Web hosting services are companies that provide server space for web sites, email, and other online systems. They house racks of computers of computers and communications equipments in controlled facilities called data centers. Web hosting services have many different product offerings. Some companies provide free, shared, dedicated, collocation, reseller, or clustered services. Others specialize in file, image, or blog hosting. Free web hosting is supported by product advertisements, but limited in capability. Shared web hosting stores a company’s web site on a server that other companies also use. Dedicated web hosting services provide each client with a separate server. The web hosting service can maintain full control, or provide root access to the client’s system administrator. Reseller web hosting allows clients to become web hosts for other businesses. Clustered hosting is data-driven and includes load balancing. File hosting services are designed to host large files that are not web pages. Image hosting services allow user to upload images to a shared web site. Blog hosting services are also available.
Differences in Web Hosting Services
Web hosting services differ in terms of costs and capabilities. Important specifications to consider include scripting software, database server software, operating system (OS), and web content management system. Some web hosting services use a LAMP platform that consists of the Linux operating system, an Apache web server, a MySQL database management system, and the PHP, PERL, or Python programming languages. The Linux OS is an open-source operating system based on UNIX. Apache is a popular, open-source web server that listens to HTTP requests and transmits hypertext markup language via HTML files. MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses structured query language. PHP or hypertext pre-processor is a server-side HTML scripting language that allows users to create dynamic web pages. PERL or practical extraction and reporting language is a server-side programming language locates which uses the common gateway interface (CGI). Python is less popular than PHP or PERL, but is suitable for some web hosting services.