Web Hosting Guide
Web Hosting Services

Web hosting services come in many shapes and sizes. This article helps define web hosting services, and offers information on the basic web hosting services. Learn what to expect from extended web hosting services and what types of web hosting services are available.

What Are Web Hosting Services?

Web hosting services, also known as web hosts, are companies that make it possible for people to make their websites available on the Internet. Web hosting services may be limited to providing the basic products and services that make websites available, or they may provide other, related products and services to their customers.

Basic Web Hosting Services

Basic web hosting services may provide only shared web hosting, including a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth for website hosting. The most basic type of web hosting is shared hosting, in which a number of accounts share the space and resources on a single server. The amount of disk space may be limited, and/or the service may limit the amount of disk space used by limiting the website to a single page. 

When services are very basic, it may be that the web hosting is free. Free web hosting may be a moneymaker for the web hosting service if the websites are run as subdomains as their domain name, if advertising is placed on customers' web pages, or if the free web hosting is an introduction to customers who purchase more goods and web hosting services or upgrade their accounts.

The limitations in basic web hosting services, besides disk space and bandwidth, as already mentioned, may often include several other things. First, with shared web hosting, it is possible for the overages, resource hogging, or spamming done by another account on the same server as yours may affect your website. Second, there are other applications, tools, and services that may be essential to your site that may not be available except via an upgrade or an additional payment. Third, customer support may only be available for limited hours and through limited means, and security, including backups and server security, may be less than desirable.

Extended Web Hosting Services

Extended web hosting services include higher tiers of service. Beyond the basic shared hosting, there is shared hosting with more storage space, bandwidth, software, customer support options, and other extras, as well as Virtual Private Server (also called Virtual Dedicated Server and abbreviated VPS or VDS) hosting, Dedicated Hosting, Collocation Hosting, and more.

Web hosts also extend their services  beyond the server space, maintenance, backup and security in a variety of ways:

• Web hosts may also be domain name registrars or resellers. Since the use of domain names is so closely tied to web hosting, it's natural to link the two.

• Web hosts may also be website developers. Since many people don't have skills in all areas, and by combining development, hosting, and—perhaps—maintenance, web developers can have a larger business.

For people who want to build websites, not all possible services may be required or needed. So part of choosing a web hosting service is determining what you need now, what you are likely to need, and which web hosting services that meet these requirements also offer a good price and have a good reputation.

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