Nowadays, most business, and non-business individuals and companies have an Internet presence. An Internet presence is like giving yourself or your business global exposure.
Having a website in this day and age is of primary importance to any business or individual wanting to reach out to the world at large. To have a website, you primarily need two things: a domain name, and a web hosting service.
A domain name is your name, or your business name, on the Internet. It is the address with which people will find your website. For example, www.buzzle.com is a domain name. This domain name must be purchased from a domain name registrar who is registered with the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
After that is taken care of, there is the data that is shown on your website, like your webpages, images, etc. that needs to be stored somewhere, so that when someone checks your website, they can see the data online. A web hosting company will provide this service by giving space on their servers. This is a web or an Internet hosting service.
Of course, these are the basic concepts of a web hosting service. Most web hosting companies will also incorporate domain registration services within their service profile, and combine both these functions. It has also become customary nowadays to combine this with email hosting services as well, to generate additional functionality for customers.
However, emerging technologies have given rise to several more services which can be effectively combined with these provisions. Let us look at a few of these services.
This is a kind of service where the customer can lease an entire server, which is not shared by anyone else. Thus, the customer has full control over the server, which means he can choose his operating system, install his own software and hardware, and so on.
Some Internet hosting service providers may also include server administration services as an add-on. But larger corporations may choose to take care of their administration needs themselves.
This is a solution which is quite useful for large corporations, who may have a large amount of data on these servers which can be accessed via their website. This also involves taking security measures, such as firewalls, to ensure the security of the data.
Virtual Private Server
This is a kind of server space where a technology known as 'virtualization' allows many servers to run on the same physical server. What happens is that the server is partitioned into multiple servers.
Each of these servers has the capability to run on its own machine and be booted independently. These services are often less costly than dedicated hosting services. Another advantage to customers is that they can install several programs on these servers, and run them on their websites.
A shared hosting service is a service, wherein, several sites can be hosted on the same server. Each site has its own partitioned server space, and all the website owners share the costs of hosting between themselves. This solution is very cost-effective and quite popular with most people on the Internet who want to host simple and small websites.
Free Web Hosting
Who hasn't heard of this service? Almost everyone on the Internet wants to go for anything that is available for free. However, free web hosting services usually provide you with a sub-domain on their website domain, such as www.subdomain.domainname.com, or they may provide a directory on their domain, such as www.domainname.com/yourdirectory.
This is a kind of a data center. The data that is stored on one server can be simultaneously stored on one or many different server(s). This service is provided by a colocation center.
The idea is suitable for websites which run critical services, or for websites which need 24×7 connectivity for their customers. So in case one server fails, the site is managed via another server. Also in case of data loss on one server, the data back-up is immediately available from the other server.
This is one of the services which are considered de rigueur for many website hosting providers. This means that the website owner gets a certain number of email accounts which have his website address in it, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, where a person working with Buzzle.com has his company domain name in his e-mail address.
Depending upon the website hosting service plan one purchases, a certain number of email addresses can be configured and used.
This is another service that has come up in recent years. A blog or a weblog is a software which contains a content management system. These applications are usually available on the Internet to be downloaded and installed on the web servers.
However, nowadays, most web hosting services also provide pre-installed hosting plans for blogs. This means, that the software is already installed on the server and you can choose to activate it, should you choose to put up a blog on your website.
E-commerce and Business Web Hosting
This is a solution package offered by several service providers for companies which carry on their business or sales activities via the Internet. An e-commerce hosting plan may, therefore, include different add-ons, such as shopping cart software, an online payment gateway solution, and, in some cases, even a merchant account online.
Thus, we can see that having a website has now opened up a variety of avenues for companies wanting to expand their business, cut their costs, and increase their global presence, due to the various web hosting services available on the Internet.