What is a hosting?
“Hosting” (coming from the word “host”) defines a service that allows enterprises and individuals to make their projects available on the Internet. In most cases, when speaking of hosting, one means Internet hosting or web hosting.
If you want your data to be available on the Internet as web pages, if you want to manage it and allow users access at your discretion, you can make use of this service, choosing the type that is most suitable for you.
Hosting is organized in the following way: a hosting services provider stores your files on their server or several servers, and depending on the type of hosting you chose, makes your information accessible on the Internet. This can be, for example, your site or web server, any web service, etc.
Hosting functionality can be either full or partial. Fully functional hosting includes storage and maintenance of your own web project, should it be a site, an online store, or a corporate document repository.
Such types of hosting services as file hosting, mail hosting, DNS hosting, game services or wiki services, are classified as hosting with partial functionality.
Such hosting allows deployment of your data on the Internet free of charge. You need to keep such things in mind here as a low security level, a certain amount of advertising on your site, and low speed of working with the host.
The same server of the provider contains web projects of several customers at once. Each client has the certain amount of disk space, RAM, a remote graphical interface or a terminal console for managing the service. This type of hosting is quite suitable for non resource intensive web projects.
Virtual private server
This kind of hosting guarantees a part of the provider’s disk space and processor power of their physical server where you are placing your virtual server. For the virtual server, you are the fully-fledged administrator comparable to the level of a dedicated server.
Here you have no limitations on the purposes you are going to use the virtual dedicated server for, apart from the limitations imposed by the physical resources of the provider’s server.
A dedicated server is a physical server you rent from the provider. The server is located at the data center of the provider who ensures its safety and seamless Internet access, and performs maintenance and repair of the server. Everything that involves selection of software for such a server, and its administration, is completely up to you.
You are provided with physical space at the provider’s data center to accommodate your equipment, be it one server or multiple servers, network equipment or any other equipment that can fit in the rented space. Here, the provider ensures continuous and uninterruptible power supply of the room, physical security, and possibility for you to perform maintenance of the equipment placed at the provider’s premises.
In this case, the provider allows you to use some of their resources for you to implement your projects. These can be multiple servers and other computing machinery, the main purpose of which is providing you with everything you need for the task in hand.
For example, to implement a large web project you may need several hard disks to store your data, several processor cores to do the calculations, a separate physical mail server, and many other things. In such a case, cloud hosting is ideal for your project.
How to choose a hosting provider?
High-quality hosting must not show a perceptible difference in working with a remote resource compared to working on your own servers. High speed and uninterrupted operation are the key indicators of the hosting services quality.
Nevertheless there are the following factors you should pay attention to when choosing a hosting provider.
The provider’s technical provision and resources
When planning to expand your web project or to increase the load on it, you should make sure that the provider’s technical capabilities will be able to support the further development of your project.
The pricing plan offered to you must be not only acceptable in terms of price/quality but also flexible in case of changes to your project, allow for concluding ancillary agreements and provide the required additional resources.
Servicing and support
24/7 technical support is provided by most providers, which is an important point for further work with them, but it makes sense to verify the quality of the support and the promptness of their reaction to your queries. For this purpose, you can refer to feedback from the provider’s clients, or address the support service directly with a complicated question.
Backup of your data to the provider’s special servers ensures protection of your project in an emergency situation. Pay attention to the backup frequency: it must be performed at least 1-2 times per week.
Operation speed and channel loading rate
For the projects to function efficiently, the operation speed is most important for high-quality access to the data, especially if there is going to be a great number of users working with the project. The channel loading rate has a direct impact on the operation speed, therefore this parameter is very important too.
Continuous operation time
The period of time, during which the web site or remote server were continuously accessible, can in fact be measured by various programs, but chances of an error happening are high here. The actual value for this parameter can be obtained only empirically. You can use feedback from the provider’s clients.
What kind of hosting is suitable for you?
The easiest way to choose the kind of hosting is to set your goals and tasks before the provider, and to receive professional recommendations on selection of the technical provision and the pricing plan for you from them.
To illustrate the differences between the kinds of hosting and to understand them better, let’s make a comparison of this ordering this service to choosing a running track for athletes to train.
The free hosting variant is similar to training at a public outdoor stadium where many people can train at the same time, adverse weather conditions can ruin your training session, there is no medical aid in case of injury, and other factors interfering with an efficient and safe training session are present.
Shared hosting is like a commercial indoor stadium with the well-equipped running tracks, tidyness control in the room and safety of the training sessions. There can be a great number of people training simultaneously too, which will limit your freedom of movement and speed, but there are significantly fewer external factors interfering with the training session.
With a virtual private server, you will have a running track in a well-equipped gym at your complete disposal. You have to follow certain rules and restrictions at the gym (the surface quality of the running track, the air temperature, etc.), there still will be other athletes training on the tracks next to you, which can potentially cause an emergency.
This is the perfect variant if you are satisfied with the quality of services offered and the servicing, that is a VPS hosting.
A dedicated server is an analogy to renting the entire stadium. Here you have complete freedom, not only of moving but also of organizing your schedule and installing certain additional equipment (by agreement with the lessor) at your own choice.
The service of equipment colocation is like renting a training compound that probably contains other facilities aside from a stadium for running. Cloud hosting is similar to using separate rooms or services in different parts of the training compound: for example, a fitness club, several changing rooms and a volleyball court three days per week.
The most widely used kinds of hosting at the moment are the following ones:
- shared hosting: it makes sense to order it for low-load web sites, information sites, and sites that are rather static in content
- virtual private server hosting is a variant for online showcases and online stores, information portals, official web sites of organizations, and for many other things. VPS hosting is the most flexible one for solving a wide range of tasks, it is easy to control, and relieves you from solving many technical problems, including ones of safety and servicing
- dedicated server: it is reasonable to consider it for large projects, big online stores, etc, but you should keep in mind that the responsibility you bear for servicing the server will increase here as well.