In our IT 101 series we have looked at topics such as how IT consulting services can help your business, your IT roadmap, the basics behind software licensing and the value of a virtual CIO, as well as issues such as ransomware, and now we turn our attention to hosting.
The term ‘host’ is used a lot in IT and carries slightly different meanings depending on the context. We’ll look at a few here.
A network host is a computer or another device connected to a network that offers information resources, service and applications needed to run a business.
These hosts might have more than one business using their network services, so it’s important for clients to have a unique identifier.
On a typical IP Network (internet protocol), each host has a number. That, coupled with a network identity, forms a unique IP address. In IT jargon, you’ll hear the words ‘IP address’ bandied around in conversations where identification is important, and that’s the point essentially.
The unique address ensures the right information flows in and out of the right business and across networks to servers and end-users.
For businesses or individuals with a website, a host is a web server that allows you to store and send data from one or more sites. The server makes sure instructions are followed, for example, that the right page is served when you click on a link, or a file is opened or shared on request.
Using cloud computing technology, this type of hosting allows several servers to act as one system, ensuring website performance is guaranteed across multiple machines.
Cloud hosting often includes a network of servers pulling information from different data centres in different locations, but the beauty of this offering is that it allows users to buy the level of service they need, so they’ll never overpay for functionality or capacity they won’t use.
It’s an alternative to hosting a site on a server with a physical presence – something that needs to be stored, maintained and upgraded regularly by the business, which raises questions about whether your office space is suitable for such storage. As such, it’s considered an infrastructure and platform service and uses a public network to send data that’s stored on shared servers.
Virtual hosting allows you to host multiple domain names and handle each separately on a single server or pool of servers.
Single servers can also share resources and services offering additional benefits to businesses such as:
- Reduced costs - with less capital investment in equipment, hardware, software, storage and the need for physical space, making it very beneficial for businesses on an IT budget.
- Reduced downtime - virtual servers offer more efficient means of back-up, improving disaster recovery planning. They can be replicated more quickly too, so downtime following any incident will be minimal and business continuity will be ensured.
- Faster server deployment - virtual servers can be standardised, replaced and deployed much faster, making it a more efficient and agile IT resource. Depending on your business, this can also mean greater speed to market.
As the name suggests, a remote host is a computer that’s housed in a different physical location and provides users with remote access.
It typically refers to a server in a private network or the public internet. It’s also used to describe a PC that sits in another location and is accessed over the internet, for file transfer or another remote-control operation.
We hope this rundown of the basics of hosting has been useful.
For more from our IT 101 series, download part of our collection so you can be on top of the main topics and issues surrounding IT and how they can help your business to grow: