What is Web Hosting?

Table of Contents

Web hosting is an internet hosting service companies provide to clients to power their site and make it available on the net for visitors around the world. 

The web hosting service provider allocates space on a web server for a website to store a site’s files (code, images, etc.) and content. 

Additionally, it provides the owner with the resources to create and maintain their site and serves the files to visitors as they access the site, such as when typing in the domain name.  

What Does Web Hosting Include?

Typically, web hosting requires:

  • One or more servers act as the site’s host(s). Servers may be physical or be a virtual colocation for the server(s), providing physical space, electricity, and an internet connection
  • Domain Name System configuration to define site name(s) and point them to the hosting server(s)
  • A web server running on the host
  • For each server-hosted site:
    • Space on the server(s) to keep the files that constitute the site
    • Site-specific configuration
    • Frequently, a database
    • Software and credentials allowing clients access and enabling them to build, organize, and alter the site
    • Email connectivity for the host and site to email the client

Types of Web Hosting

A server must house all web content such as CSS, HTML, and images to be viewable online. Therefore, every site has some hosting, be it YouTube or a small cooking blog. When buying web hosting, one is renting space on a computer. 

The amount of allocated space depends on the hosting type. The leading hosting types are dedicated, shared, reseller, and VPS. They are distinguished by the technology used for the server, the management level provided, and the additional services offered.

Smaller Web Hosting Services

The most basic is small-scale and web page file hosting, where files are uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a Web interface. These files are typically delivered to the Web “as is” or with minimal processing. Many internet service providers (ISPs) offer this service free to subscribers, or site owners or businesses may obtain free hosting from other providers. 

As opposed to paid hosting, free services may be limited and advertisement-sponsored. This hosting may suit single-page and personal sites but may not suffice business requirements.

Large Hosting Services

Many large companies need to be permanently connected to the web to send files, email, and other sites. For example, a company may use the computer as a host to deliver details of their merchandise and services and facilities for online orders.

A complicated site calls for a more comprehensive hosting package that provides database support and application development platforms (e.g., ColdFusion, ASP.NET,  PHP  Java EE, Ruby on Rails, or Perl/Plack). These services allow customers to install or write scripts for apps like content management and forums. Additionally, sites generally use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to ensure the security of transmitted data. 

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