Evolution is one of the most inevitable facts of life – and the same can be said about web hosting.
Hosting is one of the most integral elements of setting up a fully functioning, wide-reaching website. Failure to fully understand this essential cog can lead to an online disaster. Even if a website is beautifully developed and flawlessly tested, a poorly hosted website will be out of business in no time.
To set sail into the world wide web, find out how a website’s maiden voyage traveled in the past on a single desk server to the present’s omnipotent cloud host.
The Relentless Captain
During the digital olden days, hosting services were done in the then-believed comfort and safety of a desk. A sole IT professional at any given time would hold the steering wheel to drive a website into the unknown. It was a simple, and controlled.
Then unforeseen circumstances came in.
The website had a spike of visitors. Network demand shot up, and the server was caught up in the eye of the storm. Worse yet, an unsuspecting employee pulled a late-nighter and created havoc with an accidental pull of the plug of the server. This left the man on the deck lost at sea. This situation created the old-school scenario where IT professionals are called in for an “emergency” in the middle of the night.
Not a good sight for the CTO to see!
A desktop server may have been a good deal with its low cost upfront. However, the long run proved to be a different story once turbulence came in and the hardware and equipment was left in e-ruins.
The Dedicated Tool
Due to various external risks, not to mention the more immediate internal and systemic considerations, web servers and hosting equipment soon found comfort and safety in a dedicated server room. Definitely a safer place against unnecessary spills or power-trips.
A server not only provided safety to the equipment and the system. It also provided physical upgrades to make sure any “emergency” situations can be dealt with accordingly. Since a bigger space is now allotted for the purpose of hosting a website and the e-network, data centers had spread out its infrastructure and created fail-safe measures in case of an immediate performance upsurge. Redundant hardware, alternate routing systems, and additional energy sources were some of the Plan B gears that a dedicated server room had.
External systems were also put into place to maximize the data center’s performance. Cooling systems (i.e. adding stronger air conditioning units or cooling fans) were set since servers generated high temperatures from the mechanical and electrical parts of the whole server. Emergency fire extinguishers and retardants were also automated to make sure emergency situations can be addressed. Physical security was also organized and set-up to keep off any unauthorized individuals. All these measures were laid out on top of the constant surveillance of a dedicated team to monitor, override (as needed), update, and fix any bug or glitch the network may experience.
On the other hand, dedicated servers had a few downfalls. First of all, the proven effective system requires a huge initial investment due to the number of elements that needed to be put into place. Obviously, this system required major considerations in terms of planning. Before a data center is established, the physical space, manpower, and midterm to long-term schedule must be thoroughly thought out.
To an extent, the above-mentioned considerations are still embraced by present day hosts, especially by big enterprises and hosting companies. This makes the use of physical servers a viable option for businesses.
The Virtual Hub
Technological evolution in web hosting eventually took a huge leap from the physical realm and landed on the virtual plane. It began with the need to increase the security of critical data while users access this data in unsecure locations. An example of this scenario was the rise of employees who were on the go but needed to tap into the company’s database.
This requirement never had a place in network computing in the distant past. However, the changing times put forth the need to match the increasing pace of e-commerce. Since more and more users began using mobile devices and working in isolated and digitally private locations, the need to evolve servers to a more dynamic, free-ranged and secure hub became a huge consideration.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) gave comfort to these technologically taxing times. This option created a pathway to unchartered lands. Scalability, flexibility, and hardware efficiency provided a different perspective to IT professionals on how to provide better service to the users. Enterprise applications elevated to more advanced (and even clandestine) purposes. This placed emphasis on the power of virtual hosting.
Virtual servers did not stop from evolving. Since various aspects remain unresolved (e.g. limited resources due to the fact that VPNs are bound to underlying private servers), a more organized, more flexible, and generally more capable hosting system was born.
The Calm Cloud
Presently, cloud hosting is considered to be the most utilized hosting service to date. This is based on the fact that a layman user is bound to cloud computing in their “basic” accesses to the e-network. Anyone who has used online drives like Dropbox, Gmail, and even WordPress, is tapping into the services of cloud hosting. WordPress specifically has grown to encompass a huge variety of different hosting options – almost too many. For those who are interested in learning more about WordPress hosting options, there are plenty of sites that offer a good overview of hosting.
Basically, the concept behind cloud hosting is still similar to VPNs. What sets it apart is the underlying physical server of cloud hosts tap into a larger pool of resources, not limited to a single or physical hub. This access to wider resources gave an almost endless supply of options to cater to the users’ needs. Eventually, it created an influx of online application, growing exponentially at the speed of knowledge.
With all the various demands rising left and right, cloud hosting was able to match the requirements and provide system efficiency to those who opt to use the service. SMEs began to see the benefits of the new-age virtual hosting because of its increased network capability and financial flexibility to its users.
Various virtual service providers eventually created different paths for further expansion and diversity of the technology. This brought about unlimited opportunities not only to the business side of the service but also to the future development of the technology.
Web hosting technology has evolved with the users throughout the years. Surprisingly, users have evolved as technology has, and applications have risen throughout the period internet growth. At this pace, cloud hosting may evolve to a faster, more dynamic, and more cost-efficient option in matter of a few years.