by jasonphillips on 02/09/12 at 6:00 am
The market for web hosting has changed dramatically in the past few years. Ten to fifteen years ago the best way to ensure a stable web application deployment was to build your own server and do all of your own administration and coding. By the twenty first century, web hosting providers were much more numerous, stable and cost efficient. It was possible to host several kinds of web applications from Microsoft based to UNIX based applications through a hosted provider who could do your administration for you. By 2010, we saw Cloud based web hosting take a strong foot hold in the web application hosting market. Companies like Google, Rackspace and Amazon were able to provide everything from the hardware to the web application programming platform, based on the user’s needs and proficiency level.
In today’s world, cloud hosting fits many needs, but it is not always the right solution for web applications. If you are looking to develop your own custom web applications and feel more confident knowing that you have a dedicated environment instead of a shared cloud environment, dedicated managed hosting is a good option. Also, if you plan to develop your application in a programming environment not supported by a cloud host, dedicated web hosting may be your only option.
The next consideration is which hosting platform is the best for your particular situation. In the past, UNIX based environments were very popular. However, due to cheaper hardware costs for Windows and Linux environments, along with new technologies, UNIX is pretty much confined to large enterprise implementations or small hobby applications.
Windows is a good environment for developing code that is based on the Microsoft development and BackOffice suite of tools. Development tools such as Microsoft SQL Server, the .Net programming environment, Access and Excel are offered almost exclusively on the Windows platform. While solutions such as Mono do allow you to run .Net on Linux, reliability is shaky and support for these solutions is often very costly.
Many people assume that the use of a Linux environment means that they will not have good access tools into their web server since they currently use a Windows operating system on their desktop computers. This is not the case; however, as server access is usually done through FTP file transfer tools, a command line interface or a custom GUI app. Your access to your server will consist almost exclusively of loading files – scripts, images, html – onto your main server file directories. Administrative duties that would require specific knowledge of Linux or Windows server administration would be performed by your hosting provider’s administrative staff.
From a security perspective, Microsoft has gotten a bad reputation for being a target of several malicious hacking attacks. The main reason for this however, is not because the Microsoft environment is any less secure than the Linux environment, but due to the fact that Windows servers have traditionally been easy to set up, and therefore often set up by inexperienced users, making them an easy attack vector for hackers. The reality of the situation, however, is that either operating system, Linux or Windows, can be locked down and secured equally well with the help of competent administrators.
Finally, many people have assumed that Linux solutions are less expensive because they are based on a free open source operating system. The mantra of the open source software community, however, is “free as in free speech, not free beer.” What this means is that open source software comes at a price that is different, but often equally monetarily to proprietary systems such as Windows. While Windows based solutions require a licensing fee for the OS, the administrative staff often comes at a lower price. The complexity of running a Linux server can often be much higher than a Windows environment, and administrative staff is less plentiful in the market and therefore demand a bit of a higher pay grade. Either way, monetarily it ends up being about the same price for the consumer of the hosted service in the end.
Author Bio: Jason Phillips is a fun loving person. He is passionate about latest gadgets. Apart from that he is a writer and blogger and has a great pool of knowledge about web hosting and hosted Microsoft dynamics. He is very enthusiastic about writing.