Website hosting generally means storing information pages at a remote location (servers) from where people can access those pages over the internet. There are plenty of website hosting options and plans available in the market today. Many website hosting plans are offered free of cost and have sponsored advertisements on the hosted web pages. Such plans can be used hosting a personal website or a single page. Businesses and organizations of all sizes usually use enterprise level premium fee based web hosting plans. A typical website hosting cycle would involve the following steps:
- Creating required web pages on the local machine.
- Depending on the platform and programming language in which the pages are created, web space is acquired. For e.g. if the pages are in ASP then Windows based server should be taken, or if the pages are in JSP/PHP, Linux based server must be obtained. However, if the website comprises simple HTML pages then any type of web server would suffice.
- If the requirement of the website demands user interaction and/or some data to be stored then adequate database space should be procured.
- The amount of web hosting space that will be required to host your web pages needs to be determined. Also, it needs to be considered that the web site might grow in future and so adequate arrangements for additional web space need to be made in advance.
- After the DNS of the server location is pointed to the domain name, the locally developed web pages and other relevant files can be transferred to the remote server location using FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
Let us now look at different types of web hosting services.
- Dedicated web hosting – entire web server is owned by a single user and is provided complete rights over it.
- Shared web hosting – many users use the same web server and share the server resources.
- Reseller web hosting – the users can themselves act as web server owners and allow other users to host websites on their own space.
- Managed web hosting – the user owns the web server entirely, however, is given only limited access to resources and configurations.
- Clustered web hosting – same content is hosted on different servers. This aids in effective use of the resources.
Apart from website hosting services, there are many specialized services that cater to file hosting, blog hosting, image hosting, and many others.