Websites need to be stored on servers to be served to client computers. This is called web hosting, where websites are ‘hosted’ on servers, usually at data centers, and the server processes and transmits data to accessing computers so that their browsers can display content. Today, websites vary considerably in size, ranging from personal sites made of few pages to large encyclopedias that hold millions of pages and terabytes, possibly even petabytes of data. Many different solutions to web hosting exist, and the method of choice will depend on the functions and the needs of the website.
Servers are usually located at data centers, where fast connection to multiple computers can be formed simultaneously. However, for many, getting an entire server at such centers are too expensive and unnecessary. Web hosting services allow users to rent a small space on the servers for storing sites. For basic web hosting, web hosting services allow you to upload sites through File Transfer Protocol. This is more than enough for most individuals and even small to mid-size businesses and companies since all they need to do is to display pages to visitors. This is the cheapest way of getting a website hosted.
For some, they may need to rent out an entire server for power processing. For example, if the website transcodes videos or processes transactions very frequently, it needs to be supported by a powerful processor. Many web hosts limit processing time available for sites, but a solution would be to get a virtual private server or a dedicated server. In these solutions, full control of the servers is given to the client, who can order the server to do any command possible. However, these types of services are significantly more expensive than the simple web hosting services mentioned before. One should choose to get dedicated servers only if simple web hosting does not offer enough functionality or service to power his website.
A company may want to host its website on its own server. Although this may give more control and security of the website, a company should take other factors as well such as reliability and uptime. In power failures, servers will not be able to operate without backup power. Maintaining a backup generator would incur significant costs. Also, if many users access the site, just having one server may not be sufficient to keep up with the numerous requests sent every second; server load balancing is offered by some service providers, and would significantly increase the reliability of the site uptime. Overall, one should seriously consider their needs before choosing a method of web hosting.