In today’s business world a web presence is a vital as having a computer or telephone. Consequently a lot of new or sometime well established businesses are out looking for a Web Hosting Provider that will meet their business requirement. However quite a large number of them may not know what a provider can or can’t do and may find themselves disappointed or buying services that they will never need. Since a business need a solid web foundation choosing the right Web Host Provider can make or break the online presence and profitability of a company. Research time may also be frustrating as one may not know what to really look for. Within this context we’ll try to see what services a host provider is suppose to offer and what are the criteria to evaluate them.
The primary function of a Web Host Provider is to allow individuals, organizations and companies that showcase themselves via a website to be easily reached by their intended audience through the World Wide Web. The host company will perform this function by providing space on a server that is connected to the internet. That server can be either own or leased by that provider. The extent of service varies widely from free web hosting, usually supported by advertising, to complex website hosting. Some of the basic and limited services are usually provided free by many Internet Service Providers to their clients. However those allocated spaces can be used for personal used. Other rudimentary services are web page hosting and small scale file hosting that are uploaded by using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software. These services are usually quite inexpensive.
A business entity would typically need a more robust infrastructure to carry out it daily activities. As such a more sophisticated package that will support database and development platforms is a must. These packages should give the client the ability to install scripts and e-commerce platform. Eigen Email In an environment where e-commerce and sensitive data are involved a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is imperative. In addition the host will provide a control panel of some sort. In these environment specialized hosting, for instant e-commerce hosting, are also available for larger companies that prefer to outsource their network.
For a business it is crucial that their customer be able to reach their site when ever they need to, and the web hosting provider is aware of that, in this respect most of them will offer some kind of guarantee that this is possible. In the web hosting language it is called uptime, it is measured as a percentage of the time their connection to the internet is accessible. To be on the safe side they will guarantee an uptime of 99.9%. However most of the time planned or emergency maintenance is not part of that uptime percentage. Good providers would notify you via email about planned maintenance, use that information to warn your customers. If you are not sure about is counted as uptime or not contact your provider he should be able to explain it to you. Reputable hosting providers will have the uptime as part of the hosting agreement and some even have a compensation clause if uptime promised is not met.
Other than the above features a Web hosting Provider will have a variety of hosting package that is offered to his client. Knowing your needs and the limitation of the packages offer will help you make the most appropriate choice. The following are the most commonly found packages:
- Free web hosting service: Very restrictive and limited services. Supported by advertising
- Shared web hosting service: Most common budget hosting package. Share server resources with other clients who are hosting there. May have some restrictions, check the TOS.
- Reseller web hosting: Would very likely be also a shared hosting. Resource allotments may be a little less than a non reseller. Most of the time provides same of close to the type of support offered by the owner of the server.
- Virtual Dedicated Server: Also known as Virtual Private Server (VPS). Shared resource with the functionality of a stand alone server. This package may require client to do their own maintenance.
- Dedicated hosting service: Here the client is not the owner, but has full access to the server; if it is a self-managed or unmanaged account then they are also responsible for the security and maintenance of that server.
- Managed hosting service: The client leases his own server but do not have full access, the hosting company will provide maintenance, security and configuration. However the client has full control over his data.
- Colocation web hosting service: Similar plan as a dedicated hosting service however the client here owns the server and is fully responsible for it. In this plan only the infrastructure and utility is provided.
- Cloud Hosting: This newer platform has the advantage of being easily scalable and also very reliable. It also allows the clients to pay for what they use only.
- Clustered hosting: In this package multiple servers hosting the same content for better resource utilization. The advantage of this is it is easily scalable.
- Grid hosting: This package entails a server cluster that acts like a grid and is composed of multiple nodes.
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