What's the Buzz in Web Hosting?

December 6, 2012 by Staff Writer
What's the Buzz in Web Hosting?
What’s the buzz in web hosting? While a lot of the industry’s focus is on tried and tested web hosting staples, equally as much is directed on the new technologies that promise more than ever before, and seem to be the solution to everyone’s problems – whatever it might be. Without any further ado, below is the current list of ‘hot’ items in the world of web hosting, alongside why they are causing so much buzz.

1. The Cloud

What is it?

The cloud (or cloud computing) is defined as computer hardware and software resources delivered to users as a service over the Internet. Basically, in cloud computing, users and individuals no longer need to manage their own IT requirements as applications, platform and storage are offered by third parties. For the individual, this might mean rather than having your own email server account and an email client installed on your computer, you simply open a Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook, or Yahoo! Mail account (these are the leading Cloud email providers at the moment – in fact the list goes on ad infinitum) and everything you need to send email is provided for you. For a business, it might, for example, mean ditching your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software (and the IT guy who maintained it) in favor of something like a Salesforce.com account, where again, everything you need for successful CRM is available when you need it, and where you need to use it from. In fact, the cloud has developed to such an extent that a company’s entire IT capability can be farmed out to third-party operators, as can all of its communication and collaboration needs.

Why the buzz?

The cloud is on everyone’s lips, probably because the term has crossed over to mainstream usage. What’s key to the buzz is that if they aren’t offered free of charge, cloud services are generally provided (or perceived to be provided) on a pay-per-use basis – that meaning you only pay for what you use. That’s the kind of language CEOs, CFOs and accountants understand, so there is a strong perception that the cloud is a solution businesses must engage as quickly as possible to save costs and develop efficiencies.

2. Green Hosting / Green IT

What is it?

Possibly the most self-explanatory of the current buzzwords used in web hosting. Green hosting, or Green IT, is essentially web hosting which is powered by ‘Green’ electricity – electricity generated by alternative energy sources. These include windmills, solar energy, tidal energy, wave power, hydroelectricity, and geothermal energy, amongst others. Often web hosts simply buy carbon offsetting which means they buy certificates from companies that invest in alternative energy sources and ways of reducing carbon footprints. The amount of carbon a web host produces is calculated and that is offset by, for example, buy purchasing power saving light bulbs for use in third world countries – the amount of carbon saved by the power saving light bulbs offsets that which the web host produces. However, some hosts take extreme measures. The Deltalis RadixCloud data center is located deep within the Swiss Alps in a space formally used by the Swiss Air Force’s High Command. They actually use the cold water from melting glaciers to cool their premises.

Why the buzz?

Global warming is breathing down everybody’s neck and in the past hosting was one industry that people pointed fingers at – energy hungry, often inefficient, and often leaving a huge carbon footprint, web hosts had to change their ways rapidly, and be seen to change their ways. If the quality of a hosting service is the same at two companies, who wouldn’t use the provider that has ‘green’ credentials?

3. Reseller Hosting

What is it?

With a Reseller Hosting account you can use the server space and bandwidth your account has been allocated by a web host to host third-party websites. This can be done for a number of reasons – programmers might need the hosting space to manage the applications they are developing, while website design companies might offer full commercial packages that include ‘website design plus hosting’ options. A number of Internet-related businesses can use this type of hosting.

Why the buzz?

Reseller Hosting is a quick and easy way for a number of Internet companies to make passive income – they sell hosting along with whatever their products are and charge for it on a monthly/annual basis. Beyond that, reselling is an easy way for entrepreneurial types to get into the web hosting business. Web hosts generally offer lots of support to resellers, provide tools that allow them to build a white label business of their own using their resources and often utilizing their business know how. A reseller has his/her own company name, telephone number, premises, and to the end user can appear wholly independent of the web host providing the services. A number of top web hosts started life as resellers.

4. Dedicated Hosting

What is it?

Most websites are built on shared web hosting accounts. That means that hundreds (possibly thousands) of websites sit on a server and compete for the server’s resources (bandwidth, etc.). Websites on shared accounts can sometimes respond very slowly, and in rare cases, not be available to end users because there is too much activity on the server. Dedicated servers are different. They are not shared by lots of people or companies, and the resources (CPU, RAM, etc.) offered by a particular server are ‘dedicated’ to the renter’s needs. That might mean a dedicated server runs a single website with all server resources dedicated to its operation. Alternatively, the renter might have hundreds of websites, but he/she alone is in charge of allocating resources for each website.

Why the buzz?

Dedicated Servers often provide a better user experience for people visiting websites and also offer a genuine guaranteed uptime. With a dedicated server, you know what you are getting and you can scale your hardware as your website or websites grow. You can add very specific configurations to a dedicated server, and with Root Access you can install any software you wish. Dedicated Hosting offers peace of mind, flexibility and reliability – and that’s always hot.

5. Open Source Application Hosting

What is it?

Open Source software is produced by volunteers and available free of charge to end users. There are hundreds of examples of such software available which often enable people to create sophisticated websites at a fraction of the cost of developing them from the ground up. Possibly the best known of this type of software is WordPress, which started life as a free blog software, but has now morphed into a very sophisticated Content Management System (or CMS) with which to develop websites. Other examples include Joomla, Drupal, and PHP-Nuke, but there are a host of others. Open Source software also includes software for specific purposes – for example, ATutor and Moodle are specifically designed for people who want online classrooms.

To compliment the software the Internet is awash with websites that offer ‘themes’ that can be downloaded free of charge to give a website specific functionalities, and a specific look and feel. Often these are free; some cost a nominal fee, and for a little more you can have your template customized so it meets your exact requirements. Recognizing the popularity of Open Source software, many web hosts now offer web hosting specifically designed for Open Source applications. Such web hosting accounts allow you to install the software you need using a control panel and immediately start working on your website – no fuss, no code, no technical knowhow required.

Why the buzz?

Although the Internet was once seen as being something of an egalitarian platform, the costs involved in developing an attractive website with all the bells and whistles are prohibitive. Open Source software is the software for the rest of us – software for the people. It gives people a chance to be the next big thing on the Internet without having to break the bank to do it. Open Source Application Hosting simplifies things even further by making Open Source software immediately accessible and usable.

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