What is hosting?

How to choose an ideal hosting

Hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to put their own content on the Internet. When it comes to hosting, it actually means Internet hosting, and even more often - web hosting. The concept of Internet hosting comes from the English word hosting (host). There are many different options, levels and types of this service, as well as the provisions of services.

Read: What is VDS / VPS?

In other words, if you have any content that you want to post on the Internet, freely manage it at your will and give other people access to it, you need to use a hosting service of one type or another.

Most often, hosting is provided as a service by a hosting provider. In this case, it is a matter of the fact that the provider places your files on his servers and gives this or that type of access to them from the Internet. The most common type of access is a web page with your content and desired functionality. It can also be file storage, mail service, DNS service, etc.

The main types of hosting

Hosting can be full-featured or have limited functionality. The latter includes the following main types:

  • File hosting - the service of providing file storage, in which the provider allocates you a space to store information in the form of files, ensures their security, remote access, etc.
  • Mail hosting - a service that ensures the operation of a private mail system, which is devoid of banner ads, has some protection against spam mailings, has one or more domain names of its own, and operates using the most common mail transfer protocols (SMTP, IMAP, POP3)
  • DNS hosting - hosting service providing a system for storing domain name records
  • Wiki hosting - hosting that provides servers with tools for creating and managing your own independent wiki pages
  • Game hosting - the provision of various types of servers to connect users to play multiplayer online games

Full-featured hosting types include web hosting - a service that allows individuals and organizations to create and host their own websites on the Internet.

Types of web hosting

Free hosting. This type of hosting is provided by different hosting providers for free and has very limited functionality. In addition, in most cases, on sites hosted on free servers there is an advertising (ad banners) that can not be disabled and an adequate level of security is not provided

Shared hosting. Virtual hosting is based on the principle of storing multiple client websites on a single server of a provider; some minimal set of options is also provided. Thus, provider allocates for you certain amount of disk space, limited amount of RAM and some control panel of your site. All user sites are running on common web server software, configured and maintained by provider. This site hosting is widely used for small and simple web projects that do not require powerful resources to operate (static personal websites for example).

Virtual dedicated server. The principle of operation of a virtual dedicated server is based on the fact that the hosting provider allocates you with capacity on his physical server for running of your own separate virtual server with a specific operating system that you use and administer by your own. You can use the virtual server as you like and install various services, applications, and other add-ons on it within the framework of what the allocated physical hardware resource and operating system allows.

Dedicated server. This type of hosting provides you with separate physical server. You have complete control over the server, choose the operating system and other software for it yourself, administer it, the provider ensures uninterrupted power supply to the server, its physical integrity and security, constant access to the Internet.

Equipment co-location - it is a hosting, at which you are provided with a place for your equipment, usually in the data center of the provider. Equipment may consist of one or more servers, routers, hubs, etc. In fact, you rent a part of this data center, place your equipment there, or rent it from the provider and administer it at the software and physical levels. The provider ensures the physical safety of the equipment, access to it for technical maintenance, uninterrupted operation of power supply and access to the Internet.

Cloud hosting. This type of hosting is based on cluster resource utilization and cloud computing (Infrastructure as a Service model, IaaS - infrastructure as a service). Cluster use of resources is based on the use of several ISP computers at once for the deployment of a project. In other words, you are provided with all the necessary computing resources for performing your specific tasks, and the payment is made according to the actually consumed capacities.

There are also hybrid models of hosting, mixing in themselves the properties of the above types of hosting.

How to choose a hosting provider and type of hosting?

Hosting is considered as good if during daily work there is no difference between the use of the provider’s resources and your own resources. In other words, hosting itself should not be “noticeable” when working.

There are a number of factors that should be considered when choosing a hosting provider:

  • Technical capabilities of the provider. Having decided on your requests for technical resources, you need to evaluate the ability of the provider not only to provide them at the moment, but also to provide upgrades as your needs increase.
  • Tariff plan. The provider must provide you with a reasonable tariff plan and the necessary amendments.
  • Technical support. The operation of technical support in 24/7 mode, as well as the existence of real emergency continuous communication line with the operator - an important point when working with a hosting provider.
  • Backup. Providers providing backup and data recovery in case of an accident will provide you with the most reliable operation of your project.
  • Provider’s Internet backbone quality. This factor is most important when implementing large scale solutions and large web portals.
  • Uptime. This parameter indicates the percentage of time during which the website hosted by the provider was continuously available. Despite the availability of services that measure this parameter, you can get its real value only by actually operating your website with the provider or via information from other clients of this provider

Which type of hosting is right for you is an individual issue and is usually solved by formulating your tasks with the provider and getting information from him about how he can solve them. However, in order to most clearly understand the compliance of the main types of hosting with your needs, let's draw an analogy of hosting with a pool.

Imagine that the process of choosing a hosting provider by you is similar to the choice of a swimming pool for training. Ordering free hosting, you get something similar to the city beach - crowds of people, advertisements, you will be offered to buy ice cream and you most likely will injure your feet with a piece of broken glass on a poorly-decorated beach.

Shared hosting provides you with a large and clean paid pool that you have to share with limited amount of other people. This means that if you are lucky and there are few people, you will be able to use the whole pool, if not, you will have to limit yourself to part of it and try not to bump into anyone, swimming at the speed that the neighbors allow

Virtual dedicated server gives you a dedicated track in a good clean pool, which is only yours, and you do not share it with anyone. However, you are limited by the rules of the pool, the quality of the water and still share the same volume of water with other people.

If you are sure that water quality and other factors are provided by the provider at the highest level, then a dedicated path is ideal for you. The best hosting of virtual servers for medium-sized projects, subject to guarantees of reliability and high quality of the services provided, is VPS / VDS hosting.

Dedicated server is similar to renting the whole pool. Taking possession of the pool, you get more freedom to use it, but also get more responsibility for its support and maintenance.

Equipment colocation (hosting your own hardware) tantamount to renting a sports complex, and cloud hosting partial rental of certain premises and equipment in different buildings of the sports complex

Since the choice of hosting often fluctuates between the three most common types of hosting, we give an approximate comparison of the main parameters in the table.

Type of hosting Cost Power Difficulty Security Client Rights
VDS / VPS************

As the table shows , the most advantageous combination of "price / quality" refers to VPS / VDS hosting, in addition, it is not so difficult to manage this type of hosting, since the provider solves many problems in ensuring quality work.