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What is web hosting?

Your website is built, saved and connected to the internet from a server, a sophisticated disc drive typically housed in high security, large scale Databank.

Smaller hosting services

Free web hosting services are offered by companies like Weebly and Wix etc. They come with limited services, sometimes supported by advertisements, and understandably restrictive when compared to paid hosting. This kind of hosting is fine for personal web pages but not not really viable in the long term for any serious business or venture.

Larger hosting services

Businesses need to be permanently connected to the web to send email, files, etc. to other sites. A complex site calls for a more comprehensive package that provides database support and application development platforms (e.g. ASP.NET, ColdFusion, Java EE, Perl/Plack, PHP or Ruby on Rails). These facilities allow customers to write or install scripts for applications like forums and content management systens (CMS such as WordPress). Also, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is typically used for websites that need to keep the data transmitted more secure (online payments, passwords, confidential details etc).

Shared web hosting

shared web hosting places your website on a server with other sites, ranging from a few to hundreds of websites. Because of the numbers involved Shared Hosting is typically what is offered at the cheaper end of the market. All the domains will share resources such as RAM and the CPU chips. This type of service is usually quite basic and not very flexible in terms of software and updates. Shared Hosting can also suffer from sluggish performance at peak use times with limited resources being shared among so many websites on the same server.

Reseller web hosting

This allows businesses (typically web design agencies) to provide web hosting themselves. Reseller accounts may vary tremendously in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a colocated server. Many resellers provide a nearly identical service to their provider’s and utilize their technical support.

Virtual Dedicated Server

This is also known as a Virtual Private Server (VPS). It splits server resources into virtual servers, where resources can be allocated in a highly flexible way not dependent upon the underlying hardware. VPS will often be allocated resources between several servers to allow for greater flexibility, efficiency and speed. VPS can be either managed or unmanaged

Dedicated hosting service

Here the user gets their own Web server and has full control over it (user has root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, the user typically does not own the server. One type of dedicated hosting is self-managed or unmanaged. This is usually the least expensive for dedicated plans. The user has full administrative access to the server, but this also means the client is responsible for the security and maintenance of their server.

Managed Dedicated hosting

The user gets their own Web server but is not allowed full control over it (user is denied root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is not allowed full control so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.

Cloud hosting

This a relatively new type of hosting that allows customers powerful, scalable and reliable hosting based on clustered load-balanced servers and utility billing. A cloud hosted website may be more reliable than alternatives since other computers in the cloud can compensate if a single piece of hardware goes down. Also, local power disruptions or even natural disasters are less problematic for cloud hosted sites, as cloud hosting is not centralized. Cloud hosting also allows providers to charge users only for resources consumed, rather than a flat fee for the amount the user expects they will use, or a fixed cost upfront hardware investment.

Artworks Unlimited Hosting

We use a combination of Reseller, VPS and Cloud technologies in a Managed setup that provides the very best of all server worlds at an affordable rate. The jump to a dedicated server is quite a major outlay for many small businesses so this intermediary combination is an ideal solution.
We lease our servers from United Hosting, one of the best Databank operators in the world. We have been with them since 2015 and never felt the need or desire to move anywhere else. For us rock solid reliability and 24/7 support are the two most crucial aspects of our hosting and UH provide both better than any other provider we know of.

Reliability and uptime

The availability of a website is measured by the percentage of a year in which the website is publicly accessible and reachable via the Internet. This is different from measuring the uptime of a system. Uptime refers to the system itself being online. Uptime does not take into account being able to reach it as in the event of a network outage. A hosting provider’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) may include a certain amount of scheduled downtime per year in order to perform maintenance on the systems. This scheduled downtime is often excluded from the SLA time frame, and needs to be subtracted from the Total Time when availability is calculated. Depending on the wording of an SLA, if the availability of a system drops below that in the signed SLA, a hosting provider often will provide a partial refund for time lost. How downtime is determined changes from provider to provider, therefore reading the SLA is imperative. Not all providers release uptime statistics. Most hosting providers will guarantee at least 99.9% uptime which will allow for 43m of downtime per month, or 8h 45m of downtime per year.

Choosing hosting

Customers need to understand and plan for the requirements of their website now and in the future when choosing what kind of hosting to use. Considerations include database server software, scripting software, and operating system. Most hosting providers provide Linux  web hosting which offers a wide range of software. A typical configuration for a Linux server is the LAMP platform: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python. The web hosting client may want to have other services, such as email for their business domain, databases or multimedia services.

A customer may also choose Windows as the hosting platform. The customer still can choose from Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby but may also use ASP .Net or Classic ASP. Web hosting packages often include a Web Content Management System, so the end-user does not have to worry about the more technical aspects.

Security

Because a web host handles websites for its customers, online security is a major concern. When a customer agrees to use a web hosting service, they are relinquishing control of the security of their site to the hosting company. The level of security that is offered is extremely important to a customer and should be a major consideration when choosing a host.

Hosting servers can be attacked in different ways, including uploading malware or malicious code onto a hosted website. These attacks may be done for different reasons, including stealing credit card data, launching a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) or spamming. it is vital that these attacks are anticipated, protected against and in the event of any real attack, halted in its tracks. As a final safeguard it is vital that all servers are regularly and reliably backed up. Artworks, via United Hosting take backups 4 times daily as well as individual site backups locally.

Do you have any questions about hosting? Call Paul on 07788 931 511

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