Thursday, 20 September 2018
 
 
A Guide To Virtual Web Hosting PDF Print E-mail
What is virtual web hosting? When you visit a website, what you are looking at on your web browser is simply a web page that has been downloaded from the virtual web server onto your web browser. A website is usually made up of many web pages. These web pages are made up of texts and graphic images. All of these web pages must be stored on the virtual web servers so that users who are online can visit your website.

If you are planning to own a new website, you will need to host it on a virtual web server. When your website gets placed on the virtual web server, then online users can browse your website on the Internet. Companies that provide the web servers that will host your website are called virtual web hosting providers.

A well-established virtual web hosting provider can easily host up to thousands of websites. Therefore, a virtual web hosting company needs many web servers or computers to store the websites. All of these web servers are linked to the Internet through high speed Internet connection and housed in a data center. There must be a guarantee that all of the web servers are safe, secure and are fully operational at all times. Therefore, a data center is a physically secure 24/7 environment with fire protection, redundant power backup, computer data backup, virus detections, and complete disaster recovery capabilities.


There are four main kinds of virtual web hosting companies available each having different characteristics. They can be organized into the following categories:

1. Shared hosting

In this type of virtual hosting, many websites are sharing space on the same web servers. Depending on what kind of virtual web host it is, a physical web server can host up to a thousand different websites at one time. Since the physical web server is shared by many websites, the virtual web hosting provider can afford to offer low hosing prices. Websites on this shared virtual hosting plan would have to be satisfied to accept slower server response time. These plans normally start at $5 - $20 a month.

2. Dedicated hosting

Dedicated virtual web hosting assigns a certain web server to be used by a single customer. Since a dedicated virtual web server is allocated to only one customer, he/she has the option to host either single or multiple websites, handle greater site traffic, modify the software configuration, and scale the bandwidth if necessary. Dedicated virtual hosting is quite a bit more expensive and starts at $50 a month and can easily range from $200 - $500 a month. This is often used by high traffic and very important websites.

3. Co-location hosting

With virtual dedicated hosting, the web server belongs to the providers and customers only rent the web server. However, in co-location hosting, the client owns the web server hardware. The customer has full control, therefore, over their web server and benefits from the 24/7 server monitoring and maintenance that is provided by the secure data center. Co-location virtual hosting can range from $500 - $1000 a month depending on the rack space that is required and the monthly bandwidth.

4. Reseller hosting

In virtual reseller hosting, a web hosting provider will offer web server storage to a third party at a discount price. The third party then resells the web server storage to their clients. Resellers are usually web consultants who include web developers, web designers, or a system integration company who resells the web hosting as an add-on service to augment their other range of services.

 
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1and1 Hosting - Raising the bar
First, I have to admit. I'm a terrible customer. I'm a demanding perfectionist who rarely feels that he is getting his money's worth. This is especially true of hosting providers. In the past four years, I've had to change providers at least six times because I felt that I was not getting what I paid for. This brief commentary is somewhat of a treat for me as I finally get to say something good about a hosting provider!

A little over two years ago I was reading up on the latest technologies in one of my favorite publications, eWeek, when I ran across a nice, full-page ad from 1and1 offering an introductory offer of free hosting for three years. Wait! What! No way! This has got to be too good to be true! Off to the trusty computer I go...

Sure enough, it was the real deal. 1and1 was indeed offering free web hosting for three years to introduce its new public sector hosting service. Well, like any good cash-strapped college student, I stepped right up and got me a piece of the pie. I've got to say, the pie was good too!

After roughly two years of hosting with 1and1, with minimal problems I should say, I started to notice that I was getting dangerously close to the bandwidth allowance my free package had to offer. No big surprise there; these things happen when you're trying to establish an online presence and you offer free downloads. It was time to upgrade my hosting.

At the time, there were no great specials going on at 1and1 so I decided to shop around. That was a tremendous mistake! What I got was a course in how *not* to run a hosting service. I will be polite, this time, and not name and companies, but let's just say stay away from cheap reseller hosting accounts! The uptime is nowhere near what they promise and every time you turn around some idiot is running a script that bogs the server down to a crawl.

After a couple months, a chunk of wasted cash, and several moves back and forth between providers, I finally conceded that 1and1 was indeed the best host I had come across thus far. As luck would have it, I had received an email from 1and1 announcing a great promotion for their free preview package holders (obvious marketing trick, but good timing in my situation). They were offering their top shared Linux package for half the price. Ok, that sounds like a good deal, and it was, but what about next year? Well, this is where it gets even better. Not only did I get the package at half price, but they guaranteed that price for three years with free upgrades!

I might not be the brightest light bulb in the box, but I know a good deal when I see one. So, as I'm sure you've already figured out, I signed up. What I got was a whole lot more than what I bargained for, and honestly, could have hoped for. Almost instantly after upgrading, I noticed that my sites were running faster. I'm assuming that paid customers are placed on less crowded servers.

Then, the first upgrade came. My space and bandwidth were doubled at no extra charge. I thought to myself, cool, I'll take it! A couple weeks later, I was browsing the 1and1 site comparing features for a potential client when I noticed that the package I have had been bumped to ridiculously high levels. Even though I was getting my money's worth at the time, I felt a little bitter that I wasn't getting the full package spec. After all, I was promised that I would get every package upgrade.

Just like any other nightmare client, I promptly dialed billing to give them a piece of my mind. Apparently, the billing agent was no stranger to difficult clients like me. Within a few minutes of talking to me, he got me defused and assured me that my package would be brought up to spec within four weeks. That was two weeks ago. He explained that it was taking more time than expected to upgrade all their current accounts to the new account specs. He really surprised me when he said that I'd actually be getting more than what was currently listed on the site. What?! Ok then! Thank you for your time! Needless to say, I was left feeling very positive about that support call.

Here's where we get into the numbers... When I logged into my account today, I was greeted by some very generous numbers for the package I have. I discovered that I now have 30,000MB of storage and 1,500 GB of transfer on a shared hosting account that normally runs $19.99/mo! Wait! That can't be right! Those are VPS specs! Yup, you read right. 30GB of storage and 1.5TB of transfer for under $20/mo. PLUS, with 1and1, I only pay $5.99 per domain, per year.

Now, let's be real here. Those numbers are great and all, but other providers offer similar specs. What sets 1and1 apart? For starters, uptime! With every other host I've used, uptime was a major issue. This is not so with 1and1. I can count on one hand how many times in the past two years my site was not available and nearly every time it was related to an ISP router, not 1and1! Also, one of the things I've really grown to appreciate is their one-of-a-kind control panel. It's a little slow, but it more than makes up for it in streamlined administration. This is especially true of the domain administration. Even complete n00bs have no problem navigating the 1and1 control panel and managing their package like a pro.

Again, I'm not the easiest person in the world to impress, especially when it comes to hosting providers. Nevertheless, 1and1 has really raised the bar of what a good hosting provider is in my mind. They are now the benchmark by which I will measure all hosting providers. If you are in the market for a good, reliable, affordable hosting provider, I cannot say enough positive about 1and1.

There is only one negative I've found with 1and1 and it's not even really a negative. They're a bit restrictive on script execution. If you think about it, in a shared hosting environment, this is a good thing, and this also explains why the only time I've noticed the server actually being down was during a scheduled hardware upgrade. Now, who's going to complain about a free upgrade in performance?

If you would like more information on 1and1 and the packages they offer, I encourage you to visit their site. Just as a point of reference, I'm running on the Developer Package. I think you'll find that it's a more than adequate package for moderate to heavy traffic sites.