These days, to say that for a business to have an online presence is ‘important’ is similar to saying that they might do well to have a telephone. The Internet has not only become a profound tool for settling domestic disputes over general knowledge facts, it is also the way we evaluate and base our decisions on places we’re going to visit, people we’re going to date and also the businesses we plan to spend our money with.

Websites are important – fact. Websites enable businesses to sell their goods and services to a global community almost immediately and without a single employee ever having to leave the office – also a fact.

But what of the hardware behind those types of headlines? What are the technologies that need to be in place behind the scenes to keep screens full, information scrolling and handle the shifting needs of potentially rapidly scaling businesses with vast numbers of website visitors?

Internet hosting services allow individuals and organisations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. But what type of service do you choose?

What’s available?

Shared hosting solution – The most popular and least expensive of all paid hosting options, whereby a website shares server space with others. A user has complete access to their account and only their account and a set amount of resources and features. Most individuals, small businesses, medium sized businesses and moderately trafficked web sites will thrive in a shared hosting environment.

VPS hosting solution – VPS or Virtual Private Servers, for many, offer an ideal balance between price and performance. With this solution, a physical server is virtually divided into several smaller, fully secure and isolated servers and users share the full resources with significantly fewer other customers. This offers far more capacity and flexibility and is ideal for very busy, application-rich websites that have perhaps outgrown shared hosting and require more resources than shared or plans provide. VPS solutions offer root access and the ability to use scripts that may not be allowed in a shared hosting environment. They can also be easily scalable to changing levels of traffic and host separate additional websites.

Dedicated hosting solution – Dedicated servers are the private garages of the web hosting world – secure, reliable, stable and able to be utilised in any way a business requires. Apart from operating in-house servers, these represent the most expensive hosting solutions and appeal to businesses with very high traffic levels. They enable active, growing businesses to choose precisely how their hosting is managed, on independent equipment, in a controlled environment with redundancies in place to ensure increased business can always be accommodated. Web traffic surges which might overload a server running close to capacity, with a dedicated option can be managed efficiently.

Picking the perfect partner

To the majority of individuals and business owners, what web host actually do, the differences between the various competing providers and the differing packages they offer, mean little, if anything. While they play a fundamental role in keeping the World Wide Web ticking, these are services commonly unseen and unconsidered – provided by men and machinery tucked away in a basement and only becoming an issue if there is a problem.

But as businesses become increasingly reliant on their web presence, now, more than ever, the time spent checking under the hood, to make sure that if a business needs to put its proverbial foot down there’s enough capacity, is well worth it.

It is a highly competitive industry and therefore it’s common to find affordable solutions rich in features. As stated earlier, the majority of individuals, small to medium sized businesses with moderately trafficked web sites will find that shared hosting is a perfectly suited and cost effective service.

For the webs’ goliaths which are generating significant incomes and relying heavily on their websites, a comprehensive dedicated server solution will be the only choice that gives provides unlimited scalability and flexibility.

And for those which lie somewhere in the middle, there are Virtual Private Servers. Seen by many as the best of both worlds, these can be both cost effective and offer fast growth companies, peace of mind and adaptability.