The Growth of the Internet
Approximately twenty years have passed since the birth of what we now understand to be the internet. Once limited in scope and usability, it used to be simply something for the more technology savvy amongst us to shop online, check the sports results, read the news through a dedicated ISP such as CompuServe or America On Line (AOL) and not much else. AOL had a comprehensive chat room and instant messaging service that made it popular with the younger generation; it stood out as the exception rather than the rule in making the web a social platform. Soon afterward, there was a veritable explosion in internet providers that did not offer the sort of packages that those two offered; they merely gave an internet connection at a much more affordable price. Now it seems everybody is online with social media, blogs, vlogs, online shopping, sharing of homemade videos and photographs and online diaries; the applications are almost endless as we now live in an online world. It would have been unthinkable just a few short years before this boom but now, anybody can upload content to the internet, buy a domain and create personal websites.
Here’s Your Special Host
Conventionally, web hosting is done through a company that owns the server. People or businesses buy space (or are provided with some for free by their ISP) on that server and upload their website through FTP software (File Transfer Protocol) generally provided as part of the package. From here it is a relatively simple affair to build and upload your own website and it has become much easier in recent years to design a site. This is the norm and perfectly suitable for single personal websites but businesses usually require something a little extra. They might need platform support or development packages for Java or ASP.NET for example which allows the customer to upload their own scripts and customise their site. Generally, these will be stored on a single server much like the personal websites, but with much more interactivity. The drawback of a single server is quite clear – it will cause a business to lose money if a provider’s website goes down for any length of time. This also does not take into account accessibility of websites for other reasons as sometimes web pages are down for other problems when the server is otherwise functioning normally.
When a Storm Hits
Due to new technological advances, it is easier to compensate for the problems associated with a single server. We call this technology ‘Cloud’. It is a word we hear almost daily, especially for those with Smartphone’s. It seems to have arrived on the scene quickly without any great explanation for what it is or does. But it is simple in that it is about creating a server that is interconnected as it uses the web itself as a server rather than millions of nodes connecting to it. The benefit is that with Cloud connectivity, you can access your data anywhere that you have internet connection and with mobile internet on tablets or Smartphone’s, this is far easier than it used to be. It is no great surprise then that there is now a new concept in web hosting based around Cloud technology. It uses several clustered servers to provide you with access to your online content. This gives you greater security and with the redundancy of multiple systems, greater stability and options for when things go wrong. If you suddenly have a massive increase in web hits, there will be no slowdown or crash as the server is put under pressure. Cloud hosting is in its infancy admittedly but the benefits are immediate and apparent.
About the Author: Ian Appleton is a writer who believes that cloud storage is one of the best ways these days to store and access your material. He recommends researching website hosting services to understand what each offers to help you choose the one which offers you the best deal for what you need.
License: Creative Commons image source