hosting

An overview of hosting types for web pages

There are several types of hosting on the market, which you can use to host your web pages, e-shop and the like. In this article, you can learn about the individual types, from the smallest web hosting to your own datacentre, and find out what they entail and how they differ. In following articles, I will describe the individual types of hosting in greater detail from the cheapest web hosting to the most expensive rental of a rack in a datacentre.

The series about hosting:

 Types of hosting services

Web hosting

Web hosting is the most widely used type of hosting, where you host a single web and domain, and you obtain a place for emails, databases and files. In the case of web hosting, you cannot find out the performance of the processor or memory, with the exception of the PHP memory limit – which should be revealed by a hosting company with better services. Web hosting is a shared solution which works on a platform of several physical or virtual severs. Most web hostings run on the Linux operating system and the so-called “LAMP”, which is an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. From the technical point of view, first there are servers and storage, with Linux situated above them, and servers with Apache (a web server), PHP (scripts) and My SQL (database) above Linux. The number of web hostings which the provider operates on „one package of servers“ is known only by the provider – it’s a know-how.

A great advantage of web hosting is that the hosting company takes care of and operates all the servers, the operating system, safety issues, etc. You just need to set up a database, copy files via FTP and add a domain, and the web pages are ready.

Features:

  • No worries; everything is taken care of by the provider
  • A shared solution and its performance
  • One domain for one web hosting (there are exceptions)

VPS and VMS

Virtual Private ServerVPS or Virtual Private Server and its alternative, with administration included, – Virtual Managed Server – are in fact “virtual pieces” of a server. The provider takes the server and divides it into smaller servers (VPSs) by means of virtualisation. The performance of the VPS is given, and the hosting company has either point-to-point packages (according to the performance parameters), from which you can choose, or they have “modules”, each with its own particular performance level, and you can decide how many modules you will need.

If you chose a particular performance level, LAMP (Linux hosting) can be installed on a VPS, and you have the entire capacity and settings of the Virtual Private Server for your own use. You can determine how many web sites will be placed on one VPS, and you will be limited only by its performance.

If you have a VPS, you must take care of everything (updating, settings, incidents, etc.) on your own. The provider will just upload to you the pre-set LAMP with the control panel Plesk or ISPConfig. This panel serves to create web hostings, databases and FTP accesses. If you do not want to take care of the settings and updates on your own, buy a Virtual Managed Server, where the provider takes care of the updating, basic settings, establishes the individual web hosting on your behalf and does not allow you to enter the settings. For this very reason, a VMS is more expensive than a VPS.

Features:

  • Dedicated performance
  • VPS – administered by you / VMS – administered by the provider
  • An unlimited number of domains
  • Pre-set packages

Multihosting

Multi hosting is something between web hosting and VPS. Multihosting means an option to host more web hosting with a domain within one package. Hosting companies offer packages according to the number of domains, and foreign companies even offer packages limited by the number of unique visits per year. Look at for example wpengine.com and their Professional package, where you get 10 webs in one package, limited by the number of visits.

Recommendations related to Multihosting

  • Here it is necessary to be careful from the perspective of safety and to find out if the individual web hostings are separated from each other, so that one does not see the other.
  • Watch out. Multihosting could be a VPS, which you will need to take care of.

Features:

  • No worries; everything is administered by the provider
  • A shared solution and performance
  • Multiple domains
  • Be careful about safety (individual web hostings should be separated)

The cloud solution

cloud1024The cloud is very simply described as a “customized hosting” or performance & storage according to your needs. It is a scalable and completely backed-up platform (servers, storage, switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers). This scalability and backing up of hardware are implemented by means of so-called virtualisation, which enables more virtual servers to run on one physical machine, or vice versa, it will connect more servers to create a very high-performance environment with many processors (CPUs) and a lot of memory (RAM).

The so-called cloud may be divided into two types:

  • Performance – which is defined according to the number of processors (CPU speed in GHz) and memory – (RAM in GB)
  • Storage – different per used HDD technology (SAS, SATA or SSD)

When I am talking about the cloud, I mean the virtualisation, which is divided into processors & memory and storage (SATA, SAS, SSD). Present-day servers include their own hard disks (HDDs), however, they are used in the cloud only for the needs of the platform and the storage itself is situated outside of the servers, the so-called SAN. Now we can divide the cloud into three types:

1) The big three

The big three are the three large cloud platforms: Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Google. Perhaps Rackspace also qualifies. Each of these companies has a cloud environment, on which many services and types of servers are built. Amazon is certainly number one, and Microsoft with Azure is second.

For an interesting test comparing these four clouds, see – Amazon EC2 vs Azure vs Rackspace Cloud vs Google C. Engine | Some tests and stats

2) A corporate solution

Here, a great role is played by telecommunications companies, striving to get customers to use their professional cloud solution instead of just making a one-time purchase. Moreover, a cloud is very close to the internet or corporate VPN networks. All major national telecommunications operators have a cloud.

A corporate cloud can be divided into:

  • Public cloud – classic cloud services
  • Private cloud – a cloud will be created by the company on its own, on its servers or in rented racks in a datacentre.
  • Hybrid cloud – a combination of a private and public cloud. The company has some systems stored in-house and some in a public cloud, for example, disaster recovery or a backup or archive.

3) VPS/VMS

Yes, a VPS is actually also a cloud solution, where virtualization divides the performance of the physical server identically or similarly to the above-mentioned VPS and VMS.

Features:

  • More virtual machines on one server
  • Suitable for a corporate environment or project which grows
  • It can be connected to telecommunications services (a hybrid cloud)
  • Software manufacturers often have another license policy for cloud software
  • You do not need to take care of the hardware, networks, etc. (a hybrid and public cloud)
  • You can have everything administered by the provider, from the hardware to applications

Dedicated servers alias server hosting

As regards this type of hosting, you rent an entire physical server or you host your own server. A more frequent solution is renting servers from a hosting company, where the hosting company chooses the manufacturer and type of the server and, owing to this, they can have the necessary spare parts in stock and they have experience with the type of server. The customer is free to choose the server’s performance and architecture. Dedicated servers are often an alternative for the corporate operation. Unlike the cloud, where all hardware is backed up and hidden under a virtualisation layer, you must build clusters of two servers if you want to have dedicated servers, so that if one fails, the other one kicks in.

Features:

  • Dedicated hardware
  • Suitable for larger projects
  • Adding resources per server
  • It is necessary to propose the design of the entire solution and the manner of expansion of the implementation beforehand

Rack and cage rental

Modern interior of server room in datacenterHosting in a datacentre is intended for larger projects. You can rent a rack, which is a kind of rack for servers with a particular reserved power input, internet speed and a potential foreign internet. Most people rent a number of “U”s (rack units), or ⅓ of a rack, ½ of a rack, an entire rack or multiple racks.

If you want to rent more racks, you can rent a cage, which is a fenced-in space in a datacentre, to which only you have the access and where there is room for a certain number of racks, depending on how much area you have. Many hosting companies in the Czech Republic do not have their own datacentre; they rent a cage or racks next to each other. Cages and racks are rented especially by companies and banks, which have a part of their infrastructure and data stored there.

Features:

  •  Suitable for a large solution
  • You take care of everything on your own
  • Datacentres are on the backbone network of the internet
  • Datacentres have an excellent equipment (air conditioning, power and internet), which the company itself would otherwise have to buy for a very high price

Your own datacentre

The last option is to build your own datacentre. Many large companies have their own datacentres, with racks of servers. Most such datacentres cannot be compared to a professional datacentre run by professionals.

Equipment of a datacentre

  • At least two independent branches (sources) of electricity
  • Two and more independent diesel aggregates to generate power during a power failure
  • “UPS” batteries, which will cover a power failure for 20 minutes before the aggregates kick in
  • Double air conditioning, fire-extinguishing system, entrance system – cards, keys or fingerprints
  • At least two optical independent connections (internet, IP transit and data)
  • A supervision centre with nonstop operation
  • And other things

This article provides a basic comparison of the individual options of how to host your pages or project. I hope it helped you to get a better picture of the issue. If you have questions, I will be glad to answer them in the comments.

Radek Kucera

Work as a salesman in ICT/Telco branch more than ten years, WordPress fan and blogger. Interested to write about an Internet and ICT topic.

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