Web Hosting Service – What is it and how to choose one

What is a Web Hosting Service?

A web hosting service is a service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible around the world on the World Wide Web. Web hosting companies provide space on a servers for clients to use. They also provide Internet connectivity to those servers so customers can view your web site. These web servers usually reside in a data center that provide redundant power supplies and data connections, environmental controls and various security devices.

In addition to offering server space, web hosting providers usually offer the tools required to manage their web sites. Most hosting plans come with a control panel that gives the user a simple to use interface. These interfaces allow users do various tasks easily. Some of these tasks include setting up email addresses, adding databases, uploading files to their website, backing up website pages, viewing website statistics, setting up e-commerce shopping carts, and installing various scripts like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

To obtain more customers, web hosting services may also give free or discounted domain name registration, free advertising credits, and other free or discounted bonuses to make their service more attractive.

Web hosting is more than just space on a server to hold web pages. Web hosting providers can also provide various tools and services that can make managing and maintaining websites easier.

Choosing a Web Hosting Service

What is the purpose of this web site?

Is it a personal website, a blog, an e-commerce store, a business card/brochure for your business, a company web site, a community build web site, or some other web applications.

What are the business and web application requirements?

Such considerations include:

  • Web storage:  The amount of disk space that your server has available to you.

If your web application will contain a lot of multimedia items (i.e. photos, audio, and video), you will need a more storage than a web site that will not. Some web hosting service providers allow unlimited storage as long as it complies with their hosting agreement.

  • Bandwidth:  Bandwidth refers to how much data is be sent to and from your server.

This number does not usually include the uploading and downloading of files when publishing the web site. Like web storage, some web hosting service providers allow unlimited storage as long as it complies with their hosting agreement.

  • Operating system:  Linux-based or Windows.

If you are unsure about this, go with a Linux-based web server. These are very popular and great for basic users to web developers. Almost all of the web site management is done through a control panel so you do not need to worry about the technical details of Linux.

If your web site is developed using Microsoft ASP, you should use a Windows server.

  • Database server software:  Most web sites today use some sort of database to store and retrieve data.  

MySql is usually included with most hosting plans for free. Other options can include SQL Server, MongoDB, and Oracle. These other options generally have additional costs associated with them. The type or operating system that your web server is using can sometimes affect what databases are available.

  • Language Support:  PHP,  PERL, Python, Ruby, Java, ASP, etc.

The choice of your servers operating system can affect what languages are available for your web site. PHP is a common language for web development and is provided on both operating systems.

  • Control Panel:  This feature is especially important if you want to maintain your site or have someone else to maintain.

These days most web hosting providers have good control panels for managing their services. But, make sure to look for the ability to upload files, change passwords for your account, add/delete an email account, manage databases, etc.

Are any other services needed?

  • Email:  If you have your own site you would probably want to have email addresses for your domain, for example: info@mydomain.com
  • E-commerce options – Shopping cart, SSL (Secure Socket Layer):  

If you are planning to run an e-commerce website, you will need a shopping cart and SSL certificate.

  • Additional applications:  Several hosting providers offer one-click installation of some of the most popular applications like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
  • Other:  This could include marketing tools, web site builders, and SSL certificates.

Hopefully, this article was useful to you. If you would like to check out some great shared hosting plans, you can get it from us, Onlinespaces, or one of our affiliates.

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