Over the years, I have had a countless number of my customers ask me; “What is Web Hosting”. I would explain it to them, but most of them would have a difficult time grasping the concept, so I thought why not associate it with another industry, that everyone knows about and has similar characteristics. Think of Real Estate. There are different types of Real Estate; homes, condo’s, commercial, etc. So whenever a customer asks me to define Web Hosting, I simply tell them:
“Web hosting providers are a lot like a high-rise apartment building. You pay a monthly fee for space in the apartment building. In web hosting, think of the apartment building as the server, and the packages as apartment units, which you pay a monthly fee for. You’re basically renting out space on the Internet.”
That’s the basic jift of it all, however web hosting can be a bit more complicated, as it has different types of services. I will explain some of the few services offered by web hosting providers, such as shared hosting, reseller hosting, virtual private servers, dedicated servers and colocation hosting, along with the domain name registration.
Shared hosting is basically a web server that has its resources shared by other customers. Or you could say, a home that is shared by different roommates. Normally this is the starting point for most small businesses and e-commerce web sites.
Reseller hosting is a service where an account owner has the opportunity to allocate the resources given to them to resell to their clients. Basically, the account holder, called a “reseller” acts as a middleman and is not responsible for software or hardware installation, they concentrate on providing their customers with a working service.
Virtual Private Server
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It acts similar to a dedicated server. Generally, an account owner has the feeling and function of a dedicated server, however, it’s actually seperating a physical server into serveral independent dedicated servers, each isolated from one another. This will allow you to create and manage multiple web sites and domains and take full control of your VPS with root/administrative access. You share the main servers (which is called a “Node”) resources such as hard disk, RAM/Memory, CPU.
Dedicated hosting refers to when an account holder rents an entire web server from the web hosting provider. The web hosting provider only provides the hardware, initial operating system installation, redundant power and connection to the Internet. The account holder has full control of the server as it isn’t shared with any other customer. In short, a dedicated server is administrated by a single customer, and has to manage the server on their own. The actual server is still owned to the web hosting provider.
Colocation hosting is for very experienced customers, usually corporations, banks, medical centers, etc. A web hosting provider (also called a “Colocation Provider”) provides you with space, power and Internet connectivity. The account holder must provide all Ethernet cables, power cables, servers and switching/routing equipment.
Domain names are essentially alias’ for IP numbers. The Internet is made up of IP (short for “Internet Protocol”) numbers. Domain names were created so that people can remember them. Imagine reading this on a billboard on the Interstate; “Visit us on 11.222.333.444 today”. While you do not need a domain name to host, but in order to personalize/customize to your business, domain names are offered.
I hope that this guide to web hosting for beginners has been a real guide. There is obviously a lot more involved in the world of web hosting, but this is a good start