Web Hosting & Domain Names
Free web space is often provided by an internet service provider for just about any person or business that has signed up for an internet access package. The space provided is usually more than adequate for hosting a personal web site holding simple html web pages and pictures.
Well known service providers providing free web space with their internet access package include:
There are also third party hosting companies offering a very basic free hosting package, Lycos Tripod being a well know example.
Shared hosting is where several web accounts or packages are held on one web server. A web account or package is a contract between a web publisher and a web hosting company that includes one or a number of domain names directed to one or several web sites run on an allocated space on a web server.
Most small to medium commercial, personal and general web sites use shared hosting and this is the most common type of web hosting package available. Due to the popularity of this kind of hosting package, most web hosting companies offer a range of packages of this type. Packages on offer range from the very basic and cost effective for home and personal use to the highly advanced and more costly service for business and professional use.
The current typical offering for a very basic package is:
The current typical offering for a top end shared hosting package is:
There are also many offerings between the two extremes.
Several of the large web hosting companies offer re-seller accounts. This is a cost-effective alternative to setting up a web hosting center for yourself if you are a web professional. Basically, the hosting company manages all the hardware and infrastructure and provides tools to the web professional to setup and mange multiple web hosting packages for their end customers. Re-seller accounts usually come with a large compliment of services to resell like e-mail management, domain management, Windows and Linux hosting, databases and configuring personal control panels for customers.
Dedicated servers are really only needed by dedicated web professionals. They allow the web developer full control over the operating system software of the server.
Only very specialist web applications demand the use of a dedicated server. Renting a dedicated server from a hosting company is considerably more expensive than a shared hosting package. The alternative is to have the hardware at your own location.
You will normally be responsible for managing all aspects of the server, like OS configuration, security, e-mail and configuring domains to point to web sites.
It is possible to register domain names for future use even though you don't have a web site to point to it yet.
If you are developing a web site, domain names can be ordered as part of a web hosting package.
There are several companies offering domain parking and domain marketing services. If you don't intend to use a domain for a while, it can be parked, in that it can point to an advertising page served by a domain parking company to enable you to earn money from the domain even though it does not point to one of your own web sites. Some domain names may have a lot of value, for example they are the name of a large global company and you could try selling the name to them.
Domain Name Authorities
ICANN - Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers