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What is web hosting?

‘What is web hosting’ isn’t as silly a question as it may sound! For those of us in the web hosting industry or for people who already have a website, you’ve probably got a good idea what web hosting is but for the rest of you, read on!

Wikipedia defines a web hosting service as a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organisations to provide their own website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts (like simplewebhosting.co.uk) are companies that provide space on a server they own for use by their clients (you) as well as providing Internet connectivity typically in a data centre.

The scope of hosting services varies widely. The most basic is web page and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a Web interface. The files are usually delivered to the Web ‘as is’ or with little processing. Personal web site hosting is typically low-cost whereas business web site hosting often has a higher expense. Typically, our Starter Plan web hosting is a great way to get online with the minimum outlay.

Single page hosting is generally sufficient only for personal web pages. A complex site calls for a more comprehensive package that provides database support and application development platforms (e.g. PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, ColdFusion, and ASP.NET). These facilities allow the customers to write or install scripts for applications like forums and content management. For e-commerce, SSL is also highly recommended. Our Commerce web hosting plan includes everything you need to start selling online including a shared SSL certificate.

Web hosts should also provide an interface or control panel for managing the web server and installing scripts as well as other services like e-mail. simplewebhosting.co.uk uses the very popular cPanel software. Some hosts specialise in certain software or services (eg e-commerce). They are commonly used by larger companies to outsource network infrastructure to a hosting company.

Shared web hosting is where one’s website is placed on the same server as many other sites, usually around 300. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. The features available with this type of service can be quite extensive. A shared website may be hosted with a reseller.

Reseller web hosting allows clients to become web hosts themselves. Resellers could function, for individual domains, under any combination of these listed types of hosting depending on who they are affiliated with as a provider. Resellers’ accounts may vary tremendously in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a collocated server. Many resellers provide a nearly identical service to their provider’s shared hosting plan and provide the technical support themselves.

So, if someone asks you “what is web hosting?”, now you know 😉

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