Business Web Hosting

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Before we get to our regular Monday topic, Web Hosting, here’s a quick roundup of April Fools’ gags from Google, Sony, Twitter, and other companies.

And now, no fooling, back to web hosting. Specifically business web hosting.

business web hosting - business website plus hosting planBusiness Web Hosting Defined

What distinguishes regular web hosting from business web hosting? Sometimes nothing, because the terms are often used synonymously. But there certainly are several requirements for a web hosting service to be called business web hosting.

Business web hosting clearly means that the web hosting service is intended for businesses, probably small to medium-sized businesses (the term enterprise web hosting is often used for the largest businesses).

The number-one distinction for business web hosting would be from various forms of free hosting intended for personal consumer use. EarthLink Internet access, for example, gives dial-up, DSL, cable Internet and other subscribers a small amount of free webspace that we host on our domain (rather than at their own domain name). People typically use these very small, simple sites to share their interests or post something about their family.

Domain Web Hosting

Business web hosting would always be a domain web hosting service, meaning it would support your website at its own domain name (e.g., EarthLink Web Hosting plans support from 5 to 50 domain names depending on the service level, and all plans come with one free domain name. Having your website at its own domain is the main requirement of a business web hosting service. (Take a look back at this post about the best website domain names for SEO, branding and online success.)

Business web hosting often provides domain email service as well, although some web hosting providers outsource this to another email provider. EarthLink Web Hosting plans come with from 100 – 1,000 business-class email accounts, so business employees’ and departments’ communication with customers is a branded experience. (See our previous post about domain email addresses for your business.)

Other business web hosting features may include FTP accounts, database support, support for multiple programming languages, content management tools, and marketing tools (our Business Website Plus plan provides a comprehensive suite of online marketing tools).

Ecommerce Web Hosting

When some people use the term business web hosting, they mean ecommerce web hosting: the hosting of a website with online store capabilities. While ecommerce hosting is always business web hosting, not all business website hosting is ecommerce hosting. Ecommerce hosting is specifically geared towards those businesses that need to provide real-time credit card processing on their website, so customers can buy from an online catalog or store, using an online shopping cart. However, not all businesses, even very large ones, need an online store.

Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting

Other hosting terms related to business web hosting are cloud hosting and dedicated web hosting or dedicated server hosting.

Cloud hosting means building and hosting a virtual server in the cloud (at the cloud hosting provider) that is dedicated to one company (for that reason it is also called cloud server hosting). Cloud hosting isn’t always used for web hosting; often the cloud servers are used for application hosting or other IT needs. Cloud hosting for websites offers businesses a greater amount of performance, scalability and security, since the business website is on its own virtual server.

Dedicated server hosting is when you lease an entire physical server from a service provider such as EarthLink Business. When the dedicated server is used for a website it is called dedicated web hosting. Dedicated web hosting offers an even greater degree of control, reliability and security since you have control over an entire server housed and monitored by the hosting company.

If you have basic business web hosting or ecommerce web hosting needs, EarthLink Web Hosting offers six of the best web hosting plans. For very high-traffic sites or complex web hosting or security requirements, you should probably give EarthLink Business a call at 1-855-873-1393 to ask about Cloud Hosting or Dedicated Server Hosting.


Web Hosting – 5 Popular Types of Hosting Explained

Web hosting - different types of web hosting defined and explainedBefore we get to all the different types of web hosting, let’s first answer the What is Web hosting question.

At its most basic, Web hosting is a service provided by a web hosting provider or web host, such as EarthLink Web Hosting, to store your website (HTML, images, and all other related files) on the host’s servers and make it available on the web. Beyond that, the scope of webhosting services can differ greatly from one provider to another.

Here are 5 common types of web hosting:

  1. Free web hosting: EarthLink offers our dial-up, cable Internet, DSL Internet, and other Internet access members a small amount (10MB) of free web hosting space. It’s enough space to use for a small, personal website, but not a business website. It also comes without all the additional website marketing and other hosting features that are included with other EarthLink Web Hosting services. Free web sites are available at rather than your own domain name.
  2. Shared web hosting services: Shared web hosting is the most common type of commercial website hosting service, because it’s typically the least expensive kind of hosting that can offer all the features needed by businesses. With a shared hosting service, many customer websites are hosted on the same server at the hosting company. Unless a provider explicitly says a hosting service is dedicated hosting or some other type of hosting, the service is probably shared hosting (shared web hosting is also sometimes referred to as standard web hosting). The do-it-yourself web and ecommerce hosting plans and professional website design and hosting services offered on the website are shared hosting services. These are full-service plans offering domain names, business-class email, online marketing tools, and other popular web hosting features.
  3. Ecommerce web hosting:  Ecommerce web hosting is any form of web hosting (shared, dedicated, etc.) that allows the hosted website to offer secure online purchasing (with SSL encryption), usually via a shopping cart, and accept credit card transactions. EarthLink Web Hosting offers ecommerce hosting plans in both the build your own website and professional website design categories.
  4. Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting offers remote virtual servers as a service. Cloud servers can be used for web hosting or other IT computing needs. Cloud hosting customers share a physical server at the cloud hosting company, but the physical server is divided up into virtual servers that are unique to each customer and are completely separate from each other. Each cloud web hosting customer would also have a unique IP address (not true with regular shared web hosting). Cloud hosting offers greater performance and much more control than shared hosting but is not as expensive as dedicated hosting. Cloud hosting can also be more reliable because cloud infrastructures include failover. This means that if the server your website is hosted on ever fails or encounters other problems, it can be almost instantly restarted on a different server. EarthLink offers cloud hosting services through our EarthLink Cloud division.
  5. Dedicated web hosting: As the name implies, with dedicated web hosting a whole server is dedicated to one customer and is not shared in any way. A dedicated server is important for websites with extremely high traffic volumes and for business websites that demand increased server performance, the highest levels of security, and full control. EarthLink offers dedicated server hosting through our EarthLink Cloud division.

We hope that answers your questions. If there’s something you wanted to know that we left out, please leave your question below in the comments area. Thanks!