In this day and age, it is important for most companies and businesses to have a web presence. A website allows for far greater international exposure than would be possible without one.
But, a web site in turn requires a domain name and webhosting.
Most people know what a domain is, but far less are familiar with web-hosting, and related terms and concepts.
There are a few basic forms of website hosting:
- Free Webhosting
Yes, it is possible to get your website hosted for free, but there usually are trade-offs. Often the free hosting provider may add advertising to the top and/or bottom of your website pages, to help offset his free service. Other times, you may not be able to use your own domain name, and will have to settle for a sub-domain (e.g. yoursite.theirsite.com). In addition, page loading times on these free hosts are typically very high, and they suffer from frequent outages due to overloading. This kind of hosting is really only suitable for cheapskates and newbies, not for any serious company or business.
- Shared Web-Hosting
If you are happy to have your website share a server with many (sometimes, 100s) of other websites, shared hosting is the most affordable type of paid webhosting. But your website may suffer due to so-called “overselling” (where the host basically overloads the server by adding too many sites to it).
- Dedicated Web-Hosting
This is the kind of hosting where you rent your own server, and you have full control over it. This service may be managed (the webhost will perform updates, support, etc.), or unmanaged (everything is your responsibility).
- Reseller Web Hosting
This is suitable for aspirant webhosts and webdesigners (who provide/resell hosting to clients), internet marketers, or webmasters who want to create separate accounts for their different clients/websites.
- VPS Web Hosting
A “Virtual Private Server” is created by implementing virtualization technology on a server, in order to have numerous “virtual” servers perform under one physical server. It allows the website owner/webmaster almost as much control as for a dedicated server, but requires a lot of technical know-how to operate.
If you own and are able to manage your own web-server, you may opt for co-location, where a data center will physically host your equipment, and hook it up to the internet, for a fee.
- E-commerce Webhosting
This webhosting service provides add-ons to help businesses perform online transactions, such as sales. Typically it will include a shopping cart, an internet merchant account, as well as an online payment solution.
- Cloud Hosting
A fairly new concept, cloud hosting allows website content/data to be hosted/distributed in the “cloud” (i.e. in several redundant online locations). In addition to redundancy, this kind of hosting also scales well, such as in cases of short-term critical bandwidth increases.
- Email Hosting
This is for companies that only require webhosting for their employee email.
As you can see, there are many different types of webhosting solutions, and it is it is important that you determine your needs and requirements before signing up for hosting. Then you still have to shop around and find the best webhosting provider for your particular situation. For example, you may decide to go with offshore web-hosting, instead of hosting your website locally.