Hosting options, comparisons, user statistics

Started by viktalina, Aug 12, 2022, 10:10 AM

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viktalinaTopic starter

To begin with, let's introduce a little to those who do not understand the topic and indicate what hosting is and who needs it.
Hosting is a service provided by companies hosting providers, which consists in placing users' information resources on their (company's) servers. The functionality of the server depends on the installed software, which in turn depends on the operating system.



Hosting providers differ in the presence of certain services, the ability to support various technologies, programming languages and scripts. They also differ in quantitative and qualitative restrictions (disk space, number of websites, channel bandwidth, etc.). User access to their data is implemented through a personal account. Processing of requests to info resources of the customer is carried out in real time 24/7. The hosting service includes technical support, security and data backup.

Information resources (here) are websites of various functionality: online stores, corporate sites, Net portals, information and news sites, web services. They consist of an abundance of digital data:

    text, graphics, photo, video files
    code files
    DB management systems
    CRM systems (software for managing relationships with customers, suppliers and employees within the company)
    CMS systems designed to manage site content (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, MODX, OpenŠ”art)
    applications


The need for that remote placement is dictated by the fact that the growing amount of such data over time cannot be stored and processed on the personal computer of the owner of the information resource - the volumes are too large, the machine's capacity is not enough. To use your computer as a server, you will need a redundant array of independent disks (Redundant Array of Independent Disks, RAID) or a very large storage device (SSD), a powerful Internet uplink, a licensed server operating system, and the knowledge to use it all . But most importantly, it costs a lot of money. Therefore, there are physical and virtual servers that hosting providers rent out. These are: VPS/VDS, dedicated servers, shared hosting, cloud hosting.

What is a dedicated server

It is worth starting with it, because the rest of the host services are virtual equivalents of a dedicated server.

A dedicated server is a real physical server (bare-metal server) that a hosting company rents out to a client. It is important that the hosting provider allocates the server to the client entirely for undivided use, that is, all server resources, all of its hardware are used by only one tenant. It is possible to fluently configure the system and optimize it for yourself, including software installation. Due to full ownership, a dedicated server is the most costly hosting service.

This is a powerful computer, installed in a rack with other similar servers and a switch. Server racks are localized in hosting data centers or individual data centers (that is, owned by the company itself for its business purposes; in this case, we are not talking about dedicated servers, since no one rents them out - the machines are the property of the company and are simply called servers) .


A dedicated server is needed to host projects that either require powerful computing resources, or cannot coexist on the same machine with other projects or their components (for instance, a complex business application, or a database, or a network game website), or require direct access to equipment.

 Criteria for choosing a dedicated server

    The current and planned number of visitors to the resource.
    Static or updatable project. There are websites with large visits per day (about 30,000 hosts), but with a relatively rare addition of new voluminous data, without the use of complex filters for visitors to select - they do not require large capacities: thematic collective blogs, forums. And there are, for instance, large online stores or online cinemas with frequent database updates, sampling tools from a huge list of products, constant loading of positions from a warehouse - they need huge capacities.
    Platform. As we said above, the set of features and supported services depends on the selected operating system. Moreover, some providers do not provide a choice of OS (mostly foreign ones) - this must be taken into account initially.
    Feature set. Not all services included in the rental package may be needed. However, each of them adds value. It is desirable to understand what is really necessary for the project and what is not.
    Scalability. Because increasing server capacity in the future is more economical than acquiring a new machine configuration, a more powerful server solution.


What is virtual hosting

Virtual hosting (shared hosting) is the leasing of one physical server to several tenants at once. Its hardware capacity is shared among all users. To avoid uneven distribution of machine capacities (processor power, disk and RAM) and their shortage during peak loads, some hosting providers limit server resources for individual user scripts (script - a file or program with a script for automating some site processes). There is no customization - everyone uses the same software that the provider installs. Suitable for small and simple projects. This is the cheapest type of hosting.

Criteria for choosing a virtual hosting

    Limitations of server resources by the hosting provider that affect the performance of the server - the amount of disk space, RAM and CPU (processor power).
    The number of websites, DBs, FTP accounts, mailboxes, and more.
    The operating system used - it depends on which software will support the functionality of the site or services.


What is VPS and VDS

VPS (Virtual Private Server) and VDS (Virtual Dedicated Server) are essentially the same thing. These are virtual servers that emulate the operation of a physical server and are leased by a hosting provider to a client with maximum privileges: installation of an operating system and software, root access (general administrator rights). The client receives dedicated server hardware resources for use with full management and control, but perhaps not all available on the machine. That is, on one physical server several virtual servers are running for different clients, but on each of them the administrator (customer) can work in the same way as on a separate physical machine, while the rent is significantly lower than for a dedicated server.

 Difference between VPS and VDS

VPS. Virtualization of such a server is carried out within the operating system (containerization) using special technologies (FreeBSD Jail, Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, iCore Virtual Accounts, OpenVZ, and others). The client can work in a personal isolated software environment with superuser rights, but cannot change the operating system itself or its kernel. There are also different limits based on the hosting provider's policy (for instance, continuous availability of server resources).

VDS. Virtualization of this type of server is carried out at the hardware level. This is the physical allocation of machine resources, or rather the emulation of its physical elements using special technologies (VMWare, LDoms, KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, XEN). The client not only receives CPU, disk space and memory resources for permanent use, but can also install another operating system and make modifications to it, up to changing the BIOS settings.

This type of hosting service is gaining more and more popularity in the world due to the price / quality ratio. Quality here means, first of all, the breadth of possibilities for managing your hosted projects and the ease of scalability of allocated resources. In addition to the owners or system administrators of sites, it is especially loved by developers for the actual development and testing of new software. And business VPS/VDS hosting helps to reduce costs.


VPS/VDS selection criteria

    Server configuration and hardware power. The speed of the hosted site depends on how much processing power (CPU), processor and random access memory (RAM) is allocated. The stability of work depends on how well-known the brand of the physical equipment offered for rent is.
    Operating system. It depends on the breadth of the spectrum of supported applications.
    Who will control the server? If the hosting management functions are taken over by the provider, this is a managed VPS (managed VPS), if you yourself are involved in maintaining the health and monitoring the performance of the server - unmanaged (unmanaged VPS). It is logical that the unmanaged option is suitable for experienced administrators, and the managed option is suitable for business owners who are eager to delegate this task to professionals. The degree of control affects the tariff scale.

    Uninterrupted and reliable operation. Continuity is characterized by such concepts as scalability (the ability to connect backup resources when the load increases) and redundancy (resource reservation itself: how it is implemented by the hosting provider in case of problems with electricity, problems with the Internet provider, overloading the physical server). Simply put, ask what disaster recovery measures the hosting provider uses? The reliability guaranteed by the hosting provider must be at least 99.95%. In addition to statements on the service provider's website, which do not always correspond to reality, it would be good to read reviews about it on independent sites.

    Bandwidth. First you need to understand how much bandwidth you need for your projects. And then ask the hosting provider what are its restrictions on this parameter, what is the fee for additional latitude and whether there are quotas.
    Additional IP addresses. Not all hosts provide this service. However, it is often necessary: for each site or service on the VPS to have its own IP address, or for one site with different domains to have different IP addresses. Also, different IP addresses are needed to establish a secure connection via the SSL protocol.
    Server location. The smaller the distance between the VPS and the location where your website's audience is concentrated, the better: faster user access to the site (higher page response speed to a request), more opportunities to rise in search engine rankings.
    Responsive tech support. The whole side of your business related to the site depends on how quickly, smoothly and efficiently the hosting provider solves your problems that you report to technical support. If customer support is poor, then you should not work with this host, even if the functionality and price of host services are good.
    Money Back Guarantee. hosting providers who take good care of their customers have a so-called money back guarantee in case you don't like the hosting. It is also good if there is a free trial period.


What is cloud hosting

Cloud hosting uses cloud resources to deploy websites, mobile applications, and even entire "cloud offices" (virtual office). Unlike other types of hosting, this does not happen on a single local server, but on several physical and virtual servers connected in a cluster, to which are added network-connected storage systems (SANs). When renting, the user pays only for the resources that are actually used, which can be quickly scaled up or turned off depending on the needs. Moreover, the payment is hourly, that is, you can configure the consumption of resources during the day and night. Settings can be adjusted automatically via the app. This flexibility is the main benefit of cloud hosting.

The cloud model is gaining popularity largely due to the development of BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service - backend as a service) and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service - infrastructure as a service). We will not delve into its description, as this is beyond the scope of the article. Let's just say that developers are attracted to it by the versatility of a cross-platform backend for any project, and business owners are attracted by the reliability of backups and the convenience of teamwork on projects. Suitable for large and fast-growing projects, companies with seasonal fluctuations in demand.

In the cloud, sites are hosted in separate environments called containers. In one container, for instance, working versions of sites can be located, in another - test ones. Processes and possible problems in the operation of sites both within containers and between containers do not affect other sites in any way. An unlimited number of projects can be placed inside a separate container.


Criteria for choosing cloud hosting

     Availability of technologies provided by the service
     The range of related services: not only the hosting server itself, but also access protection, backup services, support, load balancer, protection against DDoS attacks and others.

Summarizing, we note:
when choosing a hosting provider, be guided not only by the promised information from his website and reviews - ask him questions! Until fire safety is ensured in the data center. Keep in mind the scalability of projects - what your website is now can be very different from what it will be in 2 years. Having decided on the type of hosting, follow our recommendations from the "selection criteria" sections that are in each block.
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SerenMckay

Quote from: viktalina on Aug 12, 2022, 11:17 AMTo use your computer as a server, you will need a redundant array of independent disks (Redundant Array of Independent Disks, RAID) or a very large storage device (SSD)

A very absurd opposition. Not to mention that SSD as an explanation for "very large storage device" sounds strange.
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arthyk

Yes, there are plenty of evaluation criteria, even too much for me. I think checking each provider based on information from him is certainly unreasonable. But the advice to check reviews about it on independent sources is quite reasonable. But anyway, I think that such "pickiness" is necessary only for serious projects, and for developing ones there is always the possibility of transferring hosting. :)
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Nemesissss

I have been working with the same provider for 3 years. And I am quite happy with the services they provide me with. True, at first it was difficult for us to understand each other, but over time we were able to find a common language.
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Fleck

I keep my websites at Dreamhost . It is one of the oldest hosting companies, founded in 1997. However, Dreamhost proves that it can quickly adapt to new trends. More than 1.7 million customers trust Dreamhost with their websites.

Prices for shared hosting and WordPress hosting start at $2.57 per month for a 3-year plan, and dedicated hosting will cost you at least $168. Please note: if you do not want to commit yourself to such a long contract, you can choose a monthly plan. Such options are more expensive, but still relatively affordable, starting at $4.94 per month.

Some advantages and features of Dreamhost include:
free domain;
unlimited traffic;
easy WordPress installation;
98-day money-back guarantee for virtual hosting, 30-day guarantee for other types of hosting;
email hosting with 50 GB of default storage and email synchronization between desktop and mobile
device;
Round-the-clock support.
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