People get confused with Internet Service Provider (ISP) and web hosting. Actually the two services are very different though some Internet Service Providers offer web hosting services and vice versa. In practice ISPs act as a media between your computer and internet for access while web host maintains various websites on their servers that you visit from across the globe using ISP access.
Based on features that web hosting company provides web hosting is divided into various categories. Two such types of web hosting are shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
Shared hosting as the name suggests is the type of hosting where single server hardware is used by multiple users. Different users have their websites and databases on the same server. These users can also utilize email services with the help of that shared server. In shared hosting the users are given access to add domains, make their websites and allowed to access their database with the help of browser and control panel. With advancement of web technology the sharing hosting has upgraded securities of the websites that share the server.
Dedicated hosting does not allow sharing of server, rather server to be used by a single customer. The customer having dedicated server for web hosting is given full administrative powers and has responsibility for maintenance, updating and taking backup of the server. Many argue that dedicated servers are must for security and that’s true also.
If there is no specific need then shared hosting is far better than dedicated hosting. In shared hosting you don’t have to do any of the technical work like server maintenance, server monitoring, and data backup from server. These responsibilities lie with web hosting company. The web host has to see to it that all routine preventive maintenance of the server is done regularly so that there is not much down time for the server.
The activities that are under taken by hosting companies when using shared servers are monitoring of hardware so that detection any hardware failure can be detected well in time for the company to take corrective steps for that. Another important activity done by hosting company is software monitoring so that the transfer of data to and fro is done in perfect manner, email service functions properly and functioning of database is not hampered.
In case there develops malfunctioning in services of server, the monitoring system should be quick to point and automatic restoration of those failed services should be done. The service monitoring system of the shared server should also be capable of giving service logs so that you can investigate the cause of failure and take actions so that such problem is no repeated in future. These activities are done by hosting company when servers are shared by number of customers.
To prevent loss of data in the server, regular data backup facilities are provided by web host in case shared servers are used. The hosting company manages the shared servers with management tools that restore the server in case of failures. In case of dedicated servers you as an owner have to do all the work of monitoring, maintenance and backup on your own. Also you have to bear the cost of server individually. So dedicated hosting is very costly affair as compared to shared hosting.