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Web Host - Types

Corporate web server solutions, personal web sites, and small business e-commerce sites require very different web hosting solutions. A corporation would definitely want a dedicated web server, that is managed 24 hours a day 7 days a week, by a staff of highly trained administrators On the other hand, someone who runs a casual, personal web site may find that a basic free web hosting service is more than enough for them.

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When choosing a web host it is very important that you first consider what your needs are. After you have figured out your needs(after reading the Web Host Guide) you will be able to choose the correct host type. Web host types can be narrowed down into the following categories:

  • Minimal Shared Hosting - Free, very little features
  • Shared Hosting - Most Popular, your web site is located on a server that hosts many other sites.
  • Dedicated Server Hosting U- Unmanaged (little to no customer support), server administration is left to the customer.
  • Dedicated Server Hosting M- Managed (includes customer support), the administration is *usually* taken care of.

Basic Shared Hosting - Free

For those who are new to web design it makes little sense to pay a monthly fee for a hosting service when you barely know how to create a web site. Choosing a free host is a logical solution for someone who would like to experiment with web design, or maybe host a low-traffic personal site. Free hosting often includes a small amount of storage and bandwidth. Features also tend to be limited, often with no support for PHP, MySQL, multiple email addresses, and poor web statistics.

Bottom line: Free hosting is great to practice your web design, or even host a web site for family and friends. However, free hosting is not a plausible solution for the serious web master or business owner.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most popular type of web host on the market. Nearly all small businesses, intermediate to large web sites, and professional web sites require only a fraction of the resources of a complete web server. It would be expensive for these sites to all reside on their own server, which makes shared hosting the perfect choice.

Depending on the specific hosting plan, nearly all of a webserver's features should be available: PHP or ASP, MySQL, multiple email address, and a much greater amount of storage and bandwidth than with a free host. The downside to having a shared host is lessened security, due to 10's to 100's of other clients on your server, and usually total email addresses, databases and domains are not unlimited.

Dedicated Servers - Unmanaged

If shared hosting does not give you enough bandwidth, storage, or the features that you require, a dedicated hosting solution may be the right solution for you. With a dedicated server there are no limits on the number of databases and email aliases you can create. Your bandwidth is much greater, with typical dedicated server plans alotting 500-1000GB of bandwidth per month. If extra storage is needed, simply order a new hard drive for your server. The only downside: you must know a great deal about server administration.

Becoming a skilled server administrator requires a great deal of training and computing know how. If you are low on cash and are willing to learn server administration the hard way, prepare for a difficult journey. However, if your budget is large enough, then managed dedicated hosting may be a better solution.

Dedicated Servers - Managed

You have steep requirements for your web site. Shared hosting doesn't work for you, but you do not know how to set up your own web server, nor do you know how to customize it to your needs. You are going to need a lot of assistance to get your server box up and running and you need support when something goes wrong. The solution for you is a managed dedicated solution provider.

Managed hosting is a very specialized market, with a wide range of prices that depend on how much security, reliability, and the level of support you require. When choosing a managed dedicated server provider we recommend that you either get referred to the provider from a trusted associate or do a few hours of research on the web. Whatever you do, do not rush into a long term contract without knowing a fair amount about the service provider.

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