An Internet hosting service is a service that runs Internet servers, allowing organizations and individuals to serve content to the Internet. There are various levels of service and various kinds of services offered.
A common kind of hosting is web hosting. Most hosting providers offer a combined variety of services. Web hosting services also offer e-mail hosting service.
Generic, yet rather powerful, kinds of Internet hosting provide a server where the clients can run anything they want (including web servers and other servers) and have Internet connections with good upstream bandwidth.
Full-featured internet hosting services include:
- Dedicated hosting service, also called managed hosting service, where the hosting service provider owns and manages the machine, leasing full control to the client. Management of the server can include monitoring to ensure the server continues to work effectively, backup services, and installation of security patches and various levels of technical support.
- Virtual private server, in which visualization technology is employed in order to allow multiple logical servers to run on a single physical server
- Co-location facilities, which provide just the Internet connection, uninterruptible power and climate control, but let the client do his own system administration; the most expensive
- Cloud hosting, which can also be termed time-share or on-demand hosting, in which the user only pays for the system time and space used, and capacity can be quickly scaled up or down as computing requirements change.
Limited or application-specific hosting services include: File hosting service, Web hosting service, E-mail hosting service, DNS hosting service, Game server.
Internet hosting services include the required Internet connection; they may charge a flat rate per month or charge per bandwidth used — a common payment plan is to charge for the 95th percentile bandwidth.
An Internet host can be a machine or an application connected to the Internet that has an Internet Protocol address (IP address). An IP address is used to uniquely identify every host on the Internet. Because these IP address are unique, they can be used as the source and destination IP addresses in any IP based communication. At the most basic level, Internet hosts fall into two categories, Servers and Clients.