Web Hosting is like renting an office. You can do it yourself out of your garage, or you can pay for better facilities with all the essential plumbing and security features.
For an office this would mean renting at a business centre. For your website this means paying for space on a highly specialized computer server within a dedicated hosting facility. Just like an office directory listing, your website has a physical address that maps the exact location of the website within a hosted server. These physical addresses have their own yellow pages directory which is called Domain Name System (DNS).
The DNS directory is like a GPS (Global Positioning System) for your website, and shows the route between your site’s URL (www address) and the hosted servers location shown by their Internet Protocol (IP) address. The IP address is a unique number that identifies the physical location of a computer in a similar way that a postal code tracks a physical office location.
Types of Web Hosting
Free Hosting: Some ISPs offer free web hosting. Free web hosting is best suited for small sites with low traffic, like personal sites. It is not recommended for high traffic or for real business. Technical support is often limited, and technical options are few. Very often you cannot use your own domain name at a free site. You have to use a name provided by your host like http://www.freesite.com/users/~yoursite.htm. This is hard to type, hard to remember, and not very professional.
Shared (Virtual) Hosting:Shared hosting is very cost effective. With shared hosting, your web site gets its own domain name, and is hosted on a powerful server along with maybe 100 other web sites. Shared solutions often offer multiple software solutions like e-mail, database, and different editing options. Technical support tends to be good.
Dedicated Hosting: With dedicated web hosting, your web site is hosted on a dedicated server. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option. This option is best suited for large web sites with high traffic, and web sites that use special software. You should expect dedicated hosting to be very powerful and secure, with almost unlimited software solutions.
Collocated Hosting: Collocation means “co-location”. Collocated hosting lets you place your own web server on the premises (locations) of a service provider. This is pretty much the same as running your own server in your own office, only that it is located at a place better designed for it. Most likely an ISP will have dedicated resources like high-security against fire and vandalism, regulated backup power, dedicated Internet connections and more.
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