Albanese Consulting, Inc.
"Information Technology Solutions for Small Business"
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hosting 101

"A Buying Guide to Web & Application Hosting"
If you are new to the concepts of web or data hosting, this guide will give you some of the basic concepts to allow you to make an intelligent decision when purchasing hosting services from us or any other solutions provider. So lets begin...

Shared or Virtual Hosting
Shared or Virtual Hosting is the most common type of hosting service that clients request. Your web site and/or database resides on a server with other web sites and their users. Security is setup so that other users on that server cannot access or modify your files and/or databases. Typically this is sufficient for most clients' needs, however the one drawback is that you share the server's memory other clients. If one web site causes the server to perform below standard during peaks site visitor times or it is being compromised by a hacker, then other sites MAY suffer along with it. However, this is typically the most cost effective and popular solution which works just fine for most organizations.

Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting can be used for hosted applications, online applications or web sites conforming to security compliance standards, such as HIPAA regulations. This is also a typical solution for sites with a large amount of traffic that will require all the resources of the server. When leasing a dedicated server, the server is yours alone and flexibility increases dramatically. For example, you will have the ability to install custom software applications that the provider may or may not support on a regular basis for shared hosting clients. All hardware and software configuration is the responsibility of the hosting company. In addition to these features, dedicated servers also have the benefit advanced DNS management, multiple IPs and advanced or dedicated firewall configurations.

Co-located Hosting
Co-located hosting is much like dedicated hosting except for the hardware or server is sent to the hosting provider preconfigured and co-located in their facility. Once again, you send the hosting company a server and pay them to plug it into their network and use their bandwidth. All hardware and software and configuration is the responsibility of the client prior to sending the server to the hosting company.

Managed vs. Unmanaged
Managed and Unmanaged applies to dedicated and co-located hosting customers. Managed servers indicate that the server administration is done by the hosting provider. This typically includes software and hardware updates as well as security monitoring and troubleshooting certain issues. Unmanaged indicates that the server is setup with some remote software, such as Terminal Services, to take control of the server and administration is performed remotely by the client. Unmanaged services are typically for technically competent clients.

Firewall Service
When leasing a dedicated server, you may choose to use a seperate firewall, in which the provider sets up on their network infrastructure. This firewall will only process packets for your dedicated server(s), while adhering to your custom security needs. These firewalls can be either managed by the provider or the client, depending on technical aptitude. A dedicated firewall allows for more control over security, ports and packet filtering.

When Choosing A Hosting Provider
When choosing a hosting provider, be sure to ask some important questions that will make your experience and project success more probable. Here are some tips and questions that you should always ask!!

  • Cut throat pricing means cut throat service
  • Do they offer at least 99% uptime
  • Do they offer email, traffic reporting and search engine registration
  • Do they have UPS battery backups in the event of an electrical outage
  • Will your site have firewall protection
  • Do their servers have anti-virus software
  • Will they cater to your custom hosting needs
  • Are they a reseller or middleman that sells for another company
  • Does their service include automatic backups for your
  • What are the typical hold times for service calls
  • Will you have phone support, email-only correspondence or both
  • What are their support hours
  • Do they have a staff to support you during site development phases
  • How long have they been in business
  • Ask for customer references

All of our hosting services come with a guaranteed 99.5% uptime, world class customer support, data backups, 24x7x365 support and support from our elite group of in house consultants.

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