Web Hosting: Then, Now, Tomorrow.
Web hosting, though a major part of how the internet works, is rarely discussed even though there are over 352,760 web hosting providers out there. We tend to neglect web hosting and often do not even pay much attention to what a provider actually offers. All we look for is bandwidth and space, without considering other important factors. Today’s web hosting is secure and offers great flexibility, but things were not this simple in the beginning. Web hosting has changed over the years and today’s hosting is much more affordable and easy to understand. Let’s have a look at how web hosting has changed over the years.
The beginning wasn’t easy. Web hosting was earlier limited to workstations that were set up in offices. Websites were basically hosted on servers that rested under a desk, and could be unplugged by anyone.
This was a tough time as neglect could cause your site to go down, and let’s not forget electricity related issues. Companies generally used to hire IT professionals to take care of hosting requirements, and they’d have to appear whenever called to take care of problems.
Many people still think that this form of hosting was greatly controlled, but it wasn’t too late before technology provided more benefits. This form of hosting wasn’t only prone to regular unplugs, but a jump in traffic could also cause servers to go down. While many companies turned to backups for safety, it wasn’t enough to keep the boat sailing.
A lot of the issues with workstations were sorted out by moving these servers to a safe location called physical servers. The idea mainly came due to the increase in volumes and the requirement to have a dedicated space for servers. Here there was no risk of the cleaners mistakenly unplugging the system, or fire and water causing any damage.
Physical servers were protected thanks to better resources. This dedicated server room also removed other issues as there was now a team of professionals to take care of servers, including better handling of traffic and improved uptime.
This way emergency conditions could be dealt with without any issue. Dedicated server rooms provided better security and improved approach to businesses. Even small issues were taken care of, such as servers heating up. Since data centers hosted several servers, there was a risk of servers heating up due to the rise in temperature, causing the companies to improve infrastructure.
Special air conditioning units were installed to keep the servers cool, in addition to having fire extinguishers. Additionally, most data centers also provided physical security to ensure no unauthorized person could access the servers and cause any disruption or leakage of private information.
While this was a good upgrade, such servers had downfalls as well. Firstly, one needed a huge amount of investment to host a data server. Other than this, it wasn’t easy to plan and implement data servers. Not all companies could manage such a system, hence requiring other solutions.
The Virtual Zone
The next jump came in the form of virtual servers, as physical servers went virtual. Companies understood the need to reduce costs and other problems, including traveling and time constraints.
This concept of virtual private networks (VPNs) was unheard of when it was introduced to the system. When you think of it, virtual servers are technically physical servers that are hosted in some part of the world, but you do not have to worry about these aspects as there is a team taking care of physical servers to ensure you get the best quality, including 99.9% up work, safety and other such features.
These servers made websites truly global, improving download speeds as well. This was the time when SEO was becoming famous, and since Google considers speed as a ranking factor, the importance of server location became very important since speed greatly depended on where a website was located.
This is the latest and most utilized form of hosting, seen everywhere from WordPress to Dropbox to Gmail. Almost all of us use cloud hosting on a daily basis without even knowing it.
Cloud hosting is quite like VPNs, however it offers better resources and is much more reliable than VPNs. It also removes problems related to VPN, such as geographical location of the server.
This new age of hosting is highly flexible and is still evolving. This hosting has provided users with numerous opportunities, and is one of the reasons behind the success of ecommerce.
Experts believe that cloud hosting has more potential and it would allow for stronger and faster hosting in the future.