Each website on the Internet stores its main files on the hosting – a special repository for web pages. It is time to talk about this technology in detail. It will be useful for those who want to make many different sites.
What are The Differences Between Hosting Companies
Suppose you have a website with its own database where user information is stored. So, you need a hosting service that can work with this database. And on this site, a forum is spinning where everyone communicates, which means that you need php support so that the forum can work properly. It turns out that one of the requirements for hosting is the support of the necessary technologies.
It often happens that at the start of the site the whole site does not take up very much space – 200-300 megabytes. But in a couple of years it will grow to 2-3 gigabytes – this is 10 times more than at the beginning. The load is also growing: the more visitors – the greater the load on the hosting. If there is not enough computing or disk power, the site will slow down.
Sometimes it happens that standard web technologies for a site are not enough and you need to fasten something special to it. For example, add a module to filter spam or enable support for an exotic programming language. If hosting does not allow this, then the site will also not work fully.
It turns out that the hosting is different:
- a set of software that was originally laid down in the system;
- processing power and available resources;
- the ability to put any of your software that is needed for the site.
To make it clearer, let’s draw an analogy between hosting and food.
Shared hosting is a cafe. The menu is prepared in advance, there is a certain selection of dishes. If anything, the cook can put more greens in the burger or replace the cheese with ham, but it still remains a burger. If you came to a sushi bar, you are unlikely to be served a plate of borscht there, because this is not on the menu.
With virtual hosting, everything is the same: there is a set of services that hosting provides, a part of the disk space and a bit of processor time are allocated. All this is packaged into one and the result is a tariff offer. Different tariffs – a different set of services and resources. We need a simple personal website – you buy the “Simple” tariff. If you want to grow, you buy the “Big” tariff and you grow. But if you need something more than the Big tariff, well, I’m sorry.
Usually virtual hosting is taken for simple sites, landing pages and those corporate sites that do not require special technologies to work. The standard menu of modern virtual hosting: domains, multiple sites, php, database, mail, security certificates.
Why to use Shared Hosting?
There is a big real powerful server – with a real hard drive and processor. Files of tens, hundreds or thousands of clients are stored on it. There is a special program on this server that distributes server resources between users. It allocates to each the necessary amount of memory, gives access to programs and ensures that everyone does not exceed the limit on the load on the processor. The fact is that the processor time for the operation of each hosting on the server is common. If this is not followed, then one person can scoop up the entire resource, and then the sites of other clients will begin to slow down. The program monitors this and limits processor time. Need to handle more loads? Take the tariff higher or buy a virtual server. It is as if the communal apartment had a dispatcher of shared resources: bath, toilet and kitchen. John, time is up, free the public premises!
Virtual server, dedicated server, VDS, VPS – all this is practically the same technology. Its meaning is that under such a server certain resources are guaranteed that the client can load as he wants. Let’s explain again on food.
If virtual hosting is a cafe, then a virtual server will let you into the kitchen of the same cafe and put at the disposal of one cook. He can prepare what you say from the products that are in the kitchen or which you bring with you. A separate chef will cook faster, especially when there are a lot of orders in the rest of the kitchen.
The virtual server is arranged in the same way – there is a real server, the resources of which are evenly divided between the participants. Roughly speaking, if a server has a processor with 16 cores, and there are four virtual servers on it, then each gets 4 cores. They can be downloaded as you like, it will not affect the performance of other cores. The hoster guarantees that no matter what the load on the neighboring virtual servers, your virtual “cook” will always be allocated the agreed amount of resources.
From the pluses: as a rule, virtual servers are much faster than shared hosting. The second plus is fine-tuning the server for yourself and installing any programs that are needed for the site.
Cons: the cost is higher than that of shared hosting, and you need to understand server administration. Shared hosting has a control panel: if you want a new site – BANG – its created. Want a new database – BANG – it`s started up. In the virtual server there is only a command line that you need to be able to use. You can, of course, install the control panel, but this requires knowledge. When buying a virtual server, think about who and for what money will administer it, without this in any way.
A virtual server is needed for those projects where there are large loads and there must be a guaranteed resource for hardware. They are also chosen by those who need non-standard software for the site: for example, a special version of PHP, a NodeJS interpreter or a special database.
Taking a regular server is like buying a fully-fledged kitchen with all the utensils and kitchen appliances. You can cook anything on it, but you have to do it all yourself. If something does not work out – no one is to blame, there are no standard ready-made dishes. In such a kitchen, everything depends on the hostess – if she knows how to cook, then everything will be fine.
A real server gives you complete freedom – this is your hardware, it all works for you and is limited only by how much sophisticated hardware you put. Out of memory – insert a new memory bar into the server. Not enough processor power – combined two servers in a cluster. Low disk space – add another disk or run a RAID array.
The minus here is the same as in the virtual server – for its maintenance you definitely need an administrator. If there is no person who understands server technologies and can configure it, then the site will either not work, or it will not work as fast as it can.
Another minus – the server needs to be maintained somewhere, it needs the co-location service in the data center. And if the server is at your place, you need to make sure that Tomas does not spoil it, and the Internet provider does not give it a new IP address.
Cost also plays a role: it’s one thing to pay 400 rubles a month for a virtual server and quite another thing – to pay 400 thousand for iron. On the other hand, there are areas where this is warranted. For example, an important database that you don’t want to store on the Internet, or you thought that in 5 years you spend the same amount on a virtual server and it’s easier to buy a regular one right away.
The issue of legislation is still important: if you store Persians of Russians, the glands with your sites should be physically located in Russia so that gentlemen the police can, in which case, go to the data center with masks and remove them beautifully (and the overseas gentlemen, respectively, could not).
And there is another niche – specialized services: file storage, content distribution networks, cloud databases, long-term archives.
For example, if you have an online school and you want to play a lot of different videos on the site, then it makes sense to store them in a CDN – content distribution network. Upload your videos to the server, and the system optimizes storage so as to give high speed uploads to all regions.
Or you have a huge archive of data on old customer transactions. You do not need them every day, but you must keep them. It is not practical to store this data on the main server: you do not use it, but you pay for disk space. Then you need a long-term storage service such as Amazon Glacier: drop data into it, and Amazon is already worried that they will survive in the event of a global catastrophe. Extracting data from such services takes a lot of time, but storage is inexpensive.
What to Choose?
If you are a beginner site builder, take shared hosting. There are thousands of them on the Internet, choose the one that suits you in terms of parameters and price (hint: they are almost the same, anyone will do for a start). As soon as you get comfortable – go to a dedicated server, it will give more options. At the same time, master the new profession of a system administrator.