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web hosting server Web hosting is an Internet service that provides online computer systems for storing web-accessible information content.  Many hosting plans offer email and visitor tracking features.  Free web hosting plans, a popular choice for personal home pages, generally require advertising to be displayed on your web pages.  Shared web hosting plans, popular with small businesses, involve sharing a web server computer with a number of other sites.  A dedicated web hosting plan commits an entire server computer to your website (or websites) and thus offers more reliability and security than a shared hosting plan.  Of all the Internet web hosting choices, dedicated hosting is most costly, but it is a popular option for larger websites and e-commerce sites.

web hosting tag cloud
This web hosting tag cloud depicts terms that are commonly associated with website hosting.

So how do web hosting servers deliver web pages to a web site user?  Well, client software (such as a browser) on the user's computer begins the process by requesting data from the host across the Internet, usually via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).  The client's request includes all the necessary information, including the file formats which are accepted by the browser.  Regardless of what kind of file the client asks for, the web hosting server retrieves the file, attaches a header, and sends it on to the client.  The client software typically displays the formatted web page on the user's computer display.

Many hosting server options are available, from the speed, memory size, and hard disk capacity of your server computer to the operating system, control panel, server-side scripting languages, database software, and e-commerce software that is installed on your server computer.  Most website servers include a 2 GHz to 3 Ghz CPU, 512 MB to 2 GB RAM, and a 60 GB to 120 GB disk drive.  They run under some version of the Red Hat Linux, Microsoft Windows, or FreeBSD operating system and are managed by a browser-based control panel such as Plesk or cPanel.  They offer server-side includes and either php or ASP scripting languages as well as mySQL or MS-SQL database software.  They may also feature shopping cart software such as Miva Merchant or osCommerce.  Most hosting companies also provide support for FrontPage code. features a directory of web hosting resources where you can find more information about the myriad of Internet hosting choices and options that are available to you.

Web Hosting Resource

Dedicated Hosting and Shared Hosting Websites

  • Dedicated Server Hosting
    Dedicated servers can offer you sole access, allowing you to have complete control over their content, security, and usage.  Their control panels generally provide server management features including the ability to manage multiple domains.
  • Virtual Web Hosting
    Shared hosts generally offer professional quality Unix and Windows hosting features at affordable prices.

Web Site Hosting Providers

  • Web Site Hosting Directory
    This directory lists web site hosting service providers throughout the United States.

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