Web Hosting is nothing but an internet hosting service that enables organizations, businesses or individuals to make their website visible & accessible via the World Wide Web. A web hosting service provider is the one who provides services such as Storage, RAM, ROM, Processors, Network etc. typically hosted at a Datacenter to the end clients on lease or rent. They also offer colocation services where organization or individual can house their servers on the service providers infrastructure.

Web hosting services gained popularity in late 1993. Until 1991 internet had a limited utility as it was majorly used for research and education purpose only, with very few number of web pages. This was because it was very difficult to host a website on the internet as the companies or individual had to have their own computers or servers to do so. Due to the lack of expertise and budgets, this was not feasible for every individual to do so. This gave birth to Web Hosting services where companies started offering web spaces to individuals and organizations without needing to handle all the related infrastructure to run a website. The Webmaster (owner of the website) was able to create a website and host it on a web hosting service providers infrastructure and published on the world wide web.

Types of Web Hosting

We often get confused as in which type of hosting service is best suited for our business. Here’s a brief guide which will help you opt for the best suitable hosting service viable for different business or individual’s requirements.

Shared Hosting

Shared Hosting is the most economical option for hosting and one of the majorly used hosting services. As the name suggests “Shared” which means the resources such as RAM, ROM, Processors, Storage, Network etc. are shared amongst multiple customers hosted on the same web server connected to the internet. As the resources are shared amongst a large number of customers it is very cost effective as the cost of managing and maintaining the particular server is shared amongst all the customers.

Recommendations: Suitable for Small websites, Individual Blogs, limited resources, requires no technical skills, not recommended for websites or applications with critical databases as security can be a major concern.

Reseller Hosting

“Reseller” as the name suggests is a type of hosting service where an individual or an organization can become an affiliate reseller for any hosting service provider. For e.g. Mark can have an affiliate reseller account with Godaddy where Mark may have a dedicated virtual server to a collocated server at Godaddy’s infrastructure. Reseller accounts have identical services to their provider shared hosting plans and provides technical support themselves to the end clients.

Recommendations: Suitable for Small websites, Individual Blogs, limited resources, requires no technical skills, not recommended for websites or applications with critical databases as security can be a major concern.

Dedicated Server Hosting

“Dedicated” as the name suggests provides a dedicated web server to the user which gives complete control (root access for Linux/Administrative access for Windows) of the server to the user and all its resources are solely dedicated to the user and the user only. However, the server is still owned by the service provider. Dedicated servers come with two options viz managed and unmanaged. Managed servers are completely managed by the service provider and are responsible for all the upgrades, maintenance & security of the server this is a bit expensive as compared to unmanaged servers. while unmanaged servers have to be managed by the clients including its security & maintenance.

Recommendations: Suitable for large organizations websites or applications where security is a major concern and utilizes or requires a considerable amount of resources. Requires technical skills to manage the servers. Operating costs are heavy.

Virtual Dedicated Servers/Virtual Private Servers

In virtual private servers, the server resources are divided into virtual servers, where the resources are allocated in a such a way that it does not affect the underlying hardware. This also come with managed and unmanaged virtual private servers. Similar to dedicated servers the users may have root access to their virtual space. The customer has to maintain and patch their own virtual servers in unmanaged VPS while in managed VPS its managed and maintained by the service provider.

Recommendations: Suitable for large organizations websites or applications where security is a major concern and utilizes or requires a considerable amount of resources. Requires technical skills to manage the servers. Operating costs are heavy.

Managed Hosting

Managed hosting is the type of service where the user is provided with a web server but the client is not given the root access of the server. This is done in order to provide quality service to the client by restricting the client to do any modifications in the server and create configuration problems. However, the server is not owned by the client but leased.

Recommendations: Suitable for small or large organizations. Don’t need any technical knowledge. Operating costs are a bit expensive.

Colocation Hosting

In Colocation the server/servers are owned by the user but due to lack of expertise or in order to reduce the costs and reduce the headache of managing & maintaining the server all by himself the user simply relocates or house his server on the service providers datacenter or infrastructure facility. It is the most expensive form of hosting service as the service provider provides all the required resources such as network, physical space, electricity, cooling, and storage facility for the servers. The client needs his personal administrators to visit the datacenter in order to do any hardware or software upgrades.

Recommendations: Suitable for large organizations who want focus on their core business. Reduce costs incurred due to in-house hosting.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud Hosting is one of the most dynamic forms of hosting services available in the market. It gives a lot of flexibility and reliability as compared to any other hosting. It is a decentralized form of hosting so no form of disaster be it natural or man-made it doesn’t affect your site or applications performance. It is also the most cost-effective form of hosting as the users are only charged for the resources they utilize and not for the one they are allocated. Security is a bit of a concern here as the hosted data is decentralized and the user doesn’t exactly know where this data is located.

Recommendations: Suitable for high traffic websites and applications. No need for any technical knowledge, operating costs are considerable. Suitable for applications requiring special server configuration. Security can be a concern for critical applications.

Clustered Hosting

Clustered hosting is the type of hosting where the same database is hosted on multiple servers for better availability of the database and better resource utilization. So, if another site on the same server gets a significant amount of traffic your site’s performance will not be affected the system automatically reroute the traffic on a lower utilized server.

Recommendations: Suitable for high traffic websites and applications hosting critical and crucial databases. Applications and sites who need their database consistently available all the time. operating costs are considerable.

Grid Hosting

Grid hosting is a form of distributed hosting is when a server cluster acts like a grid and is composed of multiple nodes. Much like clustered hosting, grid hosting makes it less likely that a spike in resource needs will take your site offline.

Recommendations: Suitable for high traffic websites and applications hosting critical and crucial databases. Applications and sites who need their database consistently available all the time. operating costs are considerable.

Along with this, there are also specific types of hosting services available. To name a few

File hosting service: Hosts files, Not web pages
Image hosting service: Hosts Images
Video hosting service: Hosts Videos
Blog hosting service: Hosts Blogs
Paste bin: Hosts Plain Texts
Shopping cart software: Hosts Shopping cart software
E-mail hosting service: Operates email servers.