For some time, I found myself thinking that the world of web hosting needs to change something profoundly: The web is changing and so is changing the delivery of services online, whether they be web hosting services or whether services that can be outsourced, as are today SaaS, from CRM to manage e-mail to millions of other things.
In this article I want to talk about what is my personal vision of the market and the evolution of the web hosting providers because of, a profession that I know very well and which I feel I can provide some insight and advice, I divide this article into three blocks: SaaS, Cloud Computing and finally the Mobile, defined as the delivery of services accessible from smartphones and always on the move.
Why three tools? Everyone is having an explosive spread and are changing the way in which they “consume” services and information online, which means you must destroy a model or more previous models and at the same time give a boost to those who want to innovate, to improve their services. This article is intended as a sort of tutorial, indication I’ve seen in the last six months and where it’s going. This world is just as useful for those who do the job of a provider who merely provides hosting, email and more and for those who are a professional, and looking for a new job or want to provide a better service to its customers.
For any criticism or comments, please write an in depth article, in the comments, because it can give rise to a very clear and effective discussion on these issues.
SaaS is revolutionizing the whole field of applications, those that once were offline and those who have already been born to be within a browser. Do not we know this? But today, even in the company, most of the time is spent in a browser, including email (Gmail Webmail), CRM applications (SalesForce or other), and tools to operate totally disconnected from a desktop application.
I will not argue on the goodness of this revolution, all in the cloud? Yes, the advantages and disadvantages are known. Instead, I want to provide some vision about the SaaS delivery model which reaches perfection, because it removes charges to the end user who should not have their own infrastructure, making it easy for the service provider to provide the service, making it profitable immediately after accounts activation, and finally simplify the use of that tool because the data can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Most applications today are born on the web are provided through this model. Not only that, I know dozens of entrepreneurs who use on-farm, purchase services of any kind for the business, connecting them with each other whenever possible. Google Apps for example, due to its fame, is used by almost all the great services, SaaS as a key tool to import contacts, access email and documents.
And on its growth: The SaaS second Forrester has reached a value of 21 billion dollars worldwide in 2011 and is projected at 137 billion dollars (6 times of the current value) by 2020. There are a number of factors, those already said, and one that I want to explain as the last point, the Mobile.
Now, for those who use online SaaS services, such as private or business, it becomes apparent the advantage, but for those who sell online services such as web hosting and dedicated servers, e-mail solutions and other small tools? We see it together now.
SaaS: From the web hosting provider, no opportunity should be missed
The SaaS goes beyond the concept to simply provide the platform: it becomes a commodity in every way, because none of us care what kind of hardware or server which has the features that Salesforce provides the service or to MailChimp. We just believe that it should work and do exactly what we expect if we want more resources for the application, and we pay for an account with more potential.
In web hosting, today things are different: we are still tied to the concept of Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, Reseller Account and etc. In short: the web hosting is still at level 1 you start with when you want to do something online, but there is a risk of losing importance if a train does not evolve towards SaaS. Let me explain.
The creation of a new website has always occurred through these steps:
1: Buying domain and web space
2: If I configure my web space
3: I write code, or install a CMS, configure it, and start working
4: I take care to see that the site is working properly and if too much traffic is there, I upgrade my web hosting plan
These steps are so easy for us to understand, we are always trying to provide the best information from a couple of last years(otherwise you would not be reading our blog and would be reading something else). We have seen that often, the web hosting and domains were poorly understood, with problems for their activation and use. Its a daily routine for those who offer these kinds of services: people do not know how to turn a database, mailbox, how to redirect DNS and etc.
On the other hand in recent years, the services that allow you to create your own website online have arisen. They started to be known as we all know: “Create your own website online in 5 minutes“. And most of the times it was not very effective online tools, which allowed to create a showcase site. Today it is not so: The CMS online, allowing you to create real websites are many, allow you to register a new domain or transfer, are simple to use, and above all have a level of extreme customization, often identical to that which can be reached with one of the many that we know CMS like WordPress or Drupal.
The result is that, they steal market share from hosting providers. Quite simply, they do it in a very simple way, focusing on the details: these services offer simplicity as the main component, whether it is to create a website or an online campaign structure of web marketing or to deliver e-learning content.
Affect everyone? NO!
This is the important point, it hits the smallest of the web hosting provider, those who are struggling to emerge in the mass and mostly have no tools to add technology (do not value, but technology) at their service. They use Plesk, or other panels, and continue to deliver products that are becoming commodities. Unfortunately.
For large providers, this does not happen for one simple reason: They are the basis for SaaS and for the thousands of new applications created. They are full-bodied investments in data center connectivity and have the visibility needed to ensure that they are still at level 1, for those companies that need to disburse SaaS services.
What should the hosting provider have?
Two things should be on priority: To try to integrate these services into their software, where possible, and more to shake direct partnerships with those who offer them, how to get wholesale stores which create sales and make sure that their customers are already active for their web hosting services, do not have to look elsewhere for other types of service. In short, it is unthinkable that the web hosting provider is not the center of the supply of all major services for SMEs and elsewhere escape from the customer.
Like the small companies that offer web hosting services must begin to invest heavily in the development of custom software on their business, for offering new services or improve existing ones: in the context of cloud computing, which today is expressed at a shocking speed, it is unthinkable competition in infrastructure, is instead on the front of the software, the provider has to win and give them a second “youth” as online service providers. It is unthinkable that the shared hosting can remain a product that will be popular forever, just as there has to move away somewhat from those vendors such as Parallels Plesk, they are doing very little innovation and have relegated an entire sector to be “stopped” in many respects.
That’s right, forget about those who say that it is marketing or technology does not exist. It is not a ignorable matter, the fact is that more and more companies choose cloud computing platforms, both private and public. This however means that, cloud computing was born as an ecosystem of services and systems that did not exist before: from consulting to sales of hardware change in the delivery model of the software, we are talking about a new era in IT which has a real potential of improving the use of resources by changing how they are consumed.
Cloud computing obviously requires big investment and has very low margins when it comes to IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service. The reason is simple, it takes large investments in data centers, staff and the development of networks and software. Amazon, which currently has the largest cloud computing service in the world can take advantage of economies of scale which are unlikely to be applicable to other companies in the world engaged in the same type of service. This on the one hand makes the adoption of cloud computing accelerating because Amazon and other major groups such as Microsoft and ESDS have the strength to ferry companies on new technological models, on the other had, requires a reflection on the hosting provider.
Cloud computing IaaS format requires investments that are not conceivable for small providers and even if this is put in place as a strategy is not sustainable in the long term: basically you end up delivering a type of service that has a high cost to the final customer and brings higher prices and not instead a reduction in costs as expected from the adoption of cloud computing.
What is the solution for small hosting provider? You can still make cloud computing services on a small scale, with solution providers like OnApp or VMware, or OpenStack, but we try to specialize the service and justify the higher cost, for each hour of computation compared to other operators. If this is not possible, it is surely better to go for advice in relation to the cloud, a business that is equally important, supporting the customer on a very complex infrastructure such as Amazon, but managing totally, in its place, the deployment of applications and data thus having an income from this activity.
Small providers have a point in their favor: They are physically very close to reality and can help you implement cloud in the company, making a saving seriously, but not necessarily trying to provide the same level of service they can offer or providers specializing in this context.
Not only that, Cloud computing for those who provide web hosting services on a small scale, should be primarily a way to improve the way they deliver services, starting with the possibility of outsourcing the service at the data center, and delete a physical presence, or improve ‘service delivery using, “below”, an approach Cloud. Only secondarily, do you expect to launch cloud computing services, but without underestimating the impact of marketing that this approach would have on your existing services?
One last option is to have whitelabel services sold by large providers who have created ad hoc partnership programs. This is certainly a more subtle but equally viable business not to lose the opportunity to have cloud computing as a service between its own products.
When a few months ago, I saw that the visits coming from smartphones on our portals has been increasing , I wondered what I could do to take advantage of that traffic and at the same time I had to revise our strategies on editorial and other products that we launched. I could not ignore the fact that 20 out of 100 people would read this article with a smartphone, while they are at work, in the car, train or anywhere else in the world.
Today we carry out a job that has also evaluated this approach to mobile and has studied how to use it to enhance the experience of readers.
What will change with the furniture? Think about it..
This is enough to show that the same online service providers are the first who must make their websites navigable and usable on a smartphone. Purchase of a single domain gives you the ability to manage your web hosting account is now clear that it is necessary to provide a solution that is also used by smartphone or tablet, without placing constraints to the customer.
In addition, considering the fact that many people who use a smartphone have never used these services, you need to find and study new ways to propose on these devices.
Just like you need to make sure that its customers in creating websites and products online, they can access tools to make them immediately available for the mobile is a business that no hosting provider is considering at the moment and that could have a very high impact if carried out with a good idea, a software, a framework or any other structure that allows customers to easily derive the benefits from the cabinet. But back to point 1, remember: SaaS and the need to develop software.
Do you agree?
We are working on a new version of our portals, with many new features (behind the scenes), and in the initial stages of discussion and meeting between us to understand how it work. We decided to focus a lot on the mobile. Or on navigable sites from smartphones and tablets. For one simple reason, the statistics tells us that more and more people reach us from a mobile phone and not from a PC.
We are not alone, but it is part of an international trend completely. Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist (and author) of one of my favorite books, now devotes at least one article per week to the evolution of mobile and point out that there are numbers you cannot now ignore in any way. For example, last year said that PayPal and eBay will exceed 10 billion in revenue generated by transactions via smartphones, which is pretty true.
But if we look in other directions, we see that here the first thing that crumble is: Essentially the Mobile was somewhat different, though until a few years ago it was a philosophy that would serve adaptation for smartphones of their products online, now I realize that this is being already provided online, must be totally rethought. There is a change in the size of the screens, the psychology of users (with a target that is often not the same as browsing from a PC), and especially changing modes of use. The click of the mouse disappears and the interface must become as simple as possible. E-commerce, from coupon services and many others, is what currently can grow more, because purchases by phone are easy, they are fast and the very fact of being able to carry on in few steps makes this thing stimulate sales.
I often wonder how it changes, however, the purchase of services from mobile, that are not consumer goods. Let me give an example: the other day I bought a travel insurance online, on iPad. I have not had any problems, I am not even bothered to see if the site was optimized for the iPad, the browser makes the best 90% of websites. Then, after completing all I’ve tried, for the sake, I saw it on the iPhone. A disaster… No optimized version, probably starting with this device I would never have completed the purchase.
For online services, and therefore also for the domain name registration and web hosting, what changes? Hard to say, I have no data at hand, nor I found, I think they are very few in number today to register domains and buy hosting services from mobile. Why? The reason is that between the Indian sites visited, as well as some international, almost no one has a specific application nor an optimized version. In India, I understand that we will need to develop an app for smartphones that will allow you to register domains directly from smartphones, while others have not seen any of that.
I want to understand if there are companies that are developing in this direction and at the same time it could (and how) change the experience of buying domain registration and dedicated hosting services from mobile..
In this episode we will see how to choose the company that will provide the hosting service.
Choose a hosting service – The company’s choice
In the first part of our guide, we have spoken about the ‘ requirements analysis, fundamental step to understand what service is needed, what should be the level and above. We will now talk about the different types of hosting to choose from (shared hosting, virtual and dedicated server hosting) in the next episode, but first I want to dwell for a “bit”, the choice of the company that will provide the service, regardless of our crucial final choice.
It is always a topic discussed in our forum, and among those who often have different opinions brought to the surface: the choice of the company actually takes place according to different factors, the user often chooses because he was recommended. In our blog, we talked about word of mouth publicity several times, when choosing a company, it is definitely the preferred solution, second only to targeted advertising.
How do you choose a company that offers web hosting services? Considering various factors, more or less important, which are considered at all, even when the offer is so tempting to just push us to buy.
Let’s see a small lineup of the factors we should consider:
As you can see, a rating value ranging from 1 (least important) to 5 (highest importance) was given, but not all the factors mentioned must “weigh” the same way in our choice of provider hosting.
At the end of the list of important factors to consider, when choosing a good hosting company, we should always keep in mind that these factors are considered as the basis and starting, then every choice must also consider other factors that vary according to your needs. As you can see there is no surefire way to tell if an activity is completely reliable, however, there are, as we have seen, evaluated factors that restrict the possibility of a wrong choice or disappointment.
The term web hosting, more commonly abbreviated as “hosting” means the practice of hosting one or more websites on a web server, accessible over the network and then viewed by online users.
The web hosting is a service provided by millions of companies worldwide who are called “Web Hosting Provider” or simply “hosting provider”. The owners of web hosting allow a website to have a space with certain characteristics (disk space, monthly bandwidth, email accounts, databases and other services). Within this space all web pages, images and general content required for the operation of the website are saved: a domain, such as www.esds.co.in is connected to this space so that the site is publicly accessible.
The web hosting services are hosted on servers, and these in turn reside in particular physical structures called Data Center, designed to have low temperatures and ensure continuity of service, so that websites will always remain visible.
The web hosting providers usually provide different levels of web hosting services that include:
How Many Web Hosting Companies Are There?
Currently in India, as well as in the rest of the world, there are thousands of companies that provide web hosting services: the distinction between them is mainly due to the fact that each decides to host their servers in a different nation.
These are real companies that work with staff specializing in providing customer service and maintenance of servers online: this type of activity is not performed with the same quality from all operators, and this leads to a differentiation of solutions and prices in the web hosting market.
Please refer to the section on choosing a web hosting company for all information and advice when purchasing a web hosting service.
Key Features Of A Web Hosting Service
We conclude this brief introduction to web hosting services, listing what are the elements that are usually included in a web hosting service. A web hosting service is built with a number of features and technical elements:
Domain name: (such as www.esds.co.in) to associate the web space (website)
Web Space: 50 MB up to 20/30 GB of space to publish the files
Monthly bandwidth: the amount of bandwidth that we can use for our account
Subdomains: it is shaped as webhosting.esds.co.in, restricted or limited in number
Control Panel: software that allows you to manage your account
E-mail boxes: vary in the number and size available (these services usually also include Antivirus and Antispam)
Databases: MySQL, SQL Server or other types used
Statistics: a tool to monitor the access and visits to the pages of our website
Supported languages: PHP to Ruby on Rails, specify what types of programming languages that we use to write the pages of our website
WebMail: A tool to view your email online, in your browser.
In this article we have seen what is meant by web hosting. Services are often very complex and within them, as we have seen, there are dozens of different characteristics. Use our search engine, on top of this page, for the information and terms that you are not clear about.
I was wrong. I thought that the “trend” is always to buy a VPS (Virtual Private Server, also called Virtual Machine, VM) was over and yet I cannot help but noticed that there are still a lot of people who still speak so much of the goodness of these solutions to shared hosting when it is no longer enough .
The VPS are nothing more than virtual machines created with different technologies, depending on the needs and the provider you choose, but from the point of view “operations” are real and their dedicated servers are only different in the eyes of the user in name, but with all issues involving the management of a server on the network, from its management.
Users have begun to compare VPS hosting plans with shared and reseller for some time: this led to these solutions because they offer to acquire the ability to manage more domains, to have a control panel other than the one we have seen in most other offers shared hosting and why it usually has a “full customization.” The “merit” is a lot of offers, not managed, they did seem really easy to manage your VPS, if not for the fact that these require knowledge and a management of shared hosting, even professional level, obviously not required. I try to clarify once and for all and then with a series of points about what gives a VPS and shared hosting one thing, trying to emphasize a line of confrontation between the two products:
Also suitable to absorb peak loads and important if it is a professional solution with high level.
I hope I was able to focus on what are the salient features of the two offers and why a VPS is a solution that is more complex to manage, justifiable only if the customer really needs.
Much of the debate today on the web focuses on the need for infrastructure, dedicated hosting can be quite scalable in terms of web applications that can have a variable number of users.
What does this mean?
Especially in India there is the number of startups growing, and we talk for almost all web applications, social or other things which have their own common denominator and the analysis of data from external sources, third party service API, or the storage of large amounts of information.
PHP is a scripting language that has most enabled the web to grow with the creation of new services and web applications today is no longer the leading choice of web developers. Frameworks like Ruby on Rails has made development faster, but with the demand for different hosting environments.
In this sense web hosting needs are quite different from what we usually read. Many of the people are looking for solutions for the management of a CMS, a community or a portal, more or less growth. Not to mention the requirements that involve an application online that is growing strongly, this is for now only in few cases.
But I am sure that this wave of start-ups and web applications will come. But what are the platforms and languages used? Other than that we find today on many web hosting platforms. PHP is no longer the first scripting language used, the MVC model embodied by Ruby on Rails is one that is popular for the design of web applications with greatly reduced time. Alongside there are other languages like Python , not in first place among the choices, but definitely one of the languages that are considered by several projects.
There are a number of tools that cover the management of services, memcached is a solution commonly used for content caching, while on the front of the DBMS, solutions NoSQL are a must for many startups that want to manage large amounts of data. There are dozens of services worldwide that offer VPS for developers, with preconfigured environment of this type. The implementation of a service that aims to offer these services as a platform, in a perspective of shared hosting service, is completely lacking for now, but the addition of these technologies will go hand in hand with their spread.
It often happens that users complain of the arrogance or rudeness of the services of their web hosting providers, usually accusing the Indian providers who seem truly disliked more than those overseas. From experience I can say that it is not so, and it also happens in the U.S. If there are technical staff with a bad day, they can succeed unpleasant ticket, and sound very detached, as is normal, there are people to respond.
What we have tried many times to say is that the dialogue and the approach used with the assistance of its hosting service is almost always determined by the emergence of such problems . Let me give some advice that may be useful for the next time you’ll open a ticket, in different situations.
Downtime, ticket information request : in these cases, it much depends on the type of service, let’s assume you are on shared hosting, domain and web space. Report this downtime, but immediately asking for explanations and complaining about the disruption cannot take away the problem. I almost always have a service provider monitoring and they probably are already working on the problem, but to answer and inform the customer of all is a bit more complicated than you might think. This kind of ticket does nothing but delay the response to obtain explanations or altered, more so in smaller companies, where technicians are alternated between ticket and challenge. Better to ask about downtime and reserve at a later date to discuss the details, including any reimbursements provided by the SLA.
Unanticipated changes : not all hosting providers allow queries about changing some settings, the more so about our script. From experience many hosting providers are also inclined to grant modifications or inspections not covered by the contract, but always make sure that this behavior is or is not a favor, and especially what are the requirements to be feasible contract.
Domains and mailboxes : two of the most popular services when it comes to tickets, users often forget or fail to include important details useful information for a quick resolution of the problem. Writing “mail does not work” is unfortunately a lack of information and not very helpful for certain services, then try to include a precise description of the problem, adding examples. With these two services, it is very easy to explain vague, especially if you are inexperienced, you ask for details. It is quite normal, and most importantly it is critical to the resolution.
Upgrade and trade demands : loading problems often end with a proposal for a new plan or upgrade to a dedicated server from the provider. Before assessing whether this is or is not excessive, ask for a proper technical explanation of the problem and the solution, some customers often accuse the providers who want to sell a superior solution if technical problems are not resolved. An explanation and analysis technique can be useful to ask a further opinion and get useful information with which to compare.
Avoid threats of publishing information on websites, a practice that is quite wrong and does not lead to anything good, so do not threaten the publication of the story on portals, blogs and industry. This almost never helps to solve the problem or unlock the situation. Narrating the positive or negative experience in any case will be a next step, but certainly not helpful during the dialogue with the service.
Small business uses mostly cloud storage (67%), and hosting web sites (56%), according to a recent study that was carried out by people who are working in leading IT and dedicated hosting companies. Organized in recent months in two steps, a survey of more than 300 small business managers showed that the above mentioned two areas are most popular among SMBs, and they are followed by business continuity and customer relationship management (39%).
As the results of the study, most small businesses, which created cloud infrastructure, carried out in a cloud of 10-30% of the time (44%). If 11% of respondents said they did not spend time on the clouds, the other 11% claim to dedicate the use of cloud technology more than 50% of the time.
The study also showed the lack of consensus about the benefits of cloud services. Costs have been identified and as a chief virtue, and as the main obstacle to the development of this technology. Surveys conducted earlier this month during an exhibition and as well as through the Internet, demonstrate that the defects promote the benefits of clouds to contain the spread of cloud technology.
Of the more than 300 specialists participated in the survey, 93% believe that they are able to explain the nature of cloud providers. However, almost 43% of respondents said their organizations still do not use the cloud. Those who use the point to cost savings, mobile access and ease of management of infrastructure as a major advantage (42%). At the same time, 54% refer to the related costs as the main obstacle to the development of clouds.
Research shows that there are barriers for organizations to use solutions based on cloud technologies and uncertainty regarding the deployment of clouds and their benefits. It is clear that companies need a more active learning and familiarity with examples of real-world deployment. This is evidenced by most of the answers.
I believe that the industry requires sharing of best practices that companies can evaluate scenarios using real clouds. They have a need to see the benefits that companies derive similar size, belonging to the same industry and with similar infrastructure, with whom they could relate and compare myself.
An Cluster Hosting or Network is a type of host that combines performance on demand. If suddenly the site traffic increases, also called Grid hosting is the allocation of more resources and thus keep the site online and running smoothly.
It is common for a start of small site and over time will grow, the Cluster hosting grows as your site grows, so the webmaster does not need to do updates manually. Cluster Host makes the association of resources of many dedicated servers, such as website content that is distributed across multiple servers.
This network system helps to achieve high reliability and 99.9% uptime (time online), because if one server falls apart, only a fraction of the resources of the Cluster will be lost. The Cluster has extra features that are always available to be allocated as needed.
Compared to the shared hosting, the Cluster offers a higher availability and scalability. Sharing The host can handle a limited amount of traffic, and the site may become inaccessible. The host responds to the height of the cluster traffic, adding new features to the site, keeping your site online, regardless of traffic.
Due to differences in the cluster, it does not support some of the technologies used in hosting:
Databases access are not supported due to the blocking scheme of access that prevents the simultaneous use of different processes.
The storage of data within the scope of application is depending on multiple concurrent sessions of access to accurate data for the entire application.
Static must have simultaneous access to accurate data through the site (application).