So you have decided that you want to start a website, or even an e-commerce site. You have managed the site design, and have even purchased a domain name, but now what? You will never get any visitors to your site if it isn't accessible via the web. The only way to do that is by using a server. The server will maintain a permanent connection with the web and on the server will be stored all the information about your website. In effect, users will come onto the server access your website and then when they decide to move to another website they will access information from another server. So, the real question is, what type of server do you need?
For all individual users and most small e-commerce users, virtual web hosting is the way to go. The other option, having a dedicated server, means that you will actually go out and purchase a big and very expensive piece of hardware that will be used for your website alone. Virtual web hosting is, essentially, renting a small piece of someone else's server. Virtual web hosting which is also called shared hosting, because it usually means many different sites are all located on a single server, and is vastly more economical than owning and maintaining your own server. But beyond just economics, there are a great number of reasons to use virtual web hosting rather than dedicated hosting.
One primary reason is downtime. Running a server is often quite a bit more complex than running your own personal computer. There is a real need to stay on top of technological advancements, watch for usage spikes, and maintain adequate bandwidth access. A server is hardware that must stay in constant contact with the internet if people are to be able to access your site. As a result, trying to manage all of the aspects of a server, in order to ensure that the individuals are able to access your website all the time, can easily be a full time job. A job which, for most individuals and small companies, is simply unreasonable.
Consequently, the virtual web hosting industry has flourished. With easy to use interfaces, individuals who have no experience with internet hosting, or building their own website for that matter, are able to set up an account with a virtual web hosting company. These companies also often provide one stop shopping services such as email forwarding, data transfer, backup services for your website in case of a crash, technical support, and often your own set of email addresses specifically for your website.
All of these features are ultimately designed for one purpose, to make the process of putting up and managing a website a realistic possibility for individuals and small companies that would otherwise find the prospect of hiring a full time staff to maintain hosting impossible. The ease of use and the affordability of virtual web hosting have harnessed the power of economic collaboration to provide individuals and companies with a practical way to get and keep their site on the web.
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