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What is Hosting Services?
Web hosting services stand for dedicated and sharing hosting tools of the service or multiple services to website owners. Web hosting services are in most of the cases used for hosting websites, even if they could even be applied for providing hosting services for images, files, games, and other content. Web hosting services are divided in four types:
Shared web hosting: where a huge number of Internet pages are normally accommodated on a single server.
Dedicated web hosting: cases in which an entire server is leased and employed for a single Internet site
Virtual private server hosting: a combination of the previous pair where a website is generally housed on its own virtual server, in order to ensure that the site can’t be affected by the other clients’ sites.
Cloud hosting: where a user pays only for the system time and space volume used in the hosting.
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A Buyer's Guide To Choosing the Best Web Hosting Service
For businesses, selecting a good hosting service provider can be a huge task. Looking for an ideal website hosting provider is a lot more than just comparing pricing options and disk space. When selecting the right provider, you must first have an idea of the various types of services your business will need for your website. Then you can begin looking for the right hosting provider for your business—one that can actually meet your requirements at a cost you can afford.
When you begin shopping for a good vendor that can offer you web hosting services, you have to make sure he or she offers plans for businesses of various sizes. You likewise want to invest in a professional package that can offer top notch professional services for your company, not a vendor that only has experience and record in personal website hosting.
From server features to data transfer to disk space, this buyer’s guide will provide a roadmap on what you need to know about hosting services and the factors to consider when looking for a hosting provider for your business.
Get to know each product with free trial
It is a good idea to check if the best hosting services offer a free trial. This will help you evaluate the service’s features free of cost before you invest any money. You can check if the following services, which have received a high SmartScore and user satisfaction rating, offer free trials: HostGator, Bluehost, HostMonster, Namecheap, InMotion Hosting, and iPage.
- Individuals and freelancers who wish to operate a website can use web hosting services.
- Small and medium-sized companies can also avail the services.
- Large enterprises can make use of dedicated server plans for their greater requirements.
- Bluehost: Bluehost offers inexpensive shared hosting plans, plus dedicated, VPS, and reseller options, as well as domain registrations.
- HostGator: HostGator offers quality shared and virtual private server (VPS) web hosting packages as well as dedicated server plans.
- HostMonster: HostMonster is an American web hosting company that offers a basic hosting package as well as VPS and dedicated plans.
- Namecheap: NameCheap helps lay people create and launch their own websites without needing advanced technical skills and deep pockets.
- InMotion Hosting: Founded in 2001, InMotion Hosting offers domain and website services, as well as site hosting tools to businesses.
Types of Web Hosting Services
A website hosting service, simply put, is a hosting service that operates Internet servers, enabling people and organizations to serve their content to the Internet.
Full-featured website hosting services can include:
- Complex managed hosting – This can refer to both virtual servers and physically dedicated servers, with many businesses choosing a hybrid hosting solution. Standard and complex managed hosting have a lot of similarities but the main difference lies in the level of engineering and administrative support that you pay for, depending on the complexity and size of your infrastructure development. The provider usually steps in to control most of the management, which includes memory, storage, security, and IT support. The service is mainly proactive in nature.
- Dedicated hosting service – Also known as managed hosting service, it is where the hosting service vendor owns and manages the machine. The hosting service company leases full control to the client. The server management includes monitoring to make sure the hosting server continues to effectively work, security patches installation, backup services, and different levels of technical support.
- Virtual private server – Probably the most expensive type of website hosting, virtualization technology is being used to enable multiple logical servers to operate on a single physical server. Colocation facilities basically provide the Internet connection, climate control, and uninterrupted power, but allow the client to manage his own system administration.
- Cloud hosting – Also known as on-demand or time-share hosting, where the user pays only for the system time and space he or she used. The capacity can be easily scaled up or down as the user’s computing requirements change.
Application-specific or limited hosting services include:
- File hosting service
- E-mail hosting service
- Web hosting service
- Game servers
- DNS hosting service
- Bandwidth cost
- Wiki farms
Shared or Dedicated Hosting?
One of the first considerations you will make is selecting between shared and dedicated hosting. The main differences between these two kinds of hosting options are performance, price, and control. When you select a shared service, the price may be considerably lower as several websites are paying for the server. On the other hand, when you use a dedicated server, your site is the only one paying for the web hosting server which, along with additional IT requirements and startup costs, makes it a more expensive choice.
Another issue is in-house expertise. When you pick the shared hosting option, your main responsibility is to provide the site content. Other details will be taken care of by the hosting provider such as the server setup, which includes bandwidth management, backups, operating system, email, and security.
On dedicated hosting, the provider usually supplies management software. However, you will mainly be responsible for your server management needs and not just the website management. Meaning, you may need dedicated IT staff to manage web-server installation, choosing which web applications to run on your server, backing up your server, and handling security issues.
Key Features of Web Hosting Services
When looking at the features offered by various web hosting services, choose a service vendor that can offer full-service e-commerce solutions, especially if you are in the business of selling products and services. This can include a choice of your applications and services mainly used on an e-commerce site where people usually go and shop. Some features and services you may need include shopping carts, order processing, and payment.
A smaller e-commerce site that sells a few products, for instance, may opt for a cheaper web hosting provider than a large company with thousands of products. However, it is crucial that your hosting vendor offers services that can meet your company’s growth for some time.
Web Hosting Options
When looking for web hosting providers, two features that are usually discussed are disk space (the actual amount of physical disk space you will need for your website files) and bandwidth requirement (generally the limit to the traffic size your site can handle). Check about the disk space offered. The disk space need will be primarily dependent on the number of your site pages, images, and other files you have.
Most web hosting providers will create a limit to your website traffic, whether on a daily or monthly basis. As your website becomes more popular and you get more incoming traffic, then bandwidth limit may be a concern.
Admin Dashboard and Site Management
While this may seem obvious, if you use a web hosting provider to provide your site’s back-end management needs, you have to make sure it provides a good user interface. It will be problematic for you if log in to your dashboard and simply cannot make sense of the system you are looking at or being unable to realize what to do next.
This is why you should ask for a demo or free trial account first so you can see the administration control panel for yourself before signing on. Additional features you may want to check are the hosting provider’s built-in FTP (and option for you to use your FTP client) as well as options to create and maintain passwords, product catalogs, email accounts, and shopping cart functions.
Location, Reliability, and Customer Support
It is crucial to check where the web servers of a hosting provider are geographically located. For instance, if your website is mainly intended for a target market in the United States, you may need to ensure the servers of the hosting provider you choose are not located off-shore since this will slow down access as well as site loading time for your clients.
In today’s fast-paced technology landscape, everyone offers email support. Look for a good web hosting provider that can offer you free 24/7 phone as well as email technical support.
Benefits of Web Hosting Services
- A low cost web hosting service is an affordable and cost-effective option for businesses.
- You can eliminate the cost of hiring a webmaster as the web hosting service can resolve any problems that may arise with your website.
- If your site has content, images, audio files, videos, or animation, you can make them accessible to your website visitors by using a reliable web hosting service which offers adequate server space to store these files.
- A web hosting service enables you to create databases which is important for online business owners.
- Other features include shopping carts for e-tailers, as well as communities, forums, and chat panels. These features can help you get feedback from your customers and improve your site.
- Another important benefit is web hosting services offer email accounts that you can use to send emails with your website address which can boost your company’s credibility.
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