Let’s talk about what is hosting, why you need it, and what kinds it is.
What is hosting?
In a nutshell, hosting is a combination of software and hardware technologies that allows you to put a website, an application, a database, and their component parts on the Internet that require you to be online all the time.
The two main related terms to hosting are server and hosting provider.
This is the computer where your site or application files are stored. It runs nonstop 24/7.
This is a company that maintains the server and creates specialized software for it so programmers and webmasters can develop, test, and put their projects online.
The choice of hosting provider determines how stable your website or application will work.
What is hosting used for?
All web projects need hosting because without it it is impossible to be on the Internet. When it comes to offline applications (be it a calculator or task manager), there is no need for hosting. But as soon as you need access to the Internet (you have a website, not a program) or synchronization of data between the cloud and the user’s device, then you have to find a reliable platform on which to run your product.
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Types of hosting
Every program or website requires a certain set of options and a certain amount of resources. That’s why hosting has started to change, transforming into virtual machines and cloud clusters.
The most budget-friendly and easy-to-implement hosting. This is not a separate computer to run your product, but a space on the server’s hard drive, on which other developers place their services and web resources.
This approach allows you to host dozens or even hundreds of websites, independent of each other, on a single hardware platform.
The advantage of such hosting is its low cost. There is no need to rent a full-fledged computer and no need to pay for sophisticated virtualization technologies. In this case, functionally, it is not particularly limited. Good hosting offers a wide range of options and a convenient server management system.
The disadvantages are low performance, limited functionality, and lack of control over some of the server components. The host is responsible for the administration. He also decides on what “hardware” the server is running, what operating system is used, what technologies and applications are available to webmasters and developers.
Such hosting is ideal for small static sites and blogs based on WordPress but is also used for more complex projects.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. Yes, we’re talking about virtual servers again, but this time we’re talking about advanced virtualization technology and an application called hypervisor. With more sophisticated and expensive software components, a VPS makes the server simulation more functional and similar to a real PC.
VPS allows you to create isolated operating systems inside a single Linux appliance. These isolated units work like full-fledged computers inside a computer. It is even possible to install Windows on such servers and to make changes in BIOS.
VPS is suitable for complex dynamic applications, complex databases, large sites, and other products requiring large amounts of resources.
There are different virtualization technologies. The most popular among them are OpenVZ and KVM. The first allows you to change the characteristics of the server faster, without rebooting it, but it limits the functionality of the virtual machine and does not allow the use of Windows. KVM gives more control over the system and isolates the virtual server even from the hosting administrators.
VPS and VDS are the same thing. The abbreviation stands for Virtual Dedicated Server and implies a similar virtual server. But some webmasters are separated by thinking that VPS – it is exclusively OpenVZ-based servers, and VDS – it is servers based on KVM, XEN, VMWare, and other similar technologies.
And this is a real computer. In such hosting does not use virtualization technology, and all the hardware components belong to one user. This server in its original form.
The main advantage of dedicated servers – a complete independence. You ask the host to provide you with a computer with specific characteristics, and you do not need to share the “iron” with other tenants. At the same time, you can independently administer it, and then no one else has access to the “guts” of the PC.
Another advantage of dedicated servers is high performance. Absence of “neighbors” in hosting and additional software layers allow you to use the rented PC’s power to the maximum.
This type of hosting is suitable for more complex and resource-intensive applications. In particular, it is often found as a platform for game servers.
A cloud cluster is a network of servers combined into a single digital space on which applications and sites can be hosted on the Internet.
One of the main advantages of the cloud is a flexible hardware component. Server performance can be dynamically changed depending on how many visitors come to your site and how many people use the application.
Also, cloud services often offer services rather than hosting in the classic sense. For example, infrastructure for hosting sites and applications with an already prepared database and backend code.
Cloud systems are so flexible that they are suitable for everyone. You can host digital products of all kinds on favorable terms, with a high level of security and no loss of productivity.
How to choose hosting?
Let’s talk about what you should pay attention to when choosing a hosting provider.
If it’s expensive, it’s not necessarily good. And vice versa. In the world of hosting providers, budget solutions can work better than expensive ones. But avoid free servers. Their administrators sell user data to advertisers and rarely vouch for the safety of the servers.
Stability and security
The higher the uptime (uptime), the better. Look for hosting with a good reputation, which did not arrange a mass leak of personal data and did not fail for a long period of time on a regular basis.
If you rent a server, you need to take the hardware components in stock, so that when an unexpected increase in the load is not in a situation where you need to urgently build capacity.
To manipulate the server, you need to either know how to work with the command line, or choose hosting with a convenient control panel. The more options in it, the better.
Is it possible to find out what hosting is used on other people’s sites?
Some users find it easier to choose a provider, relying on the choice of site administrators that they use themselves. There are a number of tools you can use to find out which hosting your site is based on.
How much does hosting cost?
The cost of hosting varies depending on the location of the servers, their hardware specifications, the technology used, additional features, etc.
Virtual hosts, even international ones, cost an average of $3-5 a month. VPS, being a more functional solution, costs about $20 to $40 per month.
The cost of cloud hosting varies depending on the load on the servers. Providers calculate the cost as they use it. This allows you to save money.
Some platforms offer website hosting for free, but with a large list of restrictions (they do not issue a domain, do not provide certificates, etc.).