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 http://home.earthlink.net/~username 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 earthlink.net 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!

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