LIS 525 - ISPs and Web Hosting
What is an ISP?
An ISP (Internet Service Provider),
or IAP (Internet Access Provider),
is a company that provides access to the Internet.
ISPs are connected to the rest of the Internet
through Network Access Points (NAPs).
Users may be individuals
or large or small companies or other organizations.
Kinds of connection that customers may use include
dial-in at different speeds (e.g., 56Kbps),
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
(which both operate over copper telephone lines),
T1 (DS1) or T3 leased line,
and OC (Optical Carrier) fiber optic line.
What is Web hosting?
(or Web site hosting)
is the provision of equipment and services
to maintain, and make accessible over the Internet,
files for one or more Web sites.
Rates vary from "free" up,
depending on the ISP or Web hosting service
and the services provided.
Additional charges are often incurred for setup,
for use beyond certain limits,
and for extra services such as Web hosting.
Lower rates may be given to charities and other nonprofits.
Various services may be provided.
- A software package to facilitate access (e.g., AOL).
- For some types of services,
a special modem.
- For dial-up access,
a username, password, and phone number.
- A shell account
(a dialup account based on a Unix command-line interface).
- Access to Internet services.
- World Wide Web.
- Mail forwarding.
- Web based interface.
- List server.
- Direct TCP/IP connections.
- Virtual Private Networking (VPN).
- Information on your account(s).
- Web hosting.
- Disk space.
- Domain name registration.
- DNS record hosting.
- Server extensions (e.g., for FrontPage),
so that interactive features can be used.
- SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
- Technical support
- Online help pages.
Policies are mostly designed to protect the service provider
and cover such areas as the following.
- Access rights
including NSF fees.
- Selecting and changing passwords and login names.
- Temporary and permanent suspension and cancellation.
- Acceptable use
and remedies for abuses.
- Oversold bandwidth.
- Taking on too many customers.
- Too many dial in lines
for the bandwidth of the Internet connection.
- Misrepresentation of services.
- Claiming to have a higher bandwidth line than they do.
- Promising special services that do not materialize.
- Going out of business
(especially if customers have paid in advance).
- Lack of security.
- Lax policies or policy enforcement
(causing the entire service to be put on blacklists
because of spamming by some subscribers, for example).
- Limitations to Web hosting services
- MIME types
- Scripting and other server extensions
- Number of concurrent connections allowed
- Monthly bandwidth allowed
- Control over HTTP headers, like Cache-Control
- Inadequacy of technical help.
- Too few staff or lines.
- Limited times.
- Delays in responding.
- Inability to deal with problems.
- Added charges for help
or long distance telephone calls.
- Inadequate redundancy.
- Inadequate backup.
- Relying on a single Tier 1 upstream carrier.
(If this carrier goes down,
most of the Internet will be inaccessible;
or, if a peering arrangement with another Tier 1 carrier is terminated,
a part of the Internet may become inaccessible.)
For More Information
- Bissonnette, M. 2007.
Canadian ISP - Find an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Canada.
(Information on about 350 ISPs serving cities in Canada.
Results are displayed in random order,
except that sponsors are listed first.)
- Good Web Hosting Info. 2007.
Good Web Hosting Info.
(Basic advice on choosing a Web hosting service.)
- Jupitermedia. 2007.
Canadian Nationwide ISPs.
(Links to ISPs offering dial-up and dedicated services in Canada.)
- NuMedia Internet. 2007.
HostIndex.com Web Hosting Directory
- Web Hosting Resource Since 1998.
(Provides quite a detailed search capability,
including geographical to province level,
and a number of other criteria;
also links to articles.)
- The Spamhaus Project. 2007.
The Spamhaus Project - SBL.
(Tool to check an IP number
to see whether it has been used to send spam.)
- Spring, T. 2003.
"ISPs Push Bonus Services".
(On some premium services offered by major ISPs.)
- W3Centric Network. 2007.
Web Hosting Stuff - 6,997 Hosting Companies Rated & Reviewed.
(Allows search by category, price, disk space, and bandwidth,
but not geographically or by method of payment.
- Web Host Weekly. 2007.
Web Host Magazine and Buyer's Guide:
Web Host Reviews, News, & Resources.
(Includes a list and reviews of Web host finders
and some warnings about trusting on-line ratings.)
- WebHostingTalk.com. 2007.
Web Hosting Talk -
The largest, most influential web hosting community
on the Internet.
(Various on-line discussion groups
on topics related to Web hosting.)
Last updated October 31, 2007.
This page maintained by
Prof. Tim Craven
E-mail (text/plain only): firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty of Information and
University of Western
Canada, N6A 5B7