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Grow Your Business Technology

What is Server Hosting?

image for kjekol / Getty Images
kjekol / Getty Images

Server hosting refers to offsite management and upkeep of hardware resources that are designated for a company’s use. By paying a monthly fee to a hosting service, companies can reap the benefits of having a full IT infrastructure without all the cost associated with equipment maintenance, training and updates.

The cost of purchasing server hardware and hiring an IT staff is beyond the financial capabilities of many companies and small businesses. A typical organization requiring its own server might spend thousands of dollars buying hardware, installing it onsite, equipping it with proper security and redundancy measures and keeping on a full-time IT staff to ensure its ongoing functioning. The need for a server quickly escalates from a small investment on the hardware to a six-figure sum that requires ongoing attention and resources.

By enlisting the help of a server hosting service, businesses remove the need for keeping server resources onsite, or to the cloud. They don’t have to maintain the hardware, ensure its upkeep or even worry about troubleshooting in moments of crisis. The hosting service takes care of everything to ensure the server is always available for a company’s needs when they need it.

The typical server hosting solution is made up of three different services: managed hosting, virtual private servers and dedicated servers.

One of the most popular reasons behind server hosting is the security given to a company’s data. Typical problems faced by most organizations are keeping data secure and backed up. Data security is easily managed with server hosting providers as their server resources are protected within data centers behind multiple firewalls and physical security measures. Data backups are likewise handled by leveraging the resources of the data center as a whole and multiple redundancies are used to store a client’s data in multiple locations to prevent against data loss and hardware failure.

The end result is a more comprehensive and reliable server solution that few companies could hope to achieve on their own.

In this instance, a company can lease server resources for onsite use. The hosting service delivers the server and installs it typically, and the lessee has complete control over the hardware, operating system and software. When the server itself has issues, the hosting service takes care of maintenance and monitoring. In this instance, it saves companies the costs associated with personnel and maintenance of IT infrastructure.

This is among the more expensive of server hosting options because it still requires a significant financial monthly investment to lease the hardware and guarantee the availability of maintenance personnel. At the same time, it proves to be less expensive than keeping in-house IT staff for the purpose of server management.

If you don’t want to keep server resources onsite, companies can easily lease a dedicated server for a monthly rate through server hosting services. That server is then set aside for the leasing company’s needs and all software and connections to the webhost are available for use and manipulation. Dedicated servers are rented out exclusively to a single company and allows for remote configuration and operation through a browser-based control panel.

When renting a dedicated server, client companies often have to utilize a specific operating system or may have the choice between several systems. Some host providers also allow for companies to purchase and install their own server hardware at the host provider’s location, a service known as colocation.

A dedicated server is rented and provides a specific amount of memory, hard disk space and bandwidth. These allow the hosting service to restrict the amount of usage without detracting from other clients’ experiences. Dedicated servers are ideal for companies with websites that receive high volumes of traffic, as much as in the millions.

A single server can easily be set up to create multiple virtual private servers (VPS). These act much the same as a dedicated server, but in smaller form. A single VPS leverages a specific amount of the full server’s resources, but does not combat with other VPS for resource allocation. An organization receives a specific amount of bandwidth and hardware capabilities, all for a low monthly rate.

A VPS typically costs a low monthly rate in comparison to a dedicated server and is an ideal solution for organizations that might not need or use an entire server.