Web hosting service

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A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to provide their own websites accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own for use by their clients as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. (Wikipedia, retrieved 21:35, 29 October 2007 (MET).

If you plan to run your own portalware, e.g. a learning management system, you do need a web hosting service. In academics and larger business, this is usually provided by the organization itself. In the school system, such services also exist, but may not be cooperative. Examples of uncooperative university hosting services also exist. An alternative to installing your own portal is to use online services, read creating websites with online services for starters and then try to find out if for a given application, e.g. wiki, blog, LMS, etc. online hosting exists.

“A 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.” (Wikipedia 1/2010).

On the opposite, “A dedicated hosting service, dedicated server, or managed hosting service is a type of Internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone. This is more flexible than shared hosting, as organizations have full control over the server(s), including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. Server administration can usually be provided by the hosting company as an add-on service.” (Wikipedia, 1/2010). E.g. all of TECFAs servers (including the machine this wiki runs on) are hosted by our university and joinly managed by the central computer services and us.

According to Wikipedia, retrieved 14:23, 17 January 2010 (UTC), “Shared hosting typically uses a web-based control panel system, such as cPanel, Ensim, DirectAdmin, Plesk, InterWorx, H-Sphereor one of many other control panel products. Most of the large hosting companies use their own custom developed control panel.”

Links for shared web hosting services

Lists of web hosting services

Free php hosting services

You can get php/mysql services for free, but most often it's a better idea to pay and get domain registry, unlimited bandwith etc. Below are some website that provide indexes and evaluations of these services.

List of free web hosting services

There exist hundreds of free web hosting services. Some of these are perfectly ok if you plan to learn installing and configuring portalware. Most serious services offer an upgrade plan. I.e. the business model is to provide you with minimal services that typically include: 100-350 MB of diskspace, very limited MySQL storage space (5MB), 5-15 GB of monthly transfer, 1-5 databases, limited accounts, no proper or limited domain names. Some also will include a banner or popups with advertisements.

The list below includes more or less randomly chosen services. I don't have to time to evaluated these, so here are a few tips:

  • Make sure to consult at least two independent reviews before you sign up ! Start with free-webhosts.com.
  • Pick up ad free ones.
  • If you plan to use these services for real, make sure that they provide enough disk and database space, plus enough free transfer/month allowance and/or make sure that you could later upgrade to a commercial offer that fits your needs.
  • If you plan to install portalware: Firstly make sure that PHP/MySQL (or other needed infrastructure) is supported. Then make sure that no important PHP/MySQL features (or respective features in other environments) are disabled. Sometimes, you only can find out by trial and error if an application will run with a provider (e.g. some scripts need run time memory allowance and script execution times that even cheap commercial providers do not allow). Finally, you may check their website whether some popular PHP applications are supported.

List in alphabetical order:

Good shared commercial services

Our local (Geneva) favorite:

Other commercial services

(none endorsed, e.g. added by anonymous users)

Application-specific hosting

Needs to be written. Other entries in this wiki may point to some of these. e.g. see the wiki page for wiki hosting.

Links about web hosting