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Web Hosting - Bandwidth and Server Load, What's That?
Two key performance metrics will impact every web site owner sooner or later: bandwidth and server load.
Bandwidth is the amount of network capacity available, and the term actually covers two different aspects. 'Bandwidth' can mean the measure of network capacity for web traffic back and forth at a given time. Or, it sometimes is used to mean the amount that is allowed for some interval, such as one month. Both are important.
As files are transferred, emails sent and received, and web pages accessed, network bandwidth is being used. If you want to send water through a pipe, you have to have a pipe. Those pipes can vary in size and the amount of water going through them at any time can also vary.
Total monthly bandwidth is a cap that hosting companies place on sites in order to share fairly a limited resource. Companies monitor sites in order to keep one site from accidentally or deliberately consuming all the network capacity. Similar considerations apply to instantaneous bandwidth, though companies usually have such large network 'pipes' that it's much less common for heavy use by one user to be a problem.
Server load is a more generic concept.
It often refers, in more technical discussions, solely to CPU utilization. The CPU (central processing unit) is the component in a computer that processes instructions from programs, ordering memory to be used a certain way, moving files from one place to the next and more.
Every function you perform consumes some CPU and its role is so central (hence the name) that it has come to be used as a synonym for the computer itself. People point to their case and say 'That is the CPU'. But, the computer actually has memory, disk drive(s) and several other features required in order to do its job.
Server load refers, in more general circumstances, to the amount of use of each of those other components in total.
Disk drives can be busy fetching files which they do in pieces, which are then assembled in memory and presented on the monitor, all controlled by instructions managed by the CPU.
Memory capacity is limited. It's often the case that not all programs can use as much as they need at the same time. Special operating system routines control who gets how much, when and for how long, sharing the total 'pool' among competing processes.
So, how 'loaded' the server is at any given time or over time is a matter of how heavily used any one, or all, of these components are.
Why should you care?
Because every web site owner will want to understand why a server becomes slow or unresponsive, and be able to optimize their use of it.
When you share a server with other sites, which is extremely common, the traffic other sites receive creates load on the server that can affect your site. There's a limited amount you can do to influence that situation. But if you're aware of it, you can request the company move you to a less heavily loaded server. Or, if the other site (which you generally have no visibility to) is misbehaving, it's possible to get them moved or banned.
But when you have a dedicated server, you have much more control over load issues. You can optimize your own site's HTML pages and programs, tune a database and carry out other activities that maximize throughput. Your users will see that as quicker page accesses and a more enjoyable user experience.
Free Webhosting Resources for the Intrepid Net Newbie Web hosting is the new, big invention for anybody and anyone. Web hosting, having a web page on the Internet is not only a thing of big company and computer hobbyists anymore; it belongs to many parts of life nowadays. Whether it is a private page for family members and friends or open to everybody, many people aspire to have their own web page. Having an own web page can cost money and since money is something that everybody is short of nowadays, saving money and still having a own web page is the way to go. There are many resources on the Internet that can help one to a free web page. Some of the bigger web-hosting providers offer free limited size web pages to any private party. These pages are financed in several ways. One is through he bigger companies that pay for their pages and this service is such a small off spin that it can be fit in the budget. Another big way, the one that many free Internet and homepage providers offer is built in advertisement. The web page essentially has a header. In this header, different advertisements roll across. This way, the web hosting is paid by whoever is advertising on the web page. These wonderful free online web page providers also offer quick and easy software to create a web page. The days when one had to know how to program a web page in HTML is over. Hyper Text only needs to be known by serious web page designers who work to create the homepages of companies and sports giants. For the everyday homepage with a few links, using one of the built in software can create a few pictures, some text and some other fun gadgets. These programs are usually available on the main page of the web hosting provider and do not have to be downloaded. They run on the server. This software also come with easy getting started guides so that even the person who knows not much about web pages, but a little bit about the PC can create a web page. Web pages for the general public are getting more and more popular. Some companies that are looking for young and innovative employees will actually expect you to have an e-portfolio, a résumé or a good online web page. They judge by these e-portfolios. So when someone decides to tackle his or her first own web page it is important to think about the content first. One never knows who might actually be checking out the web page. Displaying Photos from old drinking parties might not be the best choice, while a résumé and work or private accomplishments might be the better choice. To find one of the free web hosting resource sites, anybody can just type free web pages or home pages or web hosting into anyone of the popular Internet search engine and a dozen different offers will pop up on the screen. By the way, if one does not want to use a provider that displays advertisement on the web page, a tech savvy person is able to use his or her own PC as a server if it is connected to the internet. There are programs out there, that will turn a PC into a Server and this web hosting resource is just as free as the online offers from big companies, but it has the advantage that it is free of any annoying advertisements. Whichever version is chosen, it is always important to be careful on the Internet. There are fraudulent pages, viruses and more that can take the fun out of web hosting and the first own web page. Always checking for the credentials of a web page is one safe way to stay clear of danger on the Internet.
Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad. Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily. Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams. A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'. A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path. Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy. That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place. And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later. One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem. Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine. The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.