If you’re starting a business or planning to take an existing one online, you’ll need a website, a domain name and a hosting service. No site can be accessed over the W3 system without being hosted on a server. This hosting service is made up of many different types, some exclusively for e-commerce sites and others for clients to host themselves.

Web hosting is big business and no easy task. Imagine the millions of websites that exist today and where they’re located virtually. This location has to be accessible by millions of internet users every second of every minute, 24 hours a day. Managing such a huge collection of files is time-consuming, needs expertise, manpower and a lot of energy.

The web hosting service you choose will have certain features that may not be available with others. There’s also free and paid hosting with the latter having only a few or no limitations with services.

Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting refers to one web server serving one client’s needs. The client has full control over the server (though he usually does not own it) along with root access for system administration. The upside to dedicated hosting is high speed access and reduced downtime. The downside is that it’s expensive (hosting and server maintenance cost) and only large companies that need plenty of system resources can afford and manage them.

Collocated hosting

Collocated hosting is almost the same as dedicated hosting except that the server is located at a web host’s facilities and is owned by the client. More expensive than dedicated hosting, it’s desired by clients who require very high physical and virtual security and high access speed. Hardware upgrades can also be performed by the client. Any applications and scripts can be installed as ownership doesn’t lie with the web host.

Shared hosting

Shared hosting doesn’t provide such high-end features and benefits like dedicated and collocated services but it’s much more affordable. Here, a number of clients share a web server including its applications and scripts. This sharing, while cheap, reduces access speed and is more prone to downtime. Software installations and updates can’t be installed as freely.

Reseller hosting

Clients who want to become web hosts can do so using reseller hosting services. For example, you’ve purchase hosting space but want to rent it to third parties. This includes bandwidth and hard disk space. Even though you’re a client yourself, you become a web host for others.

Reseller hosting is popular business because it allows original buyers to make money. Even though the third parties aren’t able to avail certain features given to original buyers, some prefer the service for its affordable cost which is cheaper than shared hosting.

Free hosting

Free hosting is free with web hosts generating revenue through ads. As a client, you may not be able to get a domain name and will instead be given a subdomain (www.xxxxxx.com/yourname). The advantage of this service is, of course, that it’s free. Most clients are usually individuals looking to blog or just want to manage a simple website.

Free hosting is not a preferred service as there are many limitations to what a client can do. Upgrades, updates and software installations are not permitted. Downtime is considerably more and bandwidth slow. Still, it’s the only option for some as it manages to fulfill the purpose of hosting a website.