Containers have revolutionized the delivery of cloud-enabled applications. The technology brings multiple benefits to businesses looking to deliver top-tier applications within a compliant, yet agile hosting platform. One of the fastest-growing solutions offered by managed service providers is containerized hosting based on either Docker or Kubernetes clusters.

What Is Container Hosting?

Many people think that containerized applications are a new technology, but in reality, the computer theory of containerized programs and processes started back in the early 1970s. The precursor to the technology was chroot process isolation introduced in Unix V7. It wasn’t until 2004, when Solaris created boundary separation with Solaris containers, that containers took a form like those we use today; these were the very first business-ready, manageable containers running inside a host.

In 2013, containers went mainstream when Docker offered the first solution with complete control over the container ecosystem and the concept of container management tools. Today, Kubernetes and microservices architecture are leading the pack, and businesses are frequently choosing container hosting platforms above traditional cloud hosting platforms.

Specifically, container hosting refers to a service offered by Managed Service Providers that uses containerization technology to host and manage applications, typically in the same cloud infrastructure. Unlike virtual machines (VMs), containers share the host operating system’s kernel, making them more efficient and faster to start up.

Container hosting allows you to run multiple applications on a single server instance, creating a highly efficient hosting ecosystem and reducing running costs. Plus, thanks to dependable scaling and management tools, managing containers is much simpler these days. They are lightweight, scalable, portable, and very fast to deploy!

What Is a Container Host?

A container host is often referred to as the container engine or runtime environment. A container platform typically consists of a collection of hosts that can span multiple environments and share resources on demand. Containerization is a very efficient way to host applications, and as a result, container hosts can manage many containers at once, much more than a virtualization hypervisor like VMware would be able to manage with like-for-like resources.

The container host is responsible for managing the local resources such as CPU, disk, memory, block storage, and networking. It also manages the lifecycle of the containers, making decisions about when to start, stop, scale up, scale down, or restart containerized applications. It is the host operating system that isolates the underlying container operating system from each other, creating a secure and reliable abstraction layer.

Container hosts are typically clustered together, which essentially means each host can communicate and share resources automatically. The runtime engine creates an abstraction layer that utilizes each host dynamically in a logical resource pool. The engine sees the available resources and uses them no matter the server location or host on which they are physically available.

There are lots of different engines available for your Container Hosts, including:

  • Docker: The most popular and user-friendly for building, running, and managing containers.
  • Kubernetes: Not a runtime itself, but orchestrates container deployments across hosts.
  • Rocket (Rkt): Lightweight, secure alternative to Docker, good for efficiency.
  • ContainerD: Lightweight runtime focused on managing container lifecycle for Linux-based systems.
  • Windows Containers (HyperV): This is a Windows alternative with two options: lightweight containers or full virtualized containers (or virtual machines) with HyperV.
  • RunC: Core container runtime engine used by Docker and others, following OCI standards.

What Is the Difference between Kubernetes and Docker?

Docker and Kubernetes are both synonymous with containerization, but it’s important to understand that while both are important tools, they each serve a different purpose. The easiest way to demonstrate the difference is to remember that Docker builds and runs containers, and Kubernetes manages how and where those containers run. Although they are different, Docker and Kubernetes complement each other and work great together for building, delivering, and managing containerized applications.

Google originally developed Kubernetes but has since made it open-source. Kubernetes uses an API to control how and where containers are run. Kubernetes deploys, scales, and manages Docker containers in a node cluster. K8s features service discovery, load balancing, and health checks, being responsible for the entire lifecycle management of the container.

On the other hand, Docker is used to build container images, typically using Dockerfiles that define the code to execute, the software libraries needed, and any environmental variables required. a Docker image can be run locally or on a larger Docker engine, and you have simple management tools to run Docker, such as stop, start, restart, console, and logging.

Here is a key comparison between the two techs:


  • Focus on Individual Containers
  • Docker builds and runs containers
  • Docker operates directly on the hosting platforms
  • Relies on docker host networking configuration


  • Manages Containerized applications at scale
  • Orchestrates deployments, networking, and scaling
  • Separate control plane managing the cluster (API access, controllers)
  • Provides service abstractions for container communication within the cluster

Do I Need Different Types of Hosting for Different Types of Containers?

No, containers are agnostic, meaning that they can run on any server, provided it supports the Docker engine or another runtime such as containers. This could be managed Docker hosting services or standalone Linux or Windows deployments hosting Docker.

Simple applications with relatively light resource requirements will run perfectly on shared hosting platforms or on a bespoke docker hosting platform running on a virtual private server (VPS hosting). However, complex applications with high resource demands would benefit from a dedicated server, or maybe a Kubernetes orchestration cloud platform.

For applications with fluctuating resource needs, cloud hosting with auto-scaling features can be ideal. This allows you to scale your container deployment up or down based on traffic demands. Consider your own hosting provider for containers’ security needs. Highly sensitive applications might require dedicated hosting or a private cloud environment for enhanced security controls compared to shared hosting.

How Do I Choose the Best Container Hosting?

Deciding where to run docker containers is an important business decision to make. For simplicity look for a cloud platform provider with an intuitive control panel to manage docker containers and a good choice of docker hosting solutions.

When making this decision you may want to consider the following:

Resource Requirements

Evaluate your containerized application’s CPU, memory, and storage requirements. Cloud providers typically offer various instance types with different resource configurations. Choose one that aligns with your application’s demands. Take time to understand your traffic demands. Are you a seasonal business that needs specific scaling at certain times of the year?


Pricing is really important when choosing your preferred Docker hosting platform. There is an abundance of providers that will host Docker, but each offers different feature sets for a different price tag. Expect options for the pricing model, such as pay-as-you-go and reserved instance discounts, and make sure you opt for a suitable service plan.

You need container resources that fit your business needs without breaking the bank. Typically, you would expect to pay significantly less for a self-managed VPS to host Docker than you would for a multi-region Kubernetes cluster.

It’s possible to overpay for Docker containerization because it’s easy to overprovision the resources your application needs. Likewise, it’s also possible to under-spec your docker containerization requirements and then spend the next days and weeks retrospectively allocating more resources at a further cost. So get your capacity planning estimates correct before you invest in containerization.


Containers are fast! Not only are they fast to deploy and fast when in use, but they also can be quickly scaled on demand. However, remember that application bottlenecks may occur if you do not take the time to architect your software application to container best practices. Health checks should be in place to alert and monitor if a resource is over or under-utilized; if this is not done correctly, it’s easy for the application to crash or slow down, creating P1 and P2 incidents.

Required Features

The features offered by the cloud platform will make or break your choice. Do you need hosting in various global data centers? Do you require docker support, an elastic container service, automated resource management, or a private container registry? Look for a hosting provider that offers a built-in container registry that allows you to push and pull files and manage your private Docker images securely within the same platform.

If you’re deploying complex applications with multiple containers, consider hosting solutions with integrated container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes to simplify management and automation tasks like deployment, automatic scaling up, and health checks.


Ensure the hosting environment provides proper network isolation between your containers and other users or applications to reduce security risks and potential conflicts. Look for hosting options that offer container image scanning for vulnerabilities to help identify and address potential security issues before deployment.

The provider itself must be a reputable web hosting provider. Viewing their certifications and partnerships will help you understand their security posture. Providers with certifications such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOC2, and HITECH will undertake additional auditing that helps guarantee customer security.

Ease of Use

Docker and Kubernetes are not easy technologies for new starters, but the learning curve is manageable if they provide an easy-to-use hosting platform. The best docker hosting providers will offer Linux or Windows hosting with root access. Docker apps with custom health checks should be available at multiple locations. Expect a reliable underlying infrastructure and a variety of hosting plans.

Where Can I Deploy My Docker Containers?

Atlantic.Net has been providing IT services for decades, and this year, we are celebrating our 30th year in business. The Atlantic.Net Cloud Platform (ACP) is designed from the ground up to provide the best hosting experience possible, with the option for additional managed services should they be required.

We have 8 state-of-the-art data center locations with global routing throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. We feature a simple yet powerful, easy docker installation using our one-click installation button. You can deploy a powerful Docker host in less than 30 seconds with our custom applications.

Want to go it alone? No problem. You can build your own Docker host of various Linux or Windows operating systems. You can also opt for various dedicated server hosting plans at many of our edge locations.

With Atlantic.Net, you’ll experience unparalleled reliability for your container workloads. The highly redundant infrastructure, automated backups, and proactive monitoring ensure high availability and maximum uptime, granting you peace of mind and uninterrupted service. We even offer a 100% Uptime SLA.

The ACP cloud only uses SSD storage, and our servers feature either AMD Epyc or Intel Xeon Processors. Atlantic.Net’s team of friendly experts is at your service 24/7. Whether you require assistance with setup, troubleshooting, or optimizing the performance of cloud infrastructure, we are available to lend a helping hand and guide you toward success.