Choosing the best type of web hosting service for your needs can be a difficult and important decision. In general, web hosting is defined as a subset of Internet hosting services that permit individual participants or larger organizations to post their web site to be available on the World Wide Web.
Companies that provide such a service control a set amount of space on their dedicated server of which they have control. The information provided by clients in the form of web sites is then stored in a data center. If a host also provides data space on servers that they do not currently control, the process is called colocation.
Defining Major Web Hosting Service Types
Free Web Hosting:
These web hosting services are generally supported by advertisements but feature limited services when compared to web hosting services that require a fee.
Shared Web Hosting:
Some of the most common web hosting services are shared. A participant's web site is uploaded in conjunction with a large number of other web sites on the same server, sometimes in the thousands. The features of this type of web hosting service are usually very extensive.
This type of web hosting service gives participants the opportunity to feature their own web hosting services. For example, a reseller web hosting service that controls 900 GB of web space might sell nine sections of 100 GB to potential web hosts that they can then resell in smaller sections.
Virtual Dedicated Server:
Also referred to as Virtual Private Servers, Virtual Dedicated web hosting services split up their server's resources among virtual servers. No matter how the resources are divided, the underlying hardware is not directly reflected. In some situations, the clients have the sole responsibility for patches or maintenance tasks on the server.
Similar to virtual dedicated services, dedicated web hosting services give each customer full access to a web server. For systems running a Linux operating system, this could be referred to as root access. On Windows powered systems, administrative control is allowed. Dedicated web hosting can be expensive but subsets including "self-managed" or "un-managed" are far less expensive and give the responsibility of security and dedicated box maintenance to the client.
Each customer is allocated an Internet server but does not have administrative or root access. They can, of course, update and perform data management tasks through FTP or remote management tools. Many clients prefer this service because the web hosting provider guarantees service quality through a server lease and control of server modifications that could result in configuration problems.
Other Web Hosting Service Types
Along with the various major web hosting service types, there are several less common or new web hosting services that can assist with clients that have needs that cannot be met by a more conventional types of web hosting. Two of these types of web hosting services include:
Cloud Web Hosting:
Cloud web hosting is a relatively recent development in the web hosting community. In general, clients are financially responsible for only the space that they utilize in contrast to other web hosting services that sell a set amount of space that clients could eventually fill.
Clustered Web Hosting:
This type of web hosting allows multiple servers to host the same content to result in more effective utilization of resources.
Choosing a Web Hosting Service
With the multitude of web hosting services available on the Internet today, choosing the best one for your specific business needs can often be a challenge. It is important to evaluate each type of service before making an ultimate decision on which one works best for you. You might initially decide that the freedom of dedicated web hosting services is your best option but then discover that you do not have the budget to support such a system.
Always be open to new types of web hosting services that often provide users with unique advantages over more conventional techniques. For example, cloud hosting is a much rarer type of web hosting (when compared to dedicated web hosting, for instance) that many users have found to be invaluable to their web site plan. Constantly evaluate your web site's needs and familiarize yourself with the options available to you. After all, you may be surprised at how much impact changing web hosts can have on your overall web site plan.