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The different Types of Hosting Services

There are many different types of hosting services. Knowing what type of hosting you need is financially important. Purchasing full web hosting, when all you need is email service could be a costly decision.

DNS Hosting: DNS hosting provides a space and the needed software to hold a DNS record for a domain name and make it available to be found by the internet.

E-mail Hosting: Many people are familiar with the free e-mail services provided through places like Gmail and Yahoo, an e-mail hosting service is similar. Let's face it, if you want to appear professional, you want an E-mail address that has your company name or domain name in it. E-mail hosting services are based on the customer's individual domain name. That means if I can purchase mybusinessname.com then Suzzie in marketing can have an e-mail address suzzie@mybusinessname.com even if I don't have a website.

Game Server Hosting: Game servers require large amounts of bandwidth and processing. Listen Servers can be used on a local area network, (LAN) to allow users connected to that network to game. They are hosted on the same server as the gaming software and they limit the number of people who can make a connection to it.

File / FTP Hosting: File hosting allows clients to store files, software, and have an off site back up system. It allows FTP and downloads of content through web access. File sharing through FTP or web downloads uses large amounts of bandwidth. Hosting of this type can be expensive to purchase, but it is worth the cost. Paying less by using a regular web hosting service, can cost you in other ways. Most web hosting companies have a terms of service, TOS, policy which states that accounts can not store anything on the servers which is not website specific. Stored files and software are often times deleted from servers without warning. Files on a server can be targeted by either size or by extension, (.mp3, .avi etc..). Accounts are limited to a maximum amount of bandwidth. While some hosting companies may promise unlimited bandwidth they still have a maximum daily allowance. An account exceeding this bandwidth is either throttled, (the company will shut down traffic to the account by closing connections or slowing down the transfer rate of data), suspended, or deleted all together.

Remote Site Back Up Hosting:This type of system is specifically just for storage space to ensure that a copy of data is stored off site in the event that something should happen. The biggest disadvantages of this are slow bandwidth, if files are not encrypted there is no guarantee of privacy, and encrypted files could be lost forever if the password is ever lost.

Full-Featured Hosting: This means that the user has greater control and access over their system than most other services. It also means the user is responsible for the technical support of the products they purchase.
Colocation Centre provides a physical location and environment where customers can set up and keep their physical equipment and connect to a network system.
Dedicated Hosting involves a hosting service leasing/renting an entire machine to a single person. The client has control of and is responsible for all software related items on the server, while the hosting company is responsible for the hardware.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) involves accounts being partitioned on a single physical computer. Each account can be independently re-booted and run on it's own operating system. The biggest appeal to these is that the user has shell and root access to their account for installing programs they want to run.

Web Hosting: These type of services usually provide for web page and email services. They may limit the size, number, or types of files clients are allowed to upload. This type of hosting can have all services and features offered on a single server system or on a clustered system. Single server means that everything having to do with the account is held on a single machine. Email, databases and web pages are all on the same computer. In a clustered format, the different parts of a website are held on different computers. The web files are on one server while there is a dedicated email server and a dedicated database server.
Free Hosting (GeoCities, TriPod) is supported by ads, banners or pop-ups. Web site addresses are usually based on account name and hosting company name, (www.user.freewebpage.com or www.freepage.com/user).
Shared Hosting this is the most common system used by individuals and small companies. In this system a single server or cluster has several hundred user accounts that share a single set of resources. It provides for separate user accounts with space for web files, email system, URL based on a domain name, databases, and other such features. The disadvantage is the shared resources and the limit restrictions. A single user can black list the shared server IP address or range of IP addresses owned by the company simply by sending out large numbers of emails. For this reason, most web hosting providers limit the number of emails allowed from a single account. A web site that gets a a high volume of traffic can hog the server's bandwidth causing all the other accounts to load very slowly.
Windows hosting
Hosting can normally be found on either a windows platform or a UNIX/Linux platform. An end user can't usually tell the difference between a windows platform or a *nix platform. It doesn't matter what kind of computer you use to access the web hosting account either. The user interface for both windows or *nix hosting can be almost identical with easy to use graphical icons.
The biggest advantage of the UNIX/Linux platform is that they have a faster and more powerful operating system. Since most versions of the operating system are free distribution, most hosting companies offer hosting on this type of platform at a lower price. The majority of web based programs and applications run very well on this type of platform.
While the windows platforms are usually slightly less stable, they support ASP and other .NET languages. Pages coded in .NET languages, should be on a windows platform in order to perform properly. A windows system takes a longer period of time to make changes to an account. Requests such as adding a new email user to the system must go to a queue to be processed on a windows server. Depending on how busy the server is, this queue time can take anywhere from one minute to one day. Most hosting providers offer smaller disk space at a higher price with less features on windows servers due to the cost of purchasing licenses to run the software. The biggest advantage to a Windows system is the .NET language support and they may have the ability to use Access or MSSQL databases. My advice is, if you don't need .NET support, go with the *nix server rather than windows.
Reseller/Multiple Domain Hosting is where a person or company purchases hosting from a larger company that already has the hardware and software resources, (generally at a bulk discounted price), and then resells these accounts or portions of these accounts to other people.

Application Specific Hosting: There are hundreds of hosting companies that specialize in providing users the ability to create a web page with a single function
Blog Hosting (Xanga, LiveJournal) provides people with an account specifically for writing articles or their thoughts. The webpage set up usually provides for the main article space and a section for corrections, comments, and feedback from the readers.
Image Hosting (photobucket, flickr) provides users with storage space for images and allows hot linking- a link that embeds the image. It uses the bandwidth supplied by the server where the images were uploaded.
Video Hosting (YouTube) provides storage space for videos and allows hot linking- a link that embeds the video. It uses the bandwidth supplied by the server where the video was uploaded.
Wiki Farms provide software, space and bandwidth for hosting a wiki system. Many groups and companies use wiki systems to post information such as company policies and procedures.

Forum Hosting provides a forum. Many gamers who belong to guilds or organizations may need simply a forum where users can log in and post comments.