A simple explanation by Atlantic.Net
At its most fundamental level, web server hosting is exactly what it implies: a server platform that hosts websites. A web server handles the HTTP requests when end-users seek out web pages. The web server does not necessarily host all the files that an HTTP request is calling for from each website, but it acts as the facilitator to acquire those files to make the request happen as quickly as possible. For most websites owners, utilizing a host can be both economically wise and convenient, as the host also provides space for hundreds or even thousands of other websites employing similar resources.
Increased Speed - For nearly all web hosting situations, faster websites are better websites. Generally, the more quickly a website loads, the more sales and conversions the site will generate. End-users are notoriously impatient with slow-loading sites, with an estimated $500 billion lost in e-commerce sales annually due the speed at which websites loaded. And don’t forget that Google uses loading speed as a variable in its search rankings.
Higher Availability - In the digital world, availability refers to the amount of time required to respond to a request made by an end-user. Achieving high availability involves eliminating single points of failure. Higher availability means better reliability and tougher security and also lowers the risk of a website crashing.
Data Protection - Up-to-date security technology is a must in web server hosting. That includes data centers that are state-of-the-art, with airtight security to keep watch of clients’ most sensitive data. Most web server hosts will custom-build their data centers for specific client purposes and have security watching them 24/7/365 to ensure they stay secure.
Scalability - One of the most buzzworthy words of the past decade, scalability is all about letting a business, technology, or service grow bigger (or become smaller) as the need arises. If your company is running its own web server, growth means extra costs of buying new hardware and configuring it properly. When your organization’s web server is hosted by a world-class data center, growing to match demand is as simple as sending an email or making a quick phone call.
There are two environments where a website can be hosted - a dedicated physical server or a cloud server. Both have their strengths and weaknesses depending on an organization’s specific needs. Below is a breakdown of each environment, along with a deeper dive into its individual strengths and weaknesses.
Dedicated servers: Dedicated servers are tangible hardware devices. They are often used by organizations that stress data security and processing capacity. They excel when websites are high-functioning, with content that requires lots of memory. For instance, a company that makes tractors might have multiple videos of every vehicle posted online, along with tech specs and a treasure trove of proprietary data on various components, upgrades, etc. Keeping that information on a physical, in-house server makes more sense than putting it in the cloud. The end-users’ requests to play hundreds of videos means that a dedicated server makes sense. On the downside, as with most physical hardware, technology tends to get outdated quickly, which leads to higher capital expenses in replacing equipment, performing maintenance or upgrading via patches, etc.
The same is true for scaling up or down. More memory must be added, or perhaps entirely new hardware purchased, in order to handle the increased flow of traffic.
Cloud-hosted servers: Cloud servers are only virtual for the client, and the physical servers running the cloud servers exist offsite. All of the hardware is located in a data center. All information is uploaded by the client to the cloud environment, whether it’s a website, database, application, or something else..The strengths of having your web server hosted in the cloud are mainly convenience and cost. For starters, the economies of scale will mean your firm pays far less for memory space and processing power than it would with a dedicated server, since most websites don’t demand enormous consumption of either; your firm is paying for exactly the amount of space it needs - no more, no less.
If your firm has a definitive busy season, a definitive slow season, or both, you can also easily scale your needs up or down as demand requires, saving money and time.
The biggest negative for cloud-hosted servers is that data which is transferred to or from the cloud is data must travel over the web and is offsite in a datacenter, meaning security is not completely in your hands. Firms which inherently deal with risky data or that must adhere to strict compliance regulations on how they store and move data often may worry that the cloud not secure or advanced enough for their purposes, and should seek out a cloud provider that makes security a priority.
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