Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Web Hosting - Types

One of the biggest decisions in starting a new website is choosing the type of hosting that the site will require. Cheap or free web hosts may not provide the resources and functionality required to build a successful online business, but newer and smaller websites using the most expensive of dedicated private servers are probably spending more than they need to and risking a loss of profitability that could be used to upgrade later.

Free Website Hosting

For those who want to start an online presence without taking a risk, many hosts offer some form of free website hosting package. Popular blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress allow users to build interactive websites with just a few clicks and personalization options. The obvious advantage of these hosts is that anyone can use them at no cost, and usually they include some way for publishers to build websites right from their internet browser.
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Unfortunately, free website hosting services come with a lot of restrictions or are supported by ad revenue that doesn’t go to the site’s creator. Common restrictions include not allowing any commercial purpose on the free website, lack of backup or reduced storage capacity, and the general inability to access all of the server’s file in order to customize or install new types of website software. Simplicity becomes a possible liability as one learns more about building successful websites and customizing code or visual design.

Shared Website Hosting

Shared hosting is a popular solution for new webmasters who want to keep costs low but build up a significant and independent website. Shared hosts store multiple user accounts on a single server machine and the resources of the server are made available to each site as needed. Most shared hosts allow unlimited domains on a single account, provide full file access, and even include scripts for quickly installing various types of software. A single account could serve a blog from one domain, a forum from another, and a static website from a third.

The downside is that shared hosting accounts are limited in the amount of bandwidth, storage, or server CPU processes they can use up in a given time frame. If the host sells too many accounts with too little server space, or if a neighbor on the same machine runs non-optimized code, there is a possibility of slow and sluggish performance. Not all shared hosting services are of the same level of quality, so make sure to do some research and read some reviews before settling on a provider!

Virtual Private Servers

Virtual private servers operate on a model that is similar to shared servers. The main difference is that these accounts cost a bit more and significantly fewer accounts are assigned to each server machine. Some hosting companies will even let webmasters upgrade from shared to virtual private servers when their account begins to use more resources. This can save a lot of stress by avoiding a complicated transfer process!

Each program varies from company to company in terms of resource usage per account, uptime, and usability – so reputation for quality and reliability is important when deciding on a plan.

Dedicated Hosting Servers

A dedicated hosting account is like renting a computer, hiring someone to keep it running at top performance for you, and paying to keep it connected to the internet. As you can imagine, this gets pretty expensive! The good news is that by the time a website is busy enough to need a dedicated hosting server, it probably also has the revenue required to pay for that hosting.

When deciding which type of website hosting you want to use, take in to account your website’s current traffic rather than your traffic goals. Idle resources on a hosting account can quickly eat into your site’s profitability, while most sites can more than pay for the hosting they actually need to function well. Websites that are media intensive and stream audio or video feeds tend to require more resources and often require higher-end hosting plans, so these simply end up costing more to operate per visitor. Keep this in mind when deciding what the website’s business model is going to be.

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