Web Hosting – Made Simple
Web pages basically consist of text and images. Generically, the information contained by these files is called content. The look of the web page is called design.
In order to be accessible to online users, all these files must be stored on a web server. You can think of web servers as computers storing the files of tens or hundreds of web sites. These computers are all connected to the Internet through high-speed connection. When you access a web page, your browser connects to the web server that stores that page and downloads it to your computer.
So a web server is a must when you plan to share your web site content with online users via the Internet. There are thousands of web servers in the world, and there are companies that own them. Such a company is called web-hosting provider.
A web-hosting provider can have dozens of web servers hosting thousands of web sites. The web server computers are found usually in large numbers and are all housed in special buildings or sections of buildings called data center. Apart from the high-speed Internet connection, these locations are set up to ensure the optimum operational conditions and security for the web servers. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning) control, fire protection, virus protection, data backup facility, power backup, even autonomy in case of disaster. Another term for the web servers in the data center is a web farm.
To be able to run your site properly you need a space on the web server to store your data and an Internet connection to it. The amount of data available to you on a web server is simply referred as space and is usually quantified in MB. The Internet connection needed so that your web site can be accessed online is referred as bandwidth and is also measured in MB or even GB.
Having the glimpse of the basics, it must be said that different web-hosting providers offer different space and bandwidth. Space and bandwidth are usually the main characteristics of a web-hosting plan.
The terminology associated with web hosting can be quite dazzling: virtual web hosting, dedicated hosting; co-locating hosting, shared hosting reseller hosting.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting or virtual web hosting are two terms for the same thing. Shared web hosting means that on a web server are hosted many web sites that all have a defined quota of HDD space and bandwidth. They all run simultaneously and there can be from hundreds to thousands of web sites on the same web server. Given the high number of web sites should you worry about exceeding the performance of the web server, issue better known as slow server response, meaning that your visitors will have to wait too long for your web pages to load.
That is usually not a real problem when dealing with serious web hosting providers, because the operational parameters of the web servers are monitored and appropriate actions will be taken in order to maintain the level of service contracted.
The greater number of web sites sharing the resources of a web server (HDD space, bandwidth, memory, CPU time), the web hosting provider can afford to offer its services at a lower cost. A minus would be that, even with high level of service, you will have to accept a slower server response time when choosing shared web hosting.