When you open a business in the physical world you need an address and a space in that address that holds your chairs tables, brochures, products and personal. Internet is no different from the brick & mortar world. For having a presence on internet you need an address we call it a DOMAIN. And you need some space for that address which is basically a hard disk space which will hold all your web pages which describe your products, your business profile, you point of contact, and all the promotional material. This space is called "HOSTING"
Visitors to your business will type your address (Your Domain name) in the browser and will be taken to your hosting where they can read about you, see your products and can interact with you You will also interact with the visitor. You can interact with several different ways i.e. Email, customer relationship software, online chat or chatting or even phone call.
Now a little more technical stuff
A web hosting is service that allows individuals and organizations to provide their own website accessible via the Internet worldwide web (www). Web hosts are companies that provide space on a round the clock fast internet connected server they may own, have it leased or rented, for use by their clients. Web servers are connected to very fast internet speeds typically in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space where once can physically keep a whole server and mange it remotely
The scope of hosting services varies widely. The most basic is web page 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 free to their subscribers. People can also obtain Web page hosting from other, alternative service providers. Personal web site hosting is typically free, advertisement-sponsored, or cheap. Business web site hosting often has a higher expense.
Single 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, Ruby on Rails, 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 highly recommended.
The host may also provide an interface or control panel for managing the Web server and installing scripts as well as other services like e-mail. 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, searchable directories can be used. One must be extremely careful when searching for a new company because many of the people promoting service providers are actually affiliates and the reviews are biased.
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 providers state that they aim for a 99.9% uptime, but there may be server restarts and planned (or unplanned) maintenance in any hosting environment.
A common 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 provider. Many providers tie uptime and accessibility into their own service level agreement (SLA). SLAs sometimes include refunds or reduced costs if performance goals are not met.
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