Web Hosting Overview
A Web Hosting company owns, operates, and maintains powerful computers (servers) containing hardware and software specifically built and configured to host websites. These computers are usually located within a special building or facility (datacenter). Datacenters are designed with many requirements, some of which are:
- The ability to handle the large cooling requirements for thousands of servers.
- Extremely fast data connections to the Internet (many times faster than the typical home DSL or Cable data connection).
- Security to prevent unauthorized physical access to web hosting servers.
Web Hosting Tiers
Web hosting is usually split into three tiers: Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) or Semi-Dedicated, and Dedicated Servers
Shared Hosting is the lowest hosting tier and is usually recommended for many small businesses and individuals. Shared hosting receives it name from the fact that shared hosting accounts share the resources (processing, memory, storage) of their server. A shared hosting server may have hundreds or even thousands of accounts sharing its resources. Shared hosting can suffer from overselling - a condition where too many websites are competing for not enough server resources. Shared hosting may cost around $5 per month depending on the resources provided.
Virtual Private Servers
A virtual private server is a step above shared hosting because a web hosting server usually contains less VPS accounts compared to a shared web hosting server. Also, VPS accounts guarantee availability of a limited set or processing, memory, and storage resources. Finally, many VPS providers allow their clients more control and administration of VPS accounts through control panels and shell access. A good starting VPS package usually averages $45 per month.
All the resources on a dedicated server are under the control of the dedicated server's owner and the server's owner has complete control to allocate or manage the server. Cheap dedicated servers may be purchased for the price of a starting VPS but may not perform up to par as a similarly-priced VPS. A true dedicated server will cost around $200 per month.