Server hosting lets users host data and other storage information on server racks with designated IP addresses. Hosting servers are often used to hold websites, but are also used to host files, images, videos, and other similar types of content.
Hosting servers are located at an offsite data center, where it is usually maintained with security, conditioned power and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) temperature control.
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Common features of servers include:
- VPN (Virtual Private Network) service
- On-site services
- Physical security
- Conditioned and redundant power
- Monitoring service of CPU usage, disk space, and operating system events
Additional features for additional costs include:
- Internet connectivity
- Firewall services
- 24-hour monitoring
- Server management
- Remote backup services
- Emergency on-site services
- Disaster recovery server service
Types of Server Hosting
Server hosting services can be shared among many clients or for one customer. Some hosting companies combine different server hosting types, like combining dedicated and cloud servers to maximize performance, scaling and cost-savings.
There are three types of server hosting:
- Shared server hosting
- Dedicated server hosting
- Cloud server hosting
Shared Server Hosting
This type of server hosting is about sharing a server among many customers. Shared server hosting is a commonly used type of hosting in which server maintenance and management costs are split by a number of customers.
As a result, shared server hosting is the best option for customers who do not want to pay for full-featured hosting services that dedicated and virtual private servers provide. Shared server hosting costs range from $3 to $20 per month.
Shared hosting servers typically use web-based control panel systems, such as cPanel, Sphera, DirectAdmin, and Plesk.
Dedicated Server Hosting
This type of server hosting provides customers with their own servers. Large websites commonly use dedicated server hosting because it provides more storage, bandwidth and specialized control than shared server hosting. Dedicated web hosting costs between $90 to $230 a month, but costs can run higher depending on the storage and bandwidth needs.
Cloud Server Hosting
Cloud server hosting, also known as grid hosting, uses clustered servers to prevent data loss. If there are power disruptions, other computers in the cloud can compensate when some hardware malfunctions. This type of server hosting costs between $10 to $100.
For example, Rackspace Hosting offers cloud server hosting at 1.5¢ an hour, which is about $10.80 for a 30-day month. They provide:
- Linux & Windows servers
- Up to 30 GB servers
- Control panel and API interface
Operating Systems for Server Hosting
Server hosting usually runs under a Windows or Linux operating system.
The Windows operating system is a familiar systems program designed and managed by Microsoft. As a result, Microsoft products can integrate with this operating system. A Windows server allows websites to run Active Server Pages and allows the integration of SQL databases.
Many of the best Microsoft Windows server hosting companies provide managed virtual private servers or dedicated servers.
Linux server hosting provides open source functionality. It's a free operating system that is compatible with PHP. Many variations of this operating system are used for shared hosting.
Unix is another type of operating system for server hosting that is very similar to Linux. There are two main Unix-based operating systems: FreeBSD and OpenBSD. OpenBSD is known as one of the most secure operating systems, but FreeBSD provides compatibility with all the Windows products.
Mac OSX is an option for Macintosh computer users. It is not a very common option because almost 90% of computer users use a PC.
Shared hosting providers use several different operating systems, so some companies have control panels that can function for two or more operating system types. Ensim and Plesk are examples of control panels that are compatible for both Windows and Linux operating systems.