J.D. Fox Micro Resource Center
Classic Web Hosting
This page covers what we'll call classic web hosting, in relation to the broad range of new infrastructure, platform, data, and application hosting models now available. Classic web hosting has been around since the 1990s, and has served businesses of all sizes, as well as individual professionals and hobbyists.
Classic web hosting still has its place in the market, because it offers simplicity and a low, fixed monthly price for low traffic websites mainly for displaying information, with little to moderate interactivity. The following are the typical offerings you can get from a classic web hosting provider, for a monthly fee:
- Shared hosting—This is the least expensive, least flexible, and least secure. Your site runs on the same instance of web server software running on the same server as other customers. You (or your website designer) have limited ability to change the server software configuration to improve performance or enable greater function, because all customers share the same server configuration. If you have a simple web site with low traffic, this should work just fine.
- VPS hosting—In classic web hosting, this means you get one Virtual Private Server (VPS), which runs your own instance of web server software (including the underlying operating system), hosting only your website. You have a much higher level of control over the configuration of the server software. But, it still shares physical server resources (processor time, RAM, and network bandwidth) with other customers' VPSes, so it's still only appropriate for a lower traffic site that doesn't need to run large or complex custom programs to interact with your site's visitors.
- Dedicated server hosting—Same as VPS, except your instance of the web server software is the only thing running on the server. It's functionally the same, except you will have much more processor time and RAM available, and your site won't be slowed down by another customer's site's activity. Of course, this is more expensive than a VPS.
- Co-located server hosting—The most expensive, but also the most secure. With a co-located server (also known as a "colo"), you buy the server and rent the space in the provider's data center, which can be locked in a cage with cameras so you can check on it. Then, you have the same level of service as a dedicated server, but for a higher monthly fee, and with the assurance that even employees of the data center can't touch it.
Along with classic web hosting comes what we'll call classic e-mail, which is very basic and less functional than modern Microsoft Exchange or Google Apps mail. It's from before the smartphone age (think Eudora or Outlook Express, for anyone over 21). It supports e-mail only, and does not sync contacts, calendars, tasks, or notes.
Most classic web hosting providers now refer to their VPS hosting as "cloud hosting". But, true cloud hosting means that you, the customer, can log in to a web-based control panel on your hosting providers web site and spin up additional VPSes that mirror your existing VPS. This set of VPSes can use a shared database, and take turns servicing visitors to your site (this is called load balancing), all to provide a seamless experience for your visitors. Provisioning these additional VPSes increases your monthly fee, of course, but you can turn these off when no longer needed to stop the charges.
If you just need the most basic website, then really any host will do.
Take note, even though WestHost describes their datacenter as a "cloud", they are not providing cloud services. They are providing classic web hosting
If you want to build a major that's of any value to you or your site visitors, you should invest in a reputable, stable website host to provide fast, reliable, always-on access as well as solid security systems to prevent theft of data from your site or malicious defacement.
The J.D. Fox Micro website and e-mail system (including the J.D. Fox Micro Secure Website) have been hosted for many years by WestHost, an excellent company based in Utah. Although we can make no guarantees as to the appropriateness of WestHost's offerings for your particular needs, we can say that we have found their competence and reliability to be top-notch, while remaining very inexpensive for a quality web hosting provider. Also, the availability, responsiveness, technical knowledge, and customer-service skills of their technical support staff exceed those of any other technical services provider we have ever dealt with in 18 years in this business—and they're small enough that we know many of their staff by name. Do not sign up with anyone else until you have given WestHost a fair shot.