The scopes of hosting services vary widely. The most basic is webpage and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a Web interface. The files are usually delivered to the Web "as is" or with little processing. Many Internet service providers (ISPs) offer this service for free to their subscribers. People can also obtain Web page hosting from other, alternative service providers. Web page hosting is typically free, advertisement-sponsored, or cheap.
Web page hosting is generally sufficient only for personal web pages. A complex site calls for a more comprehensive package that provides database support and application development platforms (e.g. PHP, Java, and ASP.NET). These facilities allow the customers to write or install scripts for applications like forums and content management. For e-commerce, SSL is also required.
The host may also provide a Web interface control panel (e.g. cPanel, Hosting Controller, Plesk or View a list of Control panels) for managing the Web server and installing scripts as well as other services like e-mail. Control panels and web interfaces have been causing some controversy lately as Web.com claims that it holds patent rights to the hosting technology with its 19 patents. Hostopia, a large wholesale host, recently purchased a license to use that technology from web.com for 10% of retail revenues. Web.com recently sued Godaddy as well for similar patent infringement .
Some hosts specialize in certain software or services (e.g. e-commerce). They are commonly used by larger companies to outsource network infrastructure to a hosting company. To find a web hosting company, there are searchable directories that can be used.
Hosting Reliability and Uptime
Multiple racks of servers, and how a datacenter commonly looks.Hosting uptime refers to the percentage of time the host is accessible via the internet. Many hosting providers state that they aim for a 99.9% uptime, but there may be server restarts and planned (or unplanned) maintenance in any web hosting environment.
A popular claim from the popular hosting providers is '99% or 99.9% server uptime' but this often refers only to a server being powered on and doesn't account for network downtime. Real downtime can potentially be larger than the percentage guaranteed by the hosting provider. Many providers tie uptime, and accessibility, into their own Service Level Agreement, or SLA. SLAs may or may not include refunds, or reduced costs if performance goals are not met.
If you were to think of the uptime percentages offered by providers, over a given year you would have the following downtime:
100% - 0 hours 0 minutes
99.9% - 8 hours 46 minutes
99.5% - 43 hours 50 minutes
99.0% - 87 hours 39 minutes
98.0% - 175 hours 19 minutes