Linux Web Hosting

By Jeremiah Collins

Today our lives are intermingled with the Internet. We turn to the Internet for pleasure, work, information, banking and what not. We watch web-sites and web-pages with no second thought. It is very similar to reading a printed matter; without any concern for who printed it; or how it was printed; or how it was bound and published; how many copies were printed, etc. For a web-page, we care nothing about how it reached our computer screen; how it was made; or for that matter, who made it. Same as for the printed matter, we are more interested in the contents. However, the people involved with the publication of the web-pages and those who have to maintain the web-sites, must have an in-depth knowledge about Web Hosting.

The main ingredients necessary for web-hosting are, a rugged computer with memory and hard disk, running a server OS, a web-server package, a database package and a package to handle web-pages. The LAMP-server setup matches this requirement very well. LAMP stands for the combination of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Here Linux is the Operating System; Apache the web-server; MySQL is the database; PHP handles the web-pages. This combination is attractive for the simple reason that it fulfills all the requirements that a web-host requires, at the same time providing the necessary Stability, Security and Scalability.

Linux stability is well documented. The up-time of a Linux server is nearly 99.9%, meaning there is only 1 chance in 10,000 that a Linux-server will stall on account of OS failure. Most non-availability of a Linux-server are the result of a disrupted Internet connection or a hardware failure. However, there are some more links in the chain between the Linux-server and the ultimate viewer of the web-page, which govern the availability of the web-page. DNS servers are one such link.

Next in line is security. A web-host needs protection from virii, trojans, rootkits and the like, which threaten to disrupt the whole show. Any breach in security could lead to deliberate misinformation being sent out, ruining the credibility of the organization whose web-page gets affected. As a system, security measures are taken to periodically look for breaches and plugging them. One feature which helps system administrators in securing their Web-hosts, is that all the softwares used in LAMP are open-source. Open-source softwares enjoy the backing of a large community of developers, who pitch in en-mass at the slightest hint of any problem. Security issues or holes as they are known, get plugged in no time at all, further improving the system.

Scalability is another feature LAMP-servers can boast of. One of the major advantages is you can start small and progressively add accounts as you build-up your business. Since LAMP-server components are all Open-Source, you need not worry about copyright infringement. Also, initial expenditure is only a little more than the hardware cost. LAMP-server can either be dedicated or shared, or even virtual, allowing you to add users at will, at the same time, providing each user the full use of all resources. Linux being a multitasking OS, handles such simultaneous tasks with simple ease. Linux is also capable of parallel computing, which helps in further scalability.

Ripple Web can help you get started with enterprise-grade LAMP servers that will fit your budget.