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This article is written by Venkat Ramaiah Chavali, pursuing a Diploma in Business Laws for In House Counsels from LawSikho.


“Business hosting is a web hosting package on a server that is shared between other users who have purchased a business hosting package.” Do you feel that the notion you had on ‘Business hosting’ before starting to read this article got fogged after reading the very first line of this introduction? Never mind, march on, just proceed to read the Scope & Outline and then go to the detailed explanation under ‘The Concept of Business Hosting’. Be assured that the fog lifts as you move ahead leading to a clear and useful understanding.

Scope & outline

The subject is vast, it is not possible to even touch all the bases, much less cover ‘all you need to know’ in an article like this. So, the scope is limited to primarily kindle interest in those who are new to or unaware of the concept and to show a pathway for businesses which are only dependent on footfall of customers and affected by the pandemic, to know enough to get started on the path of business hosting. Not that this article is not helpful for other businesses; but cannot claim to hold a candle to those businesses which are well versed in e-commerce.

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Since no previous exposure is presumed the basic idea is covered under the heading “The Concept of Business Hosting”.

“Of Business Hosting” leads a novice through the workings of business hosting almost by handholding. “Which to Choose Among Shared, VPS and Business Hosting?” will assist to choose the most suited hosting. Next is a bouquet of “Some Well-Known Sites for Business Hosting” to pick from.

To those who consider law as a necessary evil, let it be known that it is an angel too! Shorn of adjectives, law is an enabler and necessity. This aspect is covered under “Law Vis a Vis Business Hosting”.

A whiff of how the future is going to look like is given under “The Future of Business Hosting”, to make it clear that a decision to go for business hosting is not a short-term fix but a long-term solution. It is followed by “Summary and Conclusion” to recapitulate and provide a view.

Notwithstanding a detailed explanation of the concept of business hosting, a minimum exposure to Web – short for world wide web (www) – and internet terminologies is presumed on the part of the reader. Throughout this article the term internet is used in the colloquial sense and sometimes as synonymous with Web – after all this article is meant for beginners and business persons and not for academics.

Concept of business hosting

The term ‘business hosting’ belongs to internet lexicon. Hosting is to host. The dictionary meaning of host is ‘a person, place, company, or the like, that provides services, resources, etc.’ Business hosting is to host a business in this sense – not in physical space but in cyber space on the world wide web of the internet. Then why not simply call it web hosting? Because the term ‘web hosting’ already exists so the term ‘business hosting’ is introduced to indicate a nuanced difference from other types of web hosting. Nevertheless, it does belong to the family of web hosting.

To get a handle about ‘business hosting’ we need to have some general idea of (1) the Internet, and (2) computers and internet related devices and tools – SYSTEMs.

The Internet

To better understand business hosting, which is a creature of the internet, let us begin the story from the beginning and quickly fast-forward.

In the initial days of the internet, it was static. That is the user could not interact with the site, all one could do on accessing the site was to just read the contents, like an e-paper on news websites. 

Fast-forward by a few years, the generation has changed. The Web sites were no more static, most of them had some intelligence behind them, they were wise to the extent you could interact with them. This generation is designated – as is customary in the computer field – as Web 2.0, they are also referred to as collaborative or participative (or participatory) or social Web. The emphasis is on user participation/interaction with the web content. With Web 2.0 users could create content, interact with sites and with each other through social media, forums etc. 

Web 2.0 is followed by Web 3.0 which is supposed to be a third generation of internet services – a phrase coined by John Markoff of New York Times in 2006. It may be called the intelligent Web for it is semantic. Semantic in the context of Web connotes the ability to generate, share and connect content through search and analysis based on the ability to understand the meaning of words.

Then by 2016 the web-technologists started talking of Web 4.0 with augmented reality which is more intelligent. Of late we are hearing of Web 5.0 – emotional web – which interacts with the emotions (thoughts) of the people – through a contraption looking and fitting like headphones that sense, recognize, interpret and act according to your thoughts. Technology is an ever-changing and never-ending process.

It is the progress in technology that made possible Facebook, You Tube, and a host of other services like web hosting – of which business hosting is a species – and applications (what we call ‘Apps’) that are flooding the market every day and changing everything from communication to medicine to commerce to education to, life style to, … you name them! 


To round off our understanding of business hosting what we need to know of SYSTEMs are:

  1. The relation between data storage, systems, and servers.
  2. Interaction between personal system (smart phone, laptop, desktop)/business system, modem, server, and internet. 

Let me explain the contours of the above aspects with a concise explanation of the jargon we may encounter in the process – enough to make sense to those who are vaguely clear but clearly vague about these.

For brevity let us commonly refer to the personal system or a business system used by a commercial entity simply as ‘desktop’. The Private system is connected to the Modem which in turn is connected to the internet service provider (ISP).

A modem is like a telephone instrument receiving and transmitting (downloading and uploading) the data from the internet to the desktop and vice versa. 

Each desktop has an IP (Internet Protocol) address. It is like a telephone number. It enables keeping a record and tracking the system activity. IP address is also a legal requirement and is essential for investigation of cyber frauds.

In web or business hosting a web server is used in combination with a desktop. Desktop by itself has many limitations to handle online business. The table below enables me to quickly grasp this point.



Web Server

Input-output and display devices

Keyboard and Screen

Through the internet.

No separate keyboard or screen.

Storage capacity

Relatively small, in gigabytes (GB) to utmost a few terabytes (TB). 

1GB= 0.001 TB

Huge storage from terabytes to petabytes.

1 PB=1000TB (=10,00,000 GB)


Single storage. Data is lost if the device fails. 

Mirrored storage and RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Discs) mode and remote backup. 


Mostly single processor, suited for smaller applications.

Multiple processors that are designed to handle heavy workload.

Network and Power source

Single network usually powered by UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)

Multiple networks and powered by ‘N+1 redundancy’ also known as ‘parallel redundancy’* (*It is a form of resilience to ensure availability of systems in the event of a component failure).

The web server is located remotely from desktops and is connected to the web. The interaction between a desktop and the web server is through an ISP. 

Now that we got a broad-brush feel of what the internet and SYSTEMs are all about, let us zoom in to business hosting and how it will help small businesses – the scope of this article. 

Of business hosting

Business hosting is where you do online marketing as well as trade by hiring Web hosting services. Business hosting as stated earlier is a member of the Web hosting family. The other members of Web hosting are Shared hosting and VPN (Virtual Private Network) hosting. 

Avoiding all jargon, let me explain about different types of web hosting using simple analogies: 

The shared hosting can be compared to a dormitory lodging, while VPN hosting is like a rented house. The business hosting on the other hand is like a well-furnished and serviced room in a lodge. If you are thinking why not own the house? Sure, you can if you have the resources and skills to build and maintain and your business size and earnings justify. 

Which to choose among Shared, VPS and Business hosting?

Which to choose depends on your needs, wants and means. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. What is more, like one man’s meat is another man’s poison, what is an advantage for one business could be a limitation to another. 

The real choice to be made is between the VPS and Business hosting, shared hosting is for specific needs and situations, detailed below. 

As far as shared business hosting is concerned it is primarily:

  • To suit your purse and fit in to your budget.
  • If you are planning a startup and yet to commence your business.
  • If you want to figure out how web hosting works before committing yourself to it.
  • If yours is a small business with no real growth plans but to survive the pandemic.
  • If your business is not one that expects a great foot fall – so not a great traffic requirement or expectation on the web site, say maximum about 500 visitors a day to your site. 
  • If you do not need huge storage space and bandwidth.

So, once you decide that your business warrants a proper web hosting the choice is between VPS hosting and business hosting. These two are compared in a simplified form – see table below. It is more to bring some clarity to the mind of a business person to take a decision and not a bible to go by.





Disc space and availability may not be a problem if you have made the right choice.

Larger private disc space.

Higher overall availability,

Helps expand business.

Server management

In some cases, you need to manually run certain actions yourself.

It is taken care of by the provider.


Depends on the type of plan you select. More realistic your estimate of the traffic and business needs the better. If you overestimate you run the risk of spending without earning. 

Indeed, the business hosting offers better performance given the bandwidth offered by the business hosting providers. 


it is considered safe. But it also depends on who is managing, you or the provider? No provider promises 100% security.

Service provider secures but does not guarantee anything. However, if you can afford it is possible to secure your site more robustly through support services of providers. 

In summation, there are no definitive answers. Business is neither mathematics or science; to precisely zero in. Things differ from business to business, time to time and place to place. It is up to the business owner to decide which suits her/him the best. But once a decision is made to go for a business hosting some guidelines are provided below to go about.

Choosing a reliable company for small business hosting

Use the following criteria to choose an optimum hosting service:

  • Know your options. Do online shopping. Consult fellow business fraternity from the network, take the help of professionals.
  • Compare the top hosting providers. When people know that you are using a particular business hosting service, does it ring a bell? Do they recognize it? In other words, does it stand out or just another face in the crowd?

Select the ones that are established, rated well and popular. 

  • Do they offer 24X7 service support?

Review service options of various service providers and match the one that adequately caters to your needs and suits your purse.

  • Do they provide WordPress services?

(WordPress is the simplest way of creating your own website)

  • How often do they backup?
  • How secure is their server storage system?
  • Can they help with a good domain name and are they suited for your business? Consider your domain name extension based on the countries you want to do business in so that your site gets maximum hits (a hit is like a footfall, more hits, more footfalls and more business). 
  • Do they have below listed features and if yes how do they compare with those offered by other companies?
  1. Scalable server architecture
  2. Access to User friendly C panel
  3. Faster loading CPU (compare speeds)
  4. Offer SSL certificate for free (SSL: Secure Socket Layer; the certificate enables change from http to https)
  5. Free email
  6. Advanced ‘Distributed denial of service (DDOS)’ protection, etc.
  • Are they economic?

Work out the costs. Check with your budget. Use your discretion, it is better to pay a higher price that results in a low overall cost of business than just go by bean counter calculations.

There is plenty of choices. The choice is good but it is a curse too. Listen to all but keep your own counsel, nobody knows all the aspects of your business like you do. Always remember at the end of the day you pay the price and hold the baby too for better or for worse. 

Some well-known sites (companies) for business hosting

  • Bluehost web hosting providers for small businesses and website builder expert
  • GoDaddy offers a variety of services
  • HostGator
  • network solutions

Other ancillary things to do for business hosting

Your business hosting is no better than the look and feel of your website. When you take a house, it is not just the location but how it is laid out too.

Constructing a proper website

The importance of constructing a proper website cannot be overemphasized for your website is your:

  • Marketing tool
  • Advertiser and advertising
  • Show Room
  • Sales force
  • Cash counter

all rolled into one. 

You need to take care of the following while constructing – either by yourself (there are plenty of build-yourself tools available), or with experts or service providers:

  • The web pages should be neatly laid out and not cluttered.
  • Use more pictures than words to describe.
  • Do not go overboard, ensure that you deliver a little more than what you offer. Remember customer satisfaction is when they get what is offered ‘plus one’ more.
  • Do not incorporate too many clicks.
  • Make sure that it is easy to navigate to find what one wants. If more details are required, then only redirect.
  • Ensure that your site loads quickly, and navigation back and forth is easy, smooth, and fast. Avoid using packaged programs, they are loaded and take more time to show up on screen. 

All in all, it should be a pleasant experience to browse your site. The more time a visitor spends on your site captivated the better chances of making a sale.

Choose a proper domain name

Choosing the right domain name ensures more visitors to walk-in. It is not just an address – though that is what it is – but also like the façade of a building. No matter how well planned and furnished, if the façade does not make a first impression, the chances are people do not notice and even if they see it never registers and they walk away. 

Here are some tips in selecting the domain name:

  • Keep it catchy, simple, and easy to remember.
  • Make sure that it is not too close or similar to another domain name, you are inadvertently diverting visitors to some other site.
  • Make sure the name is not prone to misspelling caused by a homophone.
  • The name preferably should give a flavor of what you are offering but avoid long domain names.

Obtain the right domain name extension

Domain name extensions or TLDs (Top Level Domains) are the last part of a domain name. For example, in, google is the domain name and ‘.com’ is the extension. TLDs do matter. There are country specific extensions like ‘.in’ for India, ‘.uk’ for the United Kingdom, ‘.jp’ for Japan, etc. Where you feel buyers are likely to look for products to buy from or avoid a specific country because of trust and loyalty factors, you are better off going for country specific TLD.

If not sure, go for general but popular ones like:

  • .com – Initially meant for commercial business (of course it is now given for any who opts for it).
  • .biz – is for business.
  • .org – Conceived for use by nonprofit organizations (but like ‘.com’ now anyone can register a ‘.org’ domain name).
  • .net – Like a lot of TLDs, this one was intended for use by networks, but now anyone can register and use it. 

Advantages of business hosting

  1. Do not have to worry about forgetting to backup and data loss. Most of the business hosting will do backup daily.
  2. Less number of accounts per server (approximately a tenth of what a shared server accommodates) means faster response, shorter queues and waiting time. 
  3. Value for money – the feel of a VPN hosting while paying almost a tenth of it.
  4. Because of competition the offerings are increasing and rates are coming down.

Law vis a vis business hosting

Before dwelling into the case laws cited under this heading let me clarify to those wondering as to ‘what have we got to do with American case laws?’ For one internet is transnational, and then in India too like in America (North), UK, Australia, etc., the legal system has evolved from common law – the customary law of England based on judicial pronouncements. And so, in such matters the Indian courts do refer to and go by foreign judgments, if they are not repugnant to the Indian laws.  

Case laws to know and thank

How many times do we think – let alone stop to think – of things we are blessed with? We are blessed with a multitude of things that we take for granted, as if they are our birth right, without realizing that a right means something provided as protected by law. The Internet is one such thing, a great enabler, that we take for granted. Business hosting is a creature of the internet. We are able to enjoy the benefits of the internet as a result of the following case laws, thank the legal system for it. 

  • ProCD v. Zeidenberg (1996)

Beware!!! This case established that if you clicked to agree it is confirmed you agreed.

Well, the upheld judgment of this case in an appeal is both criticized and used by various courts subsequently. All the same it is now established that if you click, knowingly or unknowingly, you agreed anyway. Wondering why thank this case? Risky as it is, it is because of this case that today we have access to so much information that is available on the internet, be it related to medicine or ‘what or how to do?’ etc. Without this safeguard who would publish their information and advice on the internet? 

As to the risk to those who click without reading the warnings all that can be said is who can help those who even after giving everything in red, they are not read? Always remember the adapted saying of “look before you leap” for the internet – “read before you click”. Control your reflexes!

  • Zeran v. America Online, Inc (1998)

The importance of this judgment is that it allowed website owners to host third-party content by protecting them from being prosecuted if such third parties published something illegal on the owners’ websites.

It was a prank posted on AOL (America OnLine) targeting one Mr. Kenneth M Zeran, giving misleading information and his correct phone number. It happened a week after the city bombings of Oklahoma in 1995. In short, posts appeared on AOL message boards putting up for sale various items with catchy phrases like “Visit Oklahoma … it’s a BLAST!!!” and directing people to Zeran’s phone number. Zeran was bombarded with phone calls followed by abuses when an Oklahoma Radio DJ encouraged the listeners to express their outrage on Zeran.

In the suit filed by Zeran against AOL it was held that, No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”, leaving Zeran flustered. Just imagine what could have happened if the ruling were in support of Zeran’s arguments. All the internet Apps like FaceBook, LinkedIn, You Tube, etc., were to employ hundreds of employees just to scour through the material to validate. In other words, such Apps could never have materialized, forget business hosting. 

  • Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997)

It protected the online freedom of speech.

The case relates to provisions of Communications Decency Act (1996) passed by the US Congress, regulating pornography and indecent material on the internet (Web). 

The issue before the court was whether the content on the web is to be controlled or regulated like on other conventional media like print, broadcast etc. or should it be treated differently? 

The court decided that the government cannot club the adult population with children and provide them with only what is fit for children. The court suggested less restrictive ways of controlling on-line content like parent-controlled software filters.

  • Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc. (1997)

The web and internet are worldwide. The question is in cases related to the internet where the jurisdiction lies? This case helped establish what has come to be known as ‘Zippo test’, to decide the jurisdiction.

A federal court (of USA) held in this case – “… the likelihood that general jurisdiction can be constitutionally exercised is directly proportional to the nature and quality of commercial activity that an entity conducts over the internet.” This guideline gave birth to the Zippo test which asks courts to consider whether a site was “passive,” “interactive,” or “commercial” as a means to decide whether or not it should be held liable under a certain state’s laws.

  • Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon Dot Com, Inc.

The importance of this case lies in enabling the existence of sites like Google Image Search and similar services.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that the “potential harm” from (Google Image Search) linking “to Perfect 10’s market remains hypothetical” and that the search indexes were worth protecting because they provided “access to [pictorial] information on the Internet” and because “search engine technology provides an astoundingly valuable public benefit, which should not be jeopardized just because it might be used in a way that could affect somebody’s sales.” (emphasis and words in parenthesis added). 

  • Religious Technology Center v. Netcom (1995)

To cut short and put in simple words this case resolved that linking to another site does not amount to stealing the content of that site. 

Other laws and things to know about

As of date Information Technology Act, 200 is the only governing law in India.

It is important for a business using business hosting and internet to be aware of data privacy laws of countries they are transacting with to avoid litigation and deterrent penalties these laws impose –  remember the Zippo test to decide the jurisdiction? (Allusion is to Case law 4 above).

 For the sake of brevity and to stay on course they are not dealt here, those interested may refer to:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of European Union.
  • California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) of the United States of America.

Triggered by the above, most nations made or are coming up with their own versions of data protection regulations and laws. India has introduced a Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 pending enactment by Parliament.

Future of business hosting

The future of business hosting by providers is briefly discussed here for it is a harbinger of the kind of things to come and the need for the businesses to move to e-commerce. 

More and more businesses are taking the business hosting route for the future. Gone are the days of people going to market to buy things. They have other priorities and physical marketing is a chore, online shopping is becoming a norm. The pandemic if any has only accelerated the pace. According to Business Industry Reports (BIR) an exclusive research report: Global managed hosting business in 2020-2025 period will grow powered and driven by advancements in technology (do recall the discussion on how Web technology has grown from initial static stage to present Web 5.0 under the subheading ‘Internet’ of heading ‘The Concept of Business Hosting’).

The future lies in business hosting!

Summary and conclusion

  • Business hosting is a nuanced form of Web hosting, suited for certain small and medium size businesses.
  • The growth in web technology and the extension of internet into world wide web made Web hosting possible.
  • There are many types of Web hosting and one needs to select the most suited option for the type of business.
  • Due diligence in selecting the company, constructing an attractive and user-friendly website are a must for reaping the benefits of business hosting.
  • The rapid growth in use of the internet is the result of certain pragmatic and groundbreaking judgments that removed the hurdles encouraging investment in research and development of technology. 
  • The future of business is in e-commerce and for small to medium size traders and entrepreneurs business hosting is turning out to be a preferred route to take. 

Curse as the pandemic is on the humans by the humans the prudent business persons can avail it as an opportunity to pole-vault with technology to clear the bar and land safely ahead of others and in time. Make no mistake, it is not because of the pandemic but irrespective of the pandemic the future is in business hosting. 



[2] Article by Matt Stroud in The Verge

[3] The e-mail Shop (UK) Blog

[4] Images are from Google Images


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