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What is Server Hosting?

To make the best decisions about an organization’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of the function of web servers and server hosting. Many terms related to computers and the Internet are used casually or incorrectly, making a technical topic challenging to understand.

However, with a functional understanding of how the Internet works, the context to make decisions on subjects such as server hosting becomes much easier.

What is Server Hosting?

Server hosting is an IT service, typically offered by a cloud service provider, that provides remote access to off-premises virtual or physical servers and associated resources for a monthly subscription or usage-based price. Server hosting lets IT teams provision and start using application and data servers without the up-front cost, delays, and labor of purchasing, setting up, managing, and maintaining physical server hardware themselves, on-site.

server hosting

Why choose Server Hosting?

Today companies and individuals use server hosting for a lot of reasons. Some use it for developing and testing, some use it to have more secure backup and disaster recovery options and others use it for application delivery and CDN (Content Delivery Network). But most use it because compared to buying and maintaining the servers themselves server rental offers these advantages:

  • Faster deployment: If you purchase the server by yourself you will have to wait for the delivery of the parts, and lose manpower and time for deploying and setting it up. All of this can be done in minutes with server hosting. This will make the idea you had in your mind be developed, tested, and put on the market faster.
  • No strain on the budget. Predictable ongoing costs: Instead of paying all the money up-front for computer hardware keep in mind that computer hardware is a depreciating asset. With server hosting, you just pay a predictable monthly plan or usage rate. This will cover all the expenses of the hardware, power, networking, and 24/7 maintenance.
  • Simplicity in scaling: If you buy your own servers, you will need to buy a lot more than you need, to cover spikes in usage, which means most of the time you will need to have some portion of your servers just sitting and not doing a thing, but the up-front investment was done and now you have a capital that could have been used on other things locked in hardware that is depreciating every minute but does not do anything. With server hosting, this is not necessary. When you predict a spike in usage (seasonal sale, test of new app) you just rent more servers to cover it, and when the spike is done you just stop. This way you only pay for the time you need them.

What are the different types?

There are many different types of server hosting delivery models that aim to help IT users and businesses achieve varying degrees of technical and financial results. Here are the most common:

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is an inexpensive way to host simple, low-traffic websites and blogs. Server resources are divided up into smaller shared hosting plans to give users an easy way to have a web presence. There can be hundreds or thousands of shared hosting accounts on a single server depending on how the hosting provider sets it up. Server resources are shared across all accounts.

VPS Hosting

VPS (virtual private server) hosting offers a kind of next-level multi-tenant hosting – each tenant shares some, but not all, of the resources of a single hardware server and gets a little more control over the hosting environment. Each VPS runs its own operating system (OS) and applications, and it reserves its own portion of the machine’s resources (memory, computing, etc.).

VPS provides more control over system specifications, guest operating systems, and the overall software stack. It’s also the most easily and affordably scalable form of server hosting, making it an excellent choice for eCommerce systems, email servers, CRM, and other applications that typically bear moderate or spiky traffic.

Dedicated Server Hosting

In dedicated server hosting you only have one client on the server, he has exclusive access to ALL of the resources of one server. This is the model that provides the most security, from other clients hosted by the same cloud provider. You have a choice of three different hosting models.

  • A dedicated host provides single client access to one physical server and all of the software installed on it. By choosing this model you get the most transparent and flexible options when it comes to hardware and workload placement, plus you get the most of your “Bring-your-own license” software.
  • A dedicated instance (VDS) is the same as above but is not locked to a single physical server. So for example, if the server is restarted, you as a client will not see the difference, but the machine will be different and may even be in another location entirely.
  • Bare metal server – this often is mistaken for a dedicated server, but with a dedicated server, you usually get some sort of OS or another way to manage it, with the bare metal server you don’t get any. You just get access to the server as fast as possible and with nothing on it. This is done so the client has full access to the server in minutes and full access to what is on it. Usually, this type of server is faster or has some additional hardware requirement like a Graphic processing unit (GPU). This type of hosting is proved by the client’s request and billed differently than the other types of hosting.

server hosting

Cloud hosting

Cloud has become the buzzword today. It refers to either the Internet or an intranet in association with several types of service or application offerings. Knowing the benefits of hosting, today many companies have started using Cloud hosting solutions for their business.

Cloud hosting is the most advanced form of hosting and has become incredibly popular. In cloud hosting, the resources that are necessary for the maintenance of your website are spread across more than one web server and are used as per the requirement basis.

Owing to this the chances of any downtimes in case of a server malfunction get reduced greatly.

Further, cloud hosting allows you to manage peak loads very easily without facing any bandwidth issues. This is because you have another server that can provide additional resources in case of any necessity.

Colocation

If you already own servers but need space, power, and cooling to keep them up and running, colocation could be a good fit. Colocation offers greater perimeter security than most customers can achieve on their own and is more reliable in terms of uptime since the data center provider should have strict requirements for power and cooling redundancy.

Is Server Hosting secure?

There are varying levels of security across all types of server hosting, be it shared, dedicated, public cloud, or hybrid cloud.

In general, server hosting is going to be more secure than trying to maintain and secure a server or servers on your premises. This is because server hosting providers have taken rigorous steps to ensure security and multiple layers, starting with the physical building in which the servers reside. Most data centers have strict access controls starting at the gate that surrounds the building all the way to the data center floor  —  armed guards, video surveillance, secure access controls, and more.

Beyond this, some steps can be taken to further secure a hosted server environment all the way to the application layer.

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