What is web hosting?

A web hosting service is one that allows for the storage of a website, which can then be viewed by others who access it over the Internet. The storage takes place on a computer from the web hosting company. This type of computer is sometimes known as a server. For ease of access, the website is usually attached to a domain name, which allows users to access the site at a simple, standard address, such as http://www.mijiki.com. Sound familiar?

A company that offers web hosting is known as a web host. While there are many web hosting services available online, they are not all the same. In fact, some differ dramatically from others, and are used by different people for different purposes. While an individual making a personal homepage might not need much in the way of web hosting quality or additional features, it's still possible that he may have some particular needs for his planned website. On the other hand, many business or organization websites can require particular features in their web hosting accounts, along with the high quality web hosting that allows their sites to stay online during constant access by many users.

Storage space: This is the amount of disk space that is allowed with the web hosting account. Web pages, images, emails, scripts, and other files are stored here. The amount of space required depends upon the individual site and what it contains.

Bandwidth: This refers to how much data transfer occurs on the hosting account. Whenever someone accesses a website, the files on that page are downloaded from the web hosting server to the individual's computer. For one small page, the bandwidth may not be much, but larger pages, frequently accessed pages, images, and other media files may use up a lot of bandwidth.

Databases: This is a special method of storing information, and can be used for several purposes. A database can receive information from a user, or send information back to a user. It is helpful for making dynamic web pages which change based upon particular information. Websites which frequently use databases include forums, blogs, membership-type sites, and others.

Email: Web hosting users may wish to have an email address at their own domain names. In this case, the web hosting account used should offer email address accounts (or boxes). Many services offer email accounts, although not all do. In some cases, the addresses allowed are claimed to be unlimited, while in others a limit such as 5, 100, or some other amount is imposed.

Scripting: Websites generally use HTML to display their content to the public. However, some sites may require additional script languages in order to function. A few examples of the many scripting options are PHP, CGI, Perl, and ASP.

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