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What Is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a service provided by big companies to host the web site, the hosted site is accessible one the internet. In fact they provide online systems for storing information, images, video, or any content to the users. The content is then become accessible on the internet. The companies providing the space on the internet is called Web Hosts or Web Hosting companies. Web Hosts usually installs many computer in the data centers powered by UPS backups. These computers are connected to the high speed internet by fiber optics connectivity.

Different Level of Web Hosting 
There are three level of hosting 

  • Shared Hosting (Virtual Hosting)
    Servers are expensive so hosting service provider shares the sever space to host many sites on the same machine. So the one server servers many web sites. Usually on one server 1,000 web sites can be hosted. This makes web hosting affordable because you pay a portion of the server fee instead of the entire server. Over 95% of websites of the internet are hosted on shared hosting environment.
     
    Shared hosting is an economical, flexible Web solution for both individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses looking to establish an online presence through static, personal and "test" Web sites.
     
  • Dedicated Server
    If you planning to host big application on the internet in that case you need a full server for running the application. In this case you are using the Dedicated Sever (server dedicated to your web site only).
      
  • Server Co-Location
    In some cases you can buy your own sever and setup the applications according to your requirement and place the your server on some ISP with high speed internet connection. This is called Co-Location hosting.


Which is better - Linux or Windows?

We are often asked which hosting platform one should choose: Linux or Windows. Below, we've listed the major differences between the two that you should consider in making your decision. In the process, we have also tried to dispel any common misconceptions regarding these platforms. Generally, we recommend  to use Linux, unless they need specific features/applications only available on the Windows platform.


Reliability
The general consensus is that Linux is more reliable and our experience also shows this. We have had servers up for over one year without any downtime. Microsoft's Windows 2000 is much more stable and reliable than previous versions, but there are still cases where a server will require a reboot to resolve an issue.


Functionality
This is where these two platforms differ the most. There isn't much that can be achieved using one platform that can't be done on the other one. The main difference are the underlying technologies. For example, if you need a database driven web site, you can choose either PHP/MySQL combination under Linux or ASP/MS SQL combination under Windows®2000.

Security
Out of the box, neither Linux or Windows is very secure for Internet use. So some modification is required to make it secure.

Price
Linux holds an edge due to the fact that the most of the software we use is open source (free) and that it's easier to maintain Linux servers than Windows servers for the same level of reliability and performance. On Linux apache web server is nearly bullet proof and it is very stable and gives high performance.

Hosting Choice
When it comes to Web hosting, Linux has, for some time, been widely considered the best OS for Web servers. It's typically found to be the most reliable, stable and efficient system and, as such, it's commonly used for the demanding environment of Web and mail servers. If you use PHP, Perl or MySQL, Linux is the way forward. If apps are Microsoft-specific, then Windows is what you need. But the fact that over 75 per cent of all sites are hosted on a Unix platform tells you something.

Speed
There is no difference in terms of speed between the two platforms.

File Types
Almost all the file types are supported on Linux web server. Commonly, the following extensions are supported:
.cgi, .html, .htm, .pl, .php, .shtml, .asp (requires additional plug-in), .xml, and others. Basically it means that you can host web sites that use different types of server side scripts including .cgi, .pl, .php, and .asp (with plug-in).

Easy to move to other Hosts
A web site designed to be hosted on a Linux based web server can be hosted on a Windows web server easily, where as the reverse is not always true. This provides flexibility in changing hosts as required.

Scalability
Usually, a web site starts with a few pages of html and grows over a period of time to suit the customers requirements. It is preferable to design a web site keeping this requirements in mind. A web site designed for compatibility with a Linux/Unix based web server meets the scalability requirement easily without making any site wide design changes.

Features you should consider while choosing the Web Hosting Companies: 

  • Select the Hosting plan having SSL support. 

  • Your plan should have the support for  shell (telnet or SSH) access to your account and the FTP access. 

  • You should have access to raw logs and stats for figuring, this will help in understanding the statistics of your visitors 

  • Your plan should have the support for streaming media support 

  • Select the hosting plan having static IP

  • You plan should allow you to create sub-domains

  • Control panel should be there for managing the account

  • You should select the plan with anonymous FTP support

  • Your company should provide the 99.99 percent guaranteed uptime 

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Posted on: April 18, 2011

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