What Is Dedicated Hosting?

dedicated-web-hosting[1]dedicated hosting servicededicated server, or managed hosting service is a type of Internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone else. This is more flexible than shared hosting, as organizations have full control over the server(s), including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. There is also another level of dedicated or managed hosting commonly referred to as complex managed hosting. Complex Managed Hosting applies to both physical dedicated servers, Hybrid server and virtual servers, with many companies choosing a hybrid (combination of physical and virtual) hosting solution. There are many similarities between standard and complex managed hosting but the key difference is the level of administrative and engineering support that the customer pays for – owning to both the increased size and complexity of the infrastructure deployment. The provider steps in to take over most of the management, including security, memory, storage and IT support. The service is primarily proactive in nature. Server administration can usually be provided by the hosting company as an add-on service. In some cases a dedicated server can offer less overhead and a larger return on investment. Dedicated servers are most often housed in data centers, similar to colocation facilities, providing redundant power sources and HVAC systems. In contrast to colocation, the server hardware is owned by the provider and in some cases they will provide support for your operating system or applications.

Using a dedicated hosting service offers the benefits of high performance, security, email stability, and control. Due to the relatively high price of dedicated hosting, it is mostly used by websites that receive a large volume of traffic.

Operating system support

Availability, price and employee familiarity often determines which operating systems are offered on dedicated servers. Variations of Linux and Unix (open source operating systems) are often included at no charge to the customer. Commercial operating systems include Microsoft Windows Server, provided through a special program called Microsoft SPLA. Red Hat Enterprise is a commercial version of Linux offered to hosting providers on a monthly fee basis. The monthly fee provides OS updates through the Red Hat Network using an application called yum. Other operating systems are available from the open source community at no charge. These include CentOS, Fedora Core, Debian, and many other Linux distributions or BSD systems FreeBSD,NetBSD, OpenBSD.

Support for any of these operating systems typically depends on the level of management offered with a particular dedicated server plan. Operating system support may include updates to the core system in order to acquire the latest security fixes, patches, and system-wide vulnerability resolutions. Updates to core operating systems include kernel upgrades, service packs, application updates, and security patches that keep server secure and safe. Operating system updates and support relieves the burden of server management from the dedicated server owner.

Bandwidth and connectivity

Bandwidth refers to the data transfer rate or the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period (usually a second) and is often represented in bits (of data) per second (bit/s). For example, visitors to your server, web site, or applications utilize bandwidth *Third – Total Transfer (measured in bytes transferred)

95th percentile method: line speed, billed on the 95th percentile, refers to the speed in which data flows from the server or device, measured every 5 minutes for the month, and dropping the top 5% of measurements that are highest, and basing the usage for the month on the next-highest measurement. This is similar to a median measurement, which can be thought of as a 50th percentile measurement (with 50% of measurements above, and 50% of measurements below), whereas this sets the cutoff at 95th percentile, with 5% of measurements above the value, and 95% of measurements below the value. This is also known as Burstable billing. Line speed is measured in bits per second (or kilobits per second, megabits per second or gigabits per second).

Unmetered method: The second bandwidth measurement is unmetered service where providers cap or control the “top line” speed for a server. Top line speed in unmetered bandwidth is the total Mbit/s allocated to the server and configured on the switch level. For example, if you purchase 10 Mbit/s unmetered bandwidth, the top line speed would be 10 Mbit/s. 10 Mbit/s would result in the provider controlling the speed transfers take place while providing the ability for the dedicated server owner to not be charged with bandwidth overages. Unmetered bandwidth services usually incur an additional charge.

Total transfer method: Some providers will calculate the Total Transfer, which is the measurement of actual data leaving and arriving, measured in bytes. Although it is typically the sum of all traffic into and out of the server, some providers measure only outbound traffic (traffic from the server to the internet).

Bandwidth pooling: This is a key mechanism for hosting buyers to determine which provider is offering the right pricing mechanism of bandwidth pricing. Most Dedicated Hosting providers bundle bandwidth pricing along with the monthly charge for the dedicated server. Let us illustrate this with the help of an example. An average $100 server from any of the common dedicated bandwidth providers would carry 2 TB of bandwidth. Suppose you purchased 10 servers then you would have the ability to consume 2 TB of bandwidth per server. However, let us assume that given your application architecture only 2 of these 10 servers are really web facing while the rest are used for storage, search, database or other internal functions then the provider that allows bandwidth pooling would let you consume overall 20 TB of bandwidth as incoming or outbound or both depending on their policy. The provider that does not offer bandwidth pooling would just let you use 4 TB of bandwidth, and the rest of the 16 TB of bandwidth would be practically unusable. This fact is commonly known by all hosting providers, and allows hosting providers to cut costs by offering an amount of bandwidth that frequently will not be used. This is known as overselling, and allows high bandwidth customers to use more than what a host might otherwise offer, because they know that this will be balanced out by those customers who use less than the maximum allowed.

One of the reasons for choosing to outsource dedicated servers is the availability of high powered networks from multiple providers. As dedicated server providers utilize massive amounts of bandwidth, they are able to secure lower volume based pricing to include a multi-provider blend of bandwidth. To achieve the same type of network without a multi-provider blend of bandwidth, a large investment in core routers, long term contracts, and expensive monthly bills would need to be in place. The expenses needed to develop a network without a multi-provider blend of bandwidth does not make sense economically for hosting providers.

Many dedicated server providers include a service level agreement based on network uptime. Some dedicated server hosting providers offer a 100% uptime guarantee on their network. By securing multiple vendors for connectivity and using redundant hardware, providers are able to guarantee higher uptimes; usually between 99-100% uptime if they are a higher quality provider. One aspect of higher quality providers is they are most likely to be multi-homed across multiple quality uplink providers, which in turn, provides significant redundancy in the event one goes down in addition to potentially improved routes to destinations.

Bandwidth consumption over the last several years has shifted from a per megabit usage model to a per gigabyte usage model. Bandwidth was traditionally measured in line speed access that included the ability to purchase needed megabits at a given monthly cost. As the shared hosting model developed, the trend towards gigabyte or total bytes transferred, replaced the megabit line speed model so dedicated server providers started offering per gigabyte.

Prominent players in the dedicated server market offer large amounts of bandwidth ranging from 500 gigabytes to 3000 gigabytes using the “overselling” model. It is not uncommon for major players to provide dedicated servers with 1Terabyte (TB) of bandwidth or higher. Usage models based on the byte level measurement usually include a given amount of bandwidth with each server and a price per gigabyte after a certain threshold has been reached. Expect to pay additional fees for bandwidth overage usage. For example, if a dedicated server has been given 3000 gigabytes of bandwidth per month and the customer uses 5000 gigabytes of bandwidth within the billing period, the additional 2000 gigabytes of bandwidth will be invoiced as bandwidth overage. Each provider has a different model for billing. No industry standards have been set yet.

Management

Dedicated hosting services primarily differ from managed hosting services in that managed hosting services usually offer more support and other services. As such, managed hosting is targeted towards clients with less technical knowledge, whereas dedicated hosting services, or unmanaged hosting services, are suitable for web development and system administrator professionals.

To date, no industry standards have been set to clearly define the management role of dedicated server providers. What this means is that each provider will use industry standard terms, but each provider will define them differently. For some dedicated server providers, fully managed is defined as having a web based control panel while other providers define it as having dedicated system engineers readily available to handle all server and network related functions of the dedicated server provider.

Server management can include some or all of the following:

  • Operating system updates
  • Application updates
  • Server monitoring
  • SNMP hardware monitoring
  • Application monitoring
  • Application management
  • Technical support
  • Firewall services
  • Anti-spam software
  • Antivirus updates
  • Security audits
  • DDoS protection and mitigation
  • Intrusion detection
  • Backups and restoration
  • Disaster recovery
  • DNS hosting service
  • Load balancing
  • Database administration
  • Performance tuning
  • Software installation and configuration
  • User management
  • Programming consultation

Dedicated hosting server providers define their level of management based on the services they provide. In comparison, fully managed could equal self managed from provider to provider.

Administrative maintenance of the operating system, often including upgrades, security patches, and sometimes even daemon updates are included. Differing levels of management may include adding users, domains, daemon configuration, or even custom programming.

Dedicated server hosting providers may provide the following types of server managed support:

  • Fully managed – Includes monitoring, software updates, reboots, security patches and operating system upgrades. Customers are completely hands-off.
  • Managed – Includes medium level of management, monitoring, updates, and a limited amount of support. Customers may perform specific tasks.
  • Self-managed – Includes regular monitoring and some maintenance. Customers provide most operations and tasks on dedicated server.
  • Unmanaged – Little to no involvement from service provider. Customers provide all maintenance, upgrades, patches, and security.

Security

Dedicated hosting server providers utilize extreme security measures to ensure the safety of data stored on their network of servers. Providers will often deploy various software programs for scanning systems and networks for obtrusive invaders, spammers, hackers, and other harmful problems such as Trojans, worms, and crashers (Sending multiple connections). Linux and Windows use different software for security protection.

Software

Providers often bill for dedicated servers on a fixed monthly price to include specific software packages. Over the years, software vendors realized the significant market opportunity to bundle their software with dedicated servers. They have since started introducing pricing models that allow dedicated hosting providers the ability to purchase and resell software based on reduced monthly fees.

Microsoft offers software licenses through a program called the Service Provider License Agreement. The SPLA model provides use of Microsoft products through a monthly user or processor based fee. SPLA software includes the Windows Operating System, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint and shoutcast hosting, and many other server based products.

Dedicated server providers usually offer the ability to select the software you want installed on a dedicated server. Depending on the overall usage of the server, this will include your choice of operating system, database, and specific applications. Servers can be customized and tailored specific to the customer’s needs and requirements.

Other software applications available are specialized web hosting specific programs called control panels. Control panel software is an all inclusive set of software applications, server applications, and automation tools that can be installed on a dedicated server. Control panels include integration into web servers, database applications, programming languages, application deployment, server administration tasks, and include the ability to automate tasks via a web based front end.

Most dedicated servers are packaged with a control panel. Control panels are often confused with management tools, but these control panels are actually web based automation tools created to help automate the process of web site creation and server management. Control panels should not be confused with a full server management solution by a dedicated hosting providers.

Limitations

Many providers do not allow IRC (bots, clients or daemons). This is due to rogue IRC users triggering DDoS attacks against the provider, which may overwhelm their networks, lowering service quality for all customers.

  • Adult content is disallowed by many providers as it may either be of questionable legality or consume large amounts of bandwidth.
  • Copyright violations – Hosting copyrighted material of which an individual does not own the copyright to is against the terms of service of most hosting companies.

Top Dedicated Web Hosting Companies

As a small online business owner, you are undecided if you want shared web hosting or if you’d prefer to use on the of the top dedicated web hosting companies. The major downside to sharing web hosting means that you could be sharing resources and server space with literally hundreds of other websites, and if one site has a traffic spike, it could result in slower response time on your website.

top_dedicated_web_hosting_companies_icon-300x298[1]That is where the benefit of using on the top dedicated web hosting companies comes in. As a client, you lease the entire server that your website is hosted on, and share it with no one, which means more control for you and reliability for your website. The unfortunate downside to dedicated web hosting is the price, but with the hosting industry booming and competition being stiff, the prices are changing, and for the better.

Making use of one of the top dedicated web hosting companies means that you choose when the software is upgraded, and what is added. It also means that you can add new features and programs with full control, something that you don’t have with shared hosting.

As great as it all sounds, not everyone needs dedicated web hosting for their website. Top dedicated web site hosting companies are a great choice for those with a fair amount of knowledge of operating systems. The administrator of the dedicated server will need to be able to provide and apply kernel upgrades, add service packs and software patches, plus provide reliable security and be able to update applications on the server. This is just the tip of the iceberg, I haven’t even mentioned email, traffic monitoring or DNS services.

Another good feature of the top dedicated web hosting companies is that they permit corporate intranets, and can allow content restricted sites, which means you have control of what is allowed and isn’t allowed on the dedicated hosting server.

Larger corporations or companies benefit from the advantages of top dedicated web hosting companies. One example would be a web design company who not only designs websites but who also hosts them. A dedicated web host would allow the web design company to provide the hosting for the clients on the same server their own site is hosted on.

One of the most important things to remember is that regardless of a persons internet connection, that your site should be one to load quickly and that your downtime is limited to practically none. If you notice that your website is falling short on either of these two aforementioned things, then it could be time to consider switching to a dedicated hosting server or switching providers.

As with shared hosting providers, dedicated hosting providers are in abundance and while there are some that provide quality, reliable service, there are also those who are lacking in various areas or services. Remember that research is imperative in making an informed decision. Make a choice based on the results of your research and the general needs of your company and website. Remembering those key points can mean the difference in success or failure with your online business or website. Be smart in your choice. Using one of the Top Dedicated Web Hosting Companies is in your best interest.

Top Windows Web Hosting Companies

top_windows_web_hosting_companies_icon-300x283[1]If you are developing your website with Microsoft technologies such as .NET or Visual Basic, finding out who the top Windows web hosting companies are is a must.  Even if you like to use Unix based programming features such as PHP and MySQL, Windows web hosting is versatile and adaptable to your company’s needs.  Keep in mind, though, that the key to a successful website is successful hosting. To help make your decision easier, check out our detailed reviews of the top Windows web hosting companies online.

Top Unix Web Hosting Companies

unix web hosting

top_unix_web_hosting_companies_icon[1]It is not surprising that many webmasters seek out the Top Unix web hosting companies, since it offers stability that is second to none in addition to handling high server loads with ease. Unix hosting is an extremely popular option, which is why you may notice that many companies offer ‘great deals’. However, to make certain that you choose a top Unix web hosting company that is reliable and provides excellent customer service, be sure to read our online reviews first.

What Is A Shared Web Hosting Service?

shared web hosting

shared web hosting service or virtual hosting service or derive host refers to a web hosting service where many websites reside on one web server connected to the Internet. Each site “sits” on its own partition, or section/place on the server, to keep it separate from other sites. This is generally the most economical option for hosting, as many people share the overall cost of server maintenance.

shared web hostingThe hosting service must include system administration since it is shared by many users; this is a benefit for users who do not want to deal with it, but a hindrance to power users who want more control. In general shared hosting will be inappropriate for users who require extensive software development outside what the hosting provider supports. Almost all applications intended to be on a standard web server work fine with a shared web hosting service. But on the other hand, shared hosting is cheaper than other types of hosting such as dedicated server hosting. Shared hosting usually has usage limits and hosting providers should have extensive reliability features in place.

Shared hosting typically uses a web-based control panel system, such as cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk, InterWorx, H-Sphere or one of many other control panel products. Most of the large hosting companies use their own custom developed control panel. Control panels and web interfaces can cause controversy however, since web hosting companies sometimes sell the right to use their control panel system to others. Attempting to recreate the functionality of a specific control panel is common, which leads to many lawsuits over patent infringement.

In shared hosting, the provider is generally responsible for managing servers, installing server software, security updates, technical support, and other aspects of the service. Most servers are based on the Linux operating system and LAMP (software bundle), which is driven by the reliability and security of open source software such as Linux and Apache (the ‘L’ and ‘A’ of LAMP). Some providers offer Microsoft Windows-based or FreeBSD-based solutions. For example, the Plesk control panel is available for two operating systems, Linux and Windows. Server-side facilities for either OS have similar functionality (for example: MySQL (database) and many server-side programming languages (such as the widely used PHP web programming language) under Linux, or the proprietary SQL Server (database) and ASP.NET programming language under Windows).

There are thousands of shared hosting providers in the United States alone. They range from mom-and-pop shops and small design firms to multi-million-dollar providers with hundreds of thousands of customers. A large portion of the shared web hosting market is driven through pay per click (PPC) advertising or Affiliate programs while some are purely non-profit.

Shared web hosting can also be done privately by sharing the cost of running a server in a colocation center; this is called cooperative hosting.

Top Shared Web Hosting Companies

Shared web hosting services are the most basic type of service available today with the hosting service providers. Before moving to the shared, let’s have an overview of the hosting services.

shared-hosting1[1]Today, many plans and packages are available for these services. The design of these depends on several criteria, some of them are:

1. According to the need of the users
2. Keeping the market along
3. Available features and hardware
4. Money
5. According to the size of the business or the website
6. Kind of services one need

Some common packages that have gained huge popularity are:

1. Dedicated
2. VPS
3. Managed
4. Cloud

What is Shared Server Hosting?

It is the most basic; you can say it’s a starter pack for anyone; it’s used to store or run personal site, blogs, personal website and the websites of small-scale industries. If you are hiring the services of shared, then you have to share the disk space, memory, bandwidth and much more. The thing is you need to compromise on these resources as these are not completely dedicated to your business; you are sharing these services with other client of that particular host. It has such limitations because you are paying sparingly less for limited resources.

It is further divided or we can say the modified versions are:

1. Managed shared hosting – The term “managed” signifies many things, in this type of service, your hosting account or we can say the business is completely managed by the host and each change and decision of the provider.

2. Unmanaged shared hosting – This signifies that the client manages the account and not the provider.

These providers offer you services you can select any option adhering to the needs and demands of the services.

These are further sub-divided into:

1. Dedicated shared – It is the hybrid of two services; Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting.

2. Shared virtual – This comprises the services of both, shared services and virtual private server.

It is even further classified by the operating system used in them. They are:

1. Linux shared – It’s the kind of operating system that runs on a Linux operating system.

2. Windows shared – This includes the use of windows operating system.

Shared hosting services are highly recommended for infant users, new entrepreneurs, clients with personal blogs and website. You can hire these services to get a complete overview of the hosting services.

What Is Colocation Hosting?

Colocation hosting has become a popular option for companies with midsize IT needs—especially those in Internet related business—because it allows the company to focus its IT staff on the actual work being done, instead of the logistical support needs which underlie the work. Significant benefits of scale (large power and mechanical systems) result in large colocation facilities, typically 4500 to 9500 square meters (roughly 50,000 to 100,000 square feet).

colocation-hosting-292x300[1]Colocation facilities provide, as a retail rental business, usually on a term contract:

  • lockable rack cabinets or cages,
  • power in a variety of formats, AC and DC,
  • network connectivity—either in a ‘house blend’, where the colo provider is a customer of carriers, and connects their clients to their own router for access to multiple carriers, or as direct ‘cross-connect’ access to the routers of the carriers themselves, or both,
  • cooling,
  • physical security (including video surveillance, biometric and badge access, logging, and the like), and
  • real-time live monitoring of all these functions for failures.

They also provide redundant systems for, usually, all of these features, to mitigate the problems when each inevitably fails.

Among the economies of scale which result from grouping many small-to-midsized customers together in one facility are included:

  • higher reliability due to redundant systems
  • 24/7 monitoring by engineers
  • lower network latency and higher bandwidth at a lower cost
  • specialist staff, like network and facilities engineers, which would not be cost effective for any single client to keep on the payroll.

Major types of colocation customers are:

  • Web commerce companies, who use the facilities for a safe environment and cost-effective, redundant connections to the Internet
  • Major enterprises, who use the facility for disaster avoidance, offsite data backup and business continuity
  • Telecommunication companies, who use the facilities to exchange traffic with other telecommunications companies and access to potential clients—a colo facility where many carriers are physically present is often called a ‘carrier hotel’; the presence of such a facility at a colo increases its value to some classes of potential customers.
  • eCommerce sites, who use the facilities to house servers dedicated to processing secure transactions online.

Top Colocation Web Hosting Companies

What are the necessary steps needed to be taken when your business requires more resources than shared hosting provides? Should a small business look for managed hosting, or purchase its own web server to be housed in a professional data center as a colocation web hosting plan is?

top_colocation_web_hosting_companies_icon-300x300[1]Managed web hosting and colocation both offer a wide range of benefits. For both types the housing of the physical server is outsourced to a third party company, rather than operating the server on-site at the location of your own business.

Managed hosting vs colocation, which one is right for you? This article looks at the two types of hosting and compares their advantages and disadvantages.

Colocation

In layman’s terms, colocation is just raw connectivity of a server that you own at an off-site location. The professional data center gives you the electricity, internet connectivity, and physical server space so you don’t have to operate it at your own site.

The benefits of this are that you get the best in internet connectivity, and a secure facility where your server is safe from physical damage and theft.

When looking at actual data security, the wrong colocation plan could result in disaster. You are in full control of which software you download onto the server, including control panel, operating system, and firewall. And unless you have a colocation plan with some sort of managed web hosting services, you will need to assign someone to physically go to the facility to perform server maintenance.

Colocation may be the preferable choice for a business that has the resources and skilled staff who are available for round-the-clock maintenance, upkeep, security, and backup of the colocation server because it’s more affordable than managed web hosting.

Managed Hosting Services

There are four main benefits of a managed server:

1) You get the benefit of using the expert technical administrators who work for the hosting company. A managed dedicated server plan give you other benefits, including:

2) Security – Your managed hosting services plan may offer to install and upgrade firewall software which would otherwise be cost-prohibitive for a small business.

3) On-Site Monitors – Your web server, whether owned or leased, is monitored on site for potential problems with connectivity. When a problem arises, on-site technicians are there to keep your server running.

4) Reporting – Your managed hosting services plan can provide you with valuable reports on system performance.

To recap, managed web hosting enables a small business to easily operate its website on a single server without the stress, time, and cost of performing all these administrative duties. The biggest drawback with managed hosting is the inflated cost. You must carefully evaluate whether the cost savings of a colocation or a managed hosting plan offers you the most benefit for the buck.

What Is Blog Hosting?

Blogs, also known as weblogs, are sites that feature regular updates in the form of individual posts. Since blogs tend to evolve over a long period of time, they are an attractive alternative to creating a static website. With many different blog hosting options available, however, getting your blog set up can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task.

blog-hosting[1]The first step in choosing a blog host is deciding whether you want to create a blog with free hosting or invest in a paid blog host. If you’re creating a personal blog to keep in touch with your family and friends, free blog hosting is likely to be sufficient for your needs. Free blog hosts, such as Blogger or Xanga, offer easy-to-use interfaces that make it simple for people with limited technical skills to start blogging.

Most free blog hosting options also provide a limited selection of templates so you can alter the look of your blog to better suit your personal tastes. You won’t be able to remove ads from the site, however, since this is the primary way free blog hosts generate their revenue. Additionally, free blog hosts do have some restrictions on the content they will allow; most won’t permit blogs with pornography, excessive violence, hate speech, or content that infringes upon the copyright of someone else.

It’s natural to want to save money, but finances alone shouldn’t be the deciding factor when choosing a blog host. For bloggers who are hoping to turn their blog into a source of supplemental income, it’s best to invest in paid blog hosting. With a paid account, you’ll have your own domain name and greater options for customizing your blog. If you want to run ads on your site, you’ll be the one who keeps the income they generate. You’ll also be able to accommodate larger amounts of traffic, which is crucial for making money from your blog.

Traditionally, blogging meant posting written descriptions of the day’s activities. Today, however, bloggers communicate using a wider variety of mediums. If you plan to regularly post images, videos, or affiliate advertising links on your blog, remember to check if your blog host will able to handle this type of content. You don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a blog only to find out you won’t be able to post the content you want.