers to write scripts for their websites.
If one is planning to create an e-commerce website or a website that allows credit card or debit card transactions, then he would need to get a package which employs the SSL technology. This is what makes a “secure” website. SSL, or secure socket layer, is a type of program or platform that encrypts sensitive information such as social security or credit card numbers for security purposes.
Some web hosting companies may also provide customers direct access to the web server, through programs such as the cPanel. The customer can then access and manage the website’s e-mail accounts, domains management, sub-domains, and other
actions required to run a website.
Below are the types of web hosting services, in detail:
1) Free web hosting service
It may be offered free by ISPs, but most companies will host personal websites for a minimal fee. This type usually supports advertisements, and offers limited support.
2) Shared web hosting service
Companies offer to store a website’s information and content in their server, along with other websites. Some companies, such as freewebs.com can offer this service free of charge, but one would need to provide a link to the host’s website. Some features can not be added to the website, too, like forums.
3) Dedicated web hosting service
With this particular hosting service, one has more freedom because the webmaster will have full control of the entire web server. Some companies advertise web servers for rent or lease, and the webmaster is given administrator access.
4) Co-location web hosting service
This refers to the physical space offered by hosting companies for rent. Because a server needs to be running all the time, it needs to be placed in an area that where it can be maintained by technicians.
5) Reseller web hosting
This type of web hosting service allows clients to sell server space. A client can choose to rent a server, for example, and have other customers use the server space for their own websites.
6) File hosting service
This is a type of internet hosting service created to host static content, usually large files which are not web pages. The files which can be stored in these servers can also be freeware or shareware, programs that are offered free to everyone. Because downloading programs eats a lot of bandwidth and are costlier, most shareware authors sign up for file hosting service accounts.
Aside from these six primary internet hosting services, there is also specific web services such as image hosting, video hosting and blog hosting services.
Because of the popularity of blogs or web journals, image hosting and video hosting services have also become popular. People who sign up for image hosting accounts only have personal web pages provided by their ISPs. Since ISPs provide limited storage space, webmasters get image hosting services to store photos and direct link from the host’s server to their web page. Although there are restrictions to the maximum file size and the bandwidth allowed per user, it is usually higher that what ISPs are offering.
Blog hosting services, on the other hand, are hosting services that offer to host web journals online. “Bloggers” access weblog applications to update their website.