Web hosting involves the placement of a web site or many web sites on a server that is connected to the Internet. The web hosting server is located off site at a web hosting company that leases the use of the server. The web hosting company should have two or more separate connections to the Internet for redundancy. Since very few web hosting systems need the throughput available on the Internet connection, the connections are shared to reduce cost. There are two primary web hosting methods, virtual web hosting and dedicated web hosting.

Virtual Web Hosting

Virtual web hosting is where many web sites from different companies are placed on one server and the server is controlled by the hosting company. This is the least expensive way to have a web site as you only are paying to lease a small portion of the web hosting server. However, a virtual web hosting server tends to be less reliable and the available bandwidth is shared among hundreds of companies. These might be of 2 kinds

Shared Hosting:

These hosts run server machines hosting from hundreds to thousands of domains. They give great value if your needs aren't too high and your budget is relatively small. You usually get one web domain, private FTP, email, a few gigabytes of data storage and bandwidth per day but no SSH or anonymous FTP. If you are just a beginner in web publishing or do not need sophisticated features, then these should be ideal for you.

Virtual Dedicated Servers (VDSs):

VDSs give you the flexibility of hosting multiple domains with no extra cost for an expense of a higher monthly fee than shared hosts. Similar to dedicated servers but you have "neighbors" that you share the machine with. You do not "see" your neighbors but if your site grows much, you will notice that they are there. They will give you anonymous FTP and SSH/telnet support for you to logon to the usually UNIX (Linux or BSD variant) operating systems command console. These plans are usually twice as expensive as their shared counterparts.

Dedicated Web Hosting

Dedicated web hosting is where only one company places its web site on a server and that company controls the administration of the server. Dedicated web hosting is much more reliable than virtual web hosting and much more flexible. Since you control how the server is used you can configure it to your exact business needs. A dedicated web hosting server is more expensive to use, but for companies that rely on the Internet for their business it is normally a better value. A dedicated web hosting server also can be part of a cluster to increase throughput and reliability even further.