Pros and Cons of Cheap Web Hosting

n today’s world, if you have a business, or sometimes even a career in certain industries, it is imperative to have a presence on the Internet. This great demand by large numbers of people to own a bit of online space, which is accessible 24/7 on the Internet, without the huge costs involved, is what has spawned the advent of web hosting companies.

If you go back to 1991, when the Internet had started becoming user-friendly, with the World Wide Web being established along with web hosting as well as webpages being viewable, it used to be thought that only rich people could afford using these services, since they were mostly used by large business entities and a few people who could afford spending a lot of money for these services.

However, things began changing pretty fast. That is because the Internet, along with the World Wide Web, began evolving and growing at a phenomenal rate. Which, in turn, came about because this was the only means through which people could instantaneously connect to the world. This was what gave the impetus for the hosting of free instant messaging services, email services, as well as websites of companies to be used for business purposes.

With each day, the experts in this field, along with common users, explored its possibilities and went about making things less complex. Hence, right from the management of databases to server space, the World Wide Web has been evolving continuously. With the potential growing each day, more and more companies offering web services began sprouting. This, in turn, gave rise to competition, with each company vying to offer not only the best of services, but also at the cheapest of rates―giving rise to cheap web hosting services. Given below are some of the pros and cons of these services.

Pros

These days, you can get web hosting services which cost less than $5 a month. Although you could be limited somewhat in what you will be able to do, and the kind of services you can expect, in general, the services you are provided are good.
The amount of disk space these affordable companies provide is in the range of 5-75 GB, which is usually more than enough for most people.
Plus, the bandwidth per month provided could be up to 100-600 GB, which is quite good, considering the price.
Also, most of these cheap services are usually offered on UNIX or Windows servers, which is quite adequate for most requirements.
One of the best advantages of cheap web hosting is that new companies and ordinary people can have a website without having to make a large investment. This is one of the main reasons the Internet has become the means through which people connect to do business and exchange ideas.

Cons

However, there are plenty of arguments against cheap web hosting, the foremost being that when a low-cost service provider offers their services at such a cheap rate, they have only two ways by which they can survive in a business that is so competitive: they can either reduce their services or increase their rates later. Hence, before opting for cheap hosting option, one must keep in mind that their main focus is their own survival.
The critics are also of the opinion that at crucial moments, such as a breakdown in the server or an attack by a hacker, the service providers are never available. Plus, the hosting plans provided by them are usually ill conceived and badly designed.
Another disadvantage is that you will have to share server space with other companies. This could jeopardize your company if these companies use mailing lists to send spam. If that is done, the chances are high of every domain that is hosted by the server being blocked by anti-spam software, resulting in your company becoming a victim too.

Hence, before deciding, it is best to take into consideration the above pros and cons, and base it on your actual requirements, although budget constraints may leave you with limited choices. However, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. An efficient, rugged, quality, and result-oriented service has the potential of making all the difference to your business. Therefore, if you require high uptime as well as a web hosting experience that you can depend upon, then it is best to go in for a service provider that is both efficient as well as economical.

How to Build a Web Server

You may want to build your own server for a small business or if you wish to start your own website. To build a web server, you need a computer and the required software. Also, building one will save money to a great extent. It contains pages of your website in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The one you build should be connected to the Internet all the time, so that everybody on the Internet can access your website.

Requirements

The configuration of the computer used for building a web server must match the basic requirements. A random access memory (RAM) of 4GB or more is required. The RAM requirements increase as the number of clients of your website increases. For this, you must always track website visitors. A high speed Internet connection is also one of the basic requirements to keep it connected to the Internet. Along with this, you need to have a permanent IP address. Sometimes, many website owners face the problem of dynamic IP address. If the dynamic IP problem is not solved, the IP address of the website will keep on changing and the Internet user will not be able to connect to your web server. You must buy a permanent IP address from the Internet service provider, which is somewhat costly. The software required to develop and maintain the client-server interaction is called web server software. There are many software applications available, of which, some are specific to a particular operating system.

Instructions

Step I
The first step is to install the software. This software is responsible for finding the requested web page. After installing the software, configure it accordingly so that the search for web pages within the server is easy. When an Internet user types a URL, the software directs the user to the requested page on the Internet.

Step II
The domain name is assigned to the server. This is a convenient way so that it is easier to remember the IP address of the web server. You need to buy the name from a domain name provider and the domain name servers keep a track of the corresponding IP address of the websites. When the Internet user types your name in the web browser, the domain name server makes it easier to find the IP address of the requested website. To build a server, you need to configure the domain name server and the router. The router will transfer the request of the Internet user to the server.

Step III
The web server must be protected with an antivirus software to ensure protection against viruses and worms. If you do not protect it from the virus attacks, you may lose all the data of your website, which at times may be confidential.

The main advantage of owning a web server is to cut down on the charges required for hosting your website. Owning a website can also earn you extra money if you host various other websites. The only thing you need to do is to upgrade your computer to the configuration suitable for the extra load of other websites. For online gamers, building a web server is an interesting option.

An Overview of Web Hosting Technology

Web hosting is a prime service that users can utilize after obtaining either dial-up or broadband Internet access. It lets users broadcast their own information resources to any Internet user, who is interested in accessing them. It makes use of the server/client model for content distribution. A web host will provide its client with the right to access a web server that will push the client’s content to recipients on request. Recipients use web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator to request content from the web, over their own Internet connection.

The websites are stored or hosted on a special computer called a server. It permits Internet users who are connected anywhere to reach a particular site, when they put the host’s domain address in the web browser. The host computers are set up so that when someone types a web address in the browser, the address will follow a route from computer to computer until it reaches the host computer and website. After that, the Internet user will be able to browse throughout the website.

Web hosts provide the technical resources and equipment that are required to offer a customized website to a consumer.

Many small businesses take advantage of web hosts in order to free themselves from preoccupying their scarce human and financial resources on hosting issues. Companies and individuals outsource their web presence to achieve the following objectives: improve own company focus, reduce operating costs, gain access to in-depth expertise, free internal resources for core competencies, and obtain access to world-class capabilities to control IT functions which are difficult to handle. In multiple formats, web hosting is offered to the consumer, based upon his/her requirements. These requirements are dependent on the cost and infrastructure provided.

Types of Web Hosting

Web hosting services are present in all sizes and shapes. It is useful to break down all services into several “classes”, in order to understand the most fundamental differences in pricing and functionality. Each “class” speaks about the needs of a particular type of customer.

1) Shared Hosting
This is the most basic and important of all services. The hosting service providers put several websites on a single powerful machine.

2) Virtual Dedicated Hosting
This is a fairly new web hosting service, which seems to be a bridge between “shared” and “dedicated” hosting. Several websites are hosted on a server, but the number of such sites is small and each one is provided with a dedicated “copy” of the operating system, along with a portion of computer resources. Also, a copy of web server software, in addition to direct “root-level” access is provided to the customer.

3) Dedicated Hosting
A dedicated hosting service is a type, in which the client leases an entire server, which is not shared with anyone else. This type of hosting allocates a website to its own server. This is more flexible because it has full control over the back end of the server, including the choice of OS.

4) Colocated Hosting (Colocation)
Colocation provides ultimate degree of flexibility. This type of hosting consists of buying and installing your own server on the provider’s premises.

5) Managed Hosting
It is accompanied by a full suite of technical support, maintenance, and monitoring services. In managed hosting, customers are provided with their own servers, but are still responsible for virtually all administrative and maintenance duties.

Web Hosting Server Technologies

The different hosting technologies are as follows:

1) Windows Hosting
This is hosting of web services that use Windows operating system. User should choose this type of hosting, if he wants to use Active Server Pages as server scripting, or if he wants to use a database like Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL Server. It is also the best choice if the user wants to develop a website using Microsoft Front Page.

2) Unix Hosting
This is hosting of web services that use UNIX operating system. It was the first reliable and stable web server operating system.

3) Linux Hosting
This means hosting of web services that uses Linux operating system.

4) ASP – Active Server Pages
Microsoft developed Active Server Pages as a server-side scripting technology. With ASP, dynamic web pages can be created by embedding scripting code inside HTML pages. The code is run by the web server, before the page is returned to the browser. Both Visual Basic and JavaScript can be used for ASP code.

5) JSP
This is a server-side technology developed by Sun. With JSP, dynamic web pages can be created by embedding Java code inside HTML pages. The code is run by the web server, before the page is returned to the browser. Since JSP uses Java, the technology is not limited to any server-specific platform.

6) FrontPage
Microsoft developed this software as a website design tool. FrontPage provides users with an easy way to develop a website, without any deep knowledge of web development. Most Windows hosting solutions maintain FrontPage servers for users that use FrontPage to develop their website.

7) PHP
This is a server-side scripting language which allows creating dynamic web pages by embedding script code inside HTML pages. The code is run by the web server before the page is returned to the browser.

8) Cold Fusion
Macromedia developed this software, which is another server-side scripting language used to develop dynamic web pages.

Shared Hosting Vs Dedicated Hosting

The Internet is a platform for every business to make its presence felt. In order to maintain a website, a web service provider needs to be contacted for hosting. You need to make a choice between shared and dedicated hosting. It would be impossible for a company to make this choice in haste, and it needs to consider many things before taking a final call.

What is Shared Hosting?

Also known as virtual hosting, it occurs when you dish out a monthly fee to a third-party service provider in order to use his equipment for your web server. The service provider handles everything ranging from backup and security to setting up the server and managing the bandwidth. The sole task of your company in this scenario will be to develop the content for your website.

In this type, you end up sharing the server where your website is placed, with many other websites. This has various pros and cons, but the biggest disadvantage is the fact that you end up sharing many resources. It is also possible that the traffic on your website would be affected by the traffic on other websites, hosted on the same server.

Features

Sharing the IP Address: Since you are sharing the server with other websites, you will obviously have the same IP address. If these websites happen to be blacklisted for spamming or some other illegal activity, you would also suffer the consequences for the same. To avoid such a scenario, you should choose your web host responsibly.

Greater Response Time : If there are two or more websites on the same server, it goes without saying that the response time for each individual website would be longer. This will make the visitors wait longer and they might not wish to visit your website again.

Server Crashes Often: In many cases, if the server host does not monitor the activities properly, the server will get overloaded and crash. This occurs more frequently in shared hosting vis-a-vis dedicated hosting. Choosing a web host that is reliable and well-known will help you avoid such a situation.

Cost-effective: The most important benefit is the cost factor. Since you are sharing the server with other websites, it is pretty economical. Also the maintenance and monitoring of the server is not your responsibility, so you do not have to divert resources towards it.

Hardware and Security: As with any web based activity, good security is essential. This is handled by the service provider and you need not worry about it. The web host also provides the required hardware, so you do not have to invest any resources there.

What is Dedicated Hosting?

As opposed to shared server hosting, dedicated hosting carries greater efficiency, provides more security, and entails lesser problems. Dedicated web hosting service is mostly used by big corporations and businesses that see a large amount of traffic. It simply means that your web server sits on its own box which is partly managed by the service provider. It is completely opposite to shared hosting, and means that the server is entirely dedicated to your needs and web traffic alone.

Features

Faster Response: Since the server is solely dedicated to your website alone, the response time will be much lesser as there are smaller lines that the visitors have to wait in. This helps to maintain the level of traffic on your website.

No Bandwidth Restrictions: On shared server hosting, each website has a limit of bandwidth and it cannot be crossed. This is not applicable as far as dedicated server hosting is concerned. The entire bandwidth available on the server lies at your disposal.

Greater Control: In this case, you are the boss. Nobody’s activities can harm the functioning of your website. You are free to install any application and you can also carry out script testing as regularly as you want. You’re given much more freedom, as running your website smoothly is entirely your own responsibility in this case.

Higher Cost: Since you are monitoring and regulating the server yourself, the costs incurred by you will be greater. You will have to invest more on hardware and security, and regularly carry out maintenance checks. As a result of all this, the price will go up and due to this very fact, dedicated server hosting is chosen only by big web-based companies, social networking sites, or large corporations.

Greater Security: As compared to shared hosting, you can achieve greater levels of security in dedicated hosting. Again, this stems from the fact that you are in control of the security measures and you can adopt whatever means you find appropriate and necessary. The web host will also provide you with backups in this case.

Final Choice

Now that the difference between shared and dedicated hosting is clear, the question is which is better. The truth of the matter is that you cannot say that one of these methods is better than the other. You can only decide which method is more suitable for your business needs. The size of your company will also help you determine if you should opt for either.