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Web hosting is a connection to the Internet to provide the necessary space for websites. The actual space is provided by web hosting companies who make their servers available for a monthly fee. Web hosting is a portion of a package that provides web connectivity, email, viewing and purchase capabilities for ecommerce sites and data centers to keep track of it all.

The opportunities in web hosting have exploded over the years. There are the hosting companies that started as a small business to allow the owner to work his way through college and others have started as large, corporate entity without the benefit of gradual growth.

The scope of web hosting varies a great deal. Basic web hosting is for web pages and small file scale hosting. Files are typically uploaded through the file transfer protocol (FTP) or a web interface program.  Those two methods work on the “as is” basis, which means the file is not processed in any way.

There are hosting services that offer web space at no cost or for a small fee. The no cost sites are supported by advertisers who buy space from the host and those advertisements appear on the individual web sites set up by its members.  ISP providers will include a certain amount of web space for their paying customers and allow them to set up a simple web page. Web hosting companies charge a small fee for its web site space and generally have different packages at a cost commensurate to the services involved.

Personal web pages are usually accommodated with single page hosting. A business or ecommerce site is typically more complicated than a personal web page and requires a more comprehensive web hosting package and includes database support and application development platform. The application platforms allow customers to install favorite scripts, and applications such as guest books, forums, message boards, blogs and secure socket layers (SSL) for ecommerce sites.

The web hosting services sometimes provide a control panel that allows the customer to manage their websites in an easy and efficient manner. There are some web hosting services that provide application modules, such as email as a part of the hosting packages.

The websites availability is measured by the percentage of time, usually a year, in which the website is available to the public.  There is a formula that determines the availability of time. That number is important for advertising purposes as it is used to promote the reliability of a hosting service.