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Web hosting service

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History and Classification of Web Hosting Services
Internet restricted to research and education until 1991
– Limited web pages until end of 1993
– Web hosting services emerged to host websites
– Companies like GeoCities offered free hosting in 1995
– Online presence became crucial for companies
– Web page and small-scale file hosting
– Free hosting with limited services
– Personal website hosting options
– Larger hosting services for companies
– Comprehensive packages with database support

Types of Web Hosting
– Shared web hosting with common server resources
– Reseller web hosting for clients to become hosts
– Virtual Dedicated Server (VPS) with allocated resources
– Dedicated hosting with full control over the server
– Managed hosting with limited control for quality assurance

Static Page Hosting
– Basic web page and file hosting
– Offered by ISPs and alternative service providers
– Limited features and flexibility compared to paid hosting
– Single page hosting for personal websites
– Higher expense for business website hosting

Larger Hosting Services
– Large companies need permanent web connection
– Use computer as website host to provide details
– Complex sites require comprehensive packages
– Database support and application development platforms
– Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for encrypted data transmission

Types of Hosting Services and Host Management
– File hosting service: Hosting files, not web pages
– Image hosting service
– Video hosting service
– Blog hosting service
– Paste bin
– Racks of servers for managing web servers
– Control panel or interface for server management and script installation
– Specialized hosts for specific software or services (e.g. e-commerce, blogs)
– Headless servers that do not use a control panel
– Web hosts offering modules and service applications like e-mail

Reliability, Uptime, and Security
– Availability of a website measured by the percentage of a year it is publicly accessible
– Uptime refers to the system being online, not necessarily reachable
– Service Level Agreement (SLA) may include scheduled downtime for maintenance
– SLA may offer partial refunds for downtime below the agreed availability
– Not all providers release uptime statistics
– Web hosting services responsible for site security
– Potential attacks include uploading malware or malicious code
– Attacks may aim to steal credit card data, launch DDoS attacks, or spam
– Security level offered by a hosting service is crucial for customers
– Online security is a major factor in choosing a hosting provider

A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that hosts websites for clients, i.e. it offers the facilities required for them to create and maintain a site and makes it accessible on the World Wide Web. Companies providing web hosting services are sometimes called web hosts.

An example of rack mounted servers

Typically, web hosting requires the following:

  • one or more servers to act as the host(s) for the sites; servers may be physical or virtual
  • colocation for the server(s), providing physical space, electricity, and Internet connectivity;
  • Domain Name System configuration to define name(s) for the sites and point them to the hosting server(s);
  • a web server running on the host;
  • for each site hosted on the server:
    • space on the server(s) to hold the files making up the site
    • site-specific configuration
    • often, a database;
    • software and credentials allowing the client to access these, enabling them to create, configure, and modify the site;
    • email connectivity allowing the host and site to send email to the client.
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