Hosting 101: Hosting Options for Dummies
It's often difficult to imagine that every bit of information on the Internet has to be stored on some sort of physical device. Before the Internet became popularized, web masters usually just bought their own servers and hosted their web applications on their own equipment.
However, it wasn't long before people began amassing these physical servers and renting the space out to hungry web site owners. While many web masters that still host their websites on their own servers, there are many hosting options that you can use to host your web applications on while saving money and improving flexibility.
What exactly is a Server?
Before you really understand your hosting options, it is important that you understand what a server is. There are really two different types of servers for web masters - physical and virtual. Previously, we talked about physical servers - where you can own the actual hardware and simply connect it to the Internet. Virtual servers are the same thing - but they are owned by someone else and accessed by you online.
Don't worry - you can always combine physical and virtual servers, and many web masters choose to do so. This is valuable if you have some information that you would like fully protected on your property and others publicly available online.
Think of server space as one big pizza. When you choose a hosting option, you are deciding just how much of that pizza you want (or need). You can also choose if you want to share your pizza with others to save money (public hosting) or have a pizza to yourself (private hosting). Each piece of information that you store online is a piece of that pizza. Once the server is full (the pizza is gone), you simply need another pizza to add to the one you just ate.
Deciding Which Type of Pizza You Need
By now, you may have gotten a little nervous of sharing your pizza with others. However, that is one of the most popular hosting options - public cloud hosting. This type of hosting allows you to access server space on-demand. Many web masters that have public web sites choose public cloud hosting because their storage demands can be met quickly as they expand and the space is cheaper than with a private hosting option.
There is a important disadvantage, however - security. Although public cloud hosting offers just as much security as any other public web site, your information can be accessed by the public. It can also unfortunately be hacked.
For web masters with sensitive information in storage on virtual servers, a better option is to use private hosting - most often in the form of enterprise cloud hosting (also known as managed private cloud). In exchange for losing some of your flexibility options, you gain advanced security features with a private cloud.
Web masters that might need managed private cloud hosting include government web site owners and owners of company system web sites. Companies often have private web spaces for their employees that they would not want accessible by the general public. This is a perfect opportunity for managed private hosting.
Some web master still host private web spaces on a public cloud. You may have run across one of these - when you access a web site only to be greeted by a single password protected page. However, it is important that you check to see if your information must be compliant with digital information laws. For example, the government will often require a certain level of security with your hosting to keep their information safe.
There are many different hosting options that you have when you publish your information online. To make the decision easy, consider your information. The more protected you want your data to be, the more private your hosting should be. One of the easiest ways to handle your hosting needs is to use a third party that provides both a virtual layer of hosting and software that you need to manage it easily. Define your storage and security needs and hosting will be easy - even for dummies.
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