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Grow Your Business Technology

What Is Server Hosting?

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kjekol / Getty Images
  • Choosing the right hosting provider is critical for the success of your company.
  • Server hosting can have a significant impact on your profitability as it directly impacts your product sales and services.
  • The server host you choose will depend on the website you want to run and the number of visitors you expect. Determine the services you want for your website before you research server host services.

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 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 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 a full-time IT staff to ensure its ongoing function. 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. 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 when a company needs it.

The typical server hosting solution comprises managed hosting, virtual private servers and dedicated servers.

This where your website is stored with other websites on the same server. Since it is a shared hosting plan, all domains share the same server resources such as CPU and RAM. This service costs less, making it a very appealing – and affordable – for startup and small business owners where every penny counts. Shared hosting comes with many helpful tools, such as WordPress hosting, website builders, and the ability to email clients. A drawback to shared hosting is that since you are sharing the server with multiple websites, surges in usage affect the user experience.

This hosting solution works on a network, allowing companies to share computing resources as a utility. Cloud-based hosting is scalable, which allows your company to grow over time while paying only for what you consume.

With managed hosting, the service leases the hardware and storage space to you. The hosting service takes care of maintenance and monitoring. Managed hosting can save companies on costs associated with personnel and maintenance of IT infrastructure. It is among the more expensive options. 

Dedicated servers, too, can be a pricey hosting option. They are suitable for websites with high traffic flows. A high level of expertise is required to run themIf you don't want to keep server resources onsite, many companies lease a dedicated server for a monthly rate. That server is then set aside, or dedicated, to the client's needs. Dedicated servers allow for remote configuration and operation through a browser-based control panel. 

With this hosting option, a single server can be set up to create multiple virtual private servers (VPS). These act much the same as a dedicated server though in a different fashion. A single VPS leverages a specific amount of the full server's resources but does not compete with other VPS for resource allocation. An organization receives a specific amount of bandwidth and hardware capabilities, all for a monthly rate.

A VPS typically costs less than a dedicated server and can be a good option for organizations that might not need or use an entire server. VPS hosting is affected by surges in usage, too, which can affect website speed.

One of the primary concerns business owners have concerns the safety of company data when information is stored on external servers.

Hosting services go to great lengths to ensure data security. Providers operate data centers where access is heavily restricted, and multiple redundancies are in place to protect servers against physical (fire, flood, etc.) and digital threats. Data backups are handled by leveraging the resources of the data center, 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 achieve on their own.

Web hosting will cost you $3 per month to $75 per month. This is dependent on a variety of factors, such as the visitors you expect as well as the type of website you have. The more services you require from your server, the higher the cost you are likely to incur. When you are looking for a hosting service, it's critical that you consider beforehand the features you want. You also want to ask about the provider's downtime. To see which web hosting services we recommend, check out our best picks.  

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.

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