Decoding Web Hosting Reviews, Part I: ASP to FrontPage
Web hosts come under many names: ASP Hosting, Cold Fusion Hosting, Java Hosting, PHP Hosting; and as such, so must web hosting reviews. When scouring the various web hosting reviews in print and on the internet to help find the web host that most addresses your specific and unique needs, you’ll come across many of these “names”, these specialized types of web hosting products. Many of them you may not need, but the one or two that you do, you may need a lot. Knowing which types of hosting products you require most will help you review web hosting reviews with a keener (and therefore more efficient, effective, and economical) eye.
If the web hosting review mentions ASP Hosting, it’s referring to Active Server Pages, a technology that resolves a problem HTML-users have in getting their web pages to appear exactly as they intend them to appear on every visitor’s computer. ASP uses something called “server-side scripting” to enable you to create uniform web pages regardless of the web browser your visitors are using.
If the web hosting review mentions Colocation Hosting, it means that you would actually own the hardware the datacenter uses to run your website. With colocation hosting, you physically purchase a server and bring it to the datacenter and install it and maintain it yourself. For less cost than a dedicated server, you get the benefits of a datacenter (connectivity, environmental regulation, security, uninterruptible power) while maintaining 100% control over what your server does and does not do. The caveat: anything you want done, you’ve got to do yourself. Colocation hosting is a DIY (do-it-yourself) situation.
If the web hosting review mentions Cold Fusion Hosting, it refers to database software developed by Macromedia, the same team who brought us Flash and Shockwave. Cold fusion allows web interactivity with your databases, meaning that you can query, index, update, and chart your databases all from your web browser.
If the web hosting review mentions FrontPage Hosting it means you get support and — most importantly — server extensions for using Microsoft FrontPage software to create your website. FrontPage lets you create dynamic and interactive websites that you can’t achieve with HTML alone. A FrontPage host (and only a FrontPage host) has FrontPage server extensions enabled, which allows you to bypass using an intermediary FTP client in order to publish your site. FrontPage server extensions give you the power to include hit counters, forms, discussion forums, and search functionality in your website, as well as empowering you with multi-user authoring, and remote authoring and administration for better managing your site.
Keep in mind: a single web hosting provider may very well offer many of these hosting services, and quite likely many others not mentioned here. Check the web hosting reviews you read very carefully to find out which hosting services each web host offers.
See Part II of this article next week to learn about web hosting reviews for Java hosting, MySQL hosting, PHP hosting, SSH hosting, and Windows hosting.