Website hosting is the business of providing the services needed to maintain websites. These services include both software and hardware. Website hosting companies supply space on their servers which is needed for the public to access websites.

Website hosts provide space on a server for use by clients

Your website needs to be "hosted" on a computer which has a constant, reliable internet connection. The company which provides this service is the website hosting company. This website hosting company houses all the content of your website on their web server.

This content includes text, images, sounds, videos, animations, links to other websites, links to other pages on your website, and anything else that may reside on your site.

Website hosting is, in essence, a service offered that allows your website, through your domain name, to be accessed by internet users anywhere in the world.

The scope of a website hosting company may vary greatly

Most website hosting companies offer other services besides just hosting your site on their web server. Almost all of them are also domain name registrars. A domain name registrar is a company that can register your domain name. You can register your domain name on one and host your website on another, or you can do both at the same company. Many website hosting companies will register your domain name free if you host your site with them.

Types of website hosting:

       →   Free - With this option you usually only get limited services and they typically
                        require you to have their advertisements on your site.
       →   Shared - With shared hosting, your site is on the same server as many other sites.
                        There are normally hundreds or sometimes thousands of other websites
                        sharing the same server with you.
       →   Dedicated - By using dedicated hosting, the user gets his own web server and has complete
                        control over it. You get administrator access for Windows and root access for Linux.
       →   Managed - Managed hosting is like dedicated hosting but without the root or
                        administrative access.
       →   Cloud - Cloud hosting is basically dedicated hosting but utilizes multiple servers.
                        If a server has a hardware or a software failure, or a power outage,
                        then another server takes over.
       →   Clustered - Similar to cloud but each of the servers houses all of your data.
                        This keeps resources readily available if, say, there are tens of thousands
                        of users accessing your database at once.
       →   Home - Your own personal computer at your own residence. It's really cheap
                       (free, except for the electricity) but it has many complicationsthat go along with it.

Deciding on a Website Hosting Company

As a customer looking for a website hosting company, there are a number of things to be considered. Although free hosting is very attractive, remember, they'll more than likely put a giant advertising banner across the top of each of your web pages. Also, your downtime will be a lot more than you may think. Moreover, you can forget about customer service and reliability.

You, the customer, will have to figure out exactly what you require in a host. Do you need a database, email addresses, streaming media, a shopping cart, a blog. Uptime - how much downtime are you willing to sacrifice? Scripting - will you require PHP, Perl, Python, ASP, MySQL, etc.

In order to assist you in your quest for a host we have developed The Host Hunter Power Search. Our Power Search allows you to simultaneously compare any need you may have in your pursuit of a website hosting company.