Application hosting environment: The whys and whats
Not too long ago, any company hoping to share an application with the world would have to set up, maintain and manage their own physical server. Today, thanks to advances in cloud computing and services like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, anyone can put their application online with minimal effort.
Application hosting is commonly referred to as software as a service, or SaaS. This is a subscription that enables businesses and organisations to use a subscription service to host their applications. Rather than pay for the physical infrastructure, companies pay a subscription for the space they use.
Using cloud hosting is far more flexible and reliable for businesses. If a company needs more capacity, it can add resources like storage or bandwidth without making any critical changes to its website. And if business is slow and fewer resources are needed, it’s also possible to scale back to cut costs.
Application hosting environments encompasses a wide range of services, including enterprise application hosting, dedicated application hosting and managed application hosting. In this guide, we will attempt to answer some of the most common questions you might have about application hosting environments and how they can work for your business.
What is application hosting?
Rather than owning and operating the infrastructure required to host a web application, businesses can hire the space from cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.
These services are both cloud hosting services, which means that the application is stored on servers in different locations. They might also be mirrored across multiple sites and then served from the fastest and most reliable cloud server available at the time.
Application hosting is essential for any organisation that wants to make its applications available on-demand with high availability. Removing the need for dedicated infrastructure also makes it incredibly flexible and cost-effective for businesses to operate. They will only pay for the resources they use, rather than having to determine the resources they would like in advance and waste investment.
Who offers application hosting?
Two of the biggest providers are Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Managed application hosting is also available through many web hosting companies. When choosing an application hosting platform, it’s important to select one that will enable you to pay for your usage, not a threshold. This is the only way to ensure you have a truly scalable application host.
Why is application hosting important?
Application hosting is essential if you want to get your web app online. In the past, the only choice would have been to host the application on your own servers, but there is considerable cost and risk associated with this. The cost of installing and maintaining this infrastructure is considerable. Not to mention, there is also the risk that something as simple as a power cut could take your application offline.
To deliver a reliable experience that doesn’t cost the earth, cloud application hosting is the best choice. The user only pays for the resources that they need, and more resources are always available when needed. So whether you’ve just started your company or you’re getting ready to expand into new markets, you can benefit from the flexibility that cloud application hosting provides.
What should I look for in application hosting?
Choosing your application hosting provider is not something you should rush into. Setting up a web application hosting environment shouldn’t be complicated, and moving hosts shouldn’t be difficult, but getting it right the first time will reduce complications.
Take the time to shop around and make sure you understand exactly what you are getting for your subscription fee. In general, you should look for the following benefits:
- Compatibility. Does the application hosting service allow you to deploy applications in your chosen language? Look for a hosting service with a wide range of services so you have the option to upgrade or update your application in the future.
- Guaranteed uptime. With cloud hosting, you should be able to enjoy a high degree of uptime thanks to the use of multiple services. Using an elastic load balancer will enable your server to direct web traffic to the healthiest route.
- Scalability. You need to be able to scale up as well as down on demand. A key perk of cloud application hosting is the ability to only pay for the resources you need. This means that if you have a spike in demand, your application will be able to handle the additional traffic without any intervention from you. But if there is a dip in demand, you won’t be paying a fee for a service that you aren’t using.
- Security. In order to protect user information and ensure your application is not subject to cyber-attacks, look for an application hosting provider that prioritises security.
- Customer support. You need to know that you’ll have round the clock support to handle anything that could possibly go wrong with your application hosting. If you experience an outage, this could lead to lost revenue if it is not corrected quickly. Using a hosting provider with a comprehensive customer support service is quite simply essential.
- Disaster recovery. All business owners hope for the best, but it’s important to also plan for the worst. Application providers should have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place should the worst happen. They should also be actively looking for ways to reduce the risk that anything could harm your business, application or data.
Is shared or dedicated application hosting better?
Shared application hosting might be sufficient for a small business, but dedicated application hosting is often a better choice in the long term. While applications might start small, they could quickly outgrow a shared hosting provider, and this would mean migrating to a new host.
It’s far better for businesses to plan for the future and choose flexible and scalable hosting from the start. The benefit of this is that you will only pay for what you need, but there will always be more capacity available to you. This means you can deliver a solid customer experience at every stage of business growth.
What are service level agreements for application hosting?
This is an essential form of protection for the customer. Service Level Agreements will determine the minimum performance standards you can expect from your hosting environment. If standard slip, you will be eligible for financial compensation.
This is a great way to establish expectations from the provider and also ensure that you are guaranteed a minimum level of service. A Service Level Agreement will typically include things like maximum hosting downtime, bandwidth, availability and customer support. The SaaS provider is then obliged to ensure you always have this minimum level of service.
To summarise, choosing your web application hosting provider is not a task that should be taken lightly. While the price might be an important factor to consider for many business owners, it shouldn’t be the only consideration.
Choosing by price alone could leave you looking for a new hosting provider in the future if your chosen provider cannot keep up with the growing demands of your web application. Instead, look at the bigger picture and choose a future-proof provider that will allow you to grow and scale at your own pace.