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There are many hosting options and technologies available to choose from, but which option is the best choice for developers? It depends on the scale of your development projects and operations, the available budget, and the type of applications you develop, or plan to develop.
As a developer, you can choose from a range of different options: Traditional shared and dedicated hosting plans, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud hosting plans.
Shared and Dedicated Hosting Plans
Traditional shared hosting and dedicated traditional hosting plans are interesting options if you already have a development platform in place.
Dedicated hosting plans do not come cheap, and they offer much better performance than shared hosting plans. In addition, dedicated hosting plans give you more flexibility and versatility, depending on how you set up and customize yours server. With a dedicated server hosting plan you get full control of your server, you can install any kind of software or framework, change configuration settings and operating system settings. This level of control is essential for some applications and certain kinds of development.
Managed dedicated servers offer superior reliability and support, while at the same time trying to offer competitive value for money. Dedicated hosting plans are usually used to host finished and deployed projects, so they are not likely to be an ideal solution for individual developers.
VPS (Virtual private Server) hosting plans are significantly cheaper the dedicated servers and are easily within the budget of individual developers and start-up application development businesses. In most respects, VPS hosting fits in between shared hosting plans and dedicated hosting plans, and is a good mid-range choice for bigger projects and experienced developers who still don’t need cloud platforms of dedicated hardware.
VPS hosting essentially gets you a virtual dedicated server instead of a real dedicated server, allowing greater control and many benefits associated with dedicated servers. The downside to using VPS is that you need to know more about server administration and management.
Although an unmanaged VPS is a cheaper option, if you run into trouble, things can get pretty expensive. Therefore, managed VPS is a smarter choice for users who aren’t confident they can handle server administration on their own.
IaaS Hosting: Built to Scale
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) cloud service provides you with virtual computing infrastructure – servers, storage, firewalls, bandwidth managers, IP address pools etc. IaaS can be an interesting option for start-up businesses looking to minimize capital investments in computing infrastructure.
Keep in mind that IaaS services only provide you with virtual computing hardware, the rest is up to the user: installing operating systems, software, databases, frameworks, etc. In the IaaS service model, user maintains the software, while the service provider maintains the virtual hardware infrastructure.
IaaS cloud service benefits from great scalability options, including dynamic scaling (resources are allocated and added dynamically when they are needed, in peak hours for example). Downsides to using IaaS include the small risk of IaaS provider downtime and no high level control over IT infrastructure facilities and resources.
IaaS cloud services are usually cheaper than PaaS (Platform as a Service), so if you don’t mind the extra effort in setting up your software environment, they are an interesting option. Service providers usually bill IaaS customers on a pay-as-you-go model, and users only pay for the resources they actually used. In that regard, it is similar to your electric bill.
PaaS Is a Good Option for Developers
A PaaS (Platform as a Service) cloud service is a complete virtual software development platform, ready to go. In this service model, the service provider takes care of hardware and software maintenance, you get the latest updates to installed components without worries. PaaS is also an interesting option for start-up businesses, because you simply use your web browser to access your PaaS, and you can start working on your projects immediately.
Many PaaS solutions have integrated team collaboration services, so your development team can work from any location that has internet access. PaaS solutions are very well suited for rapid web application development, involving multiple remote developers. Downsides to using PaaS include risks of so-called “vendor lock-in” and the possibility of PaaS provider downtime.
PaaS services are priced higher than IaaS, and most providers charge for PaaS services on a monthly or daily basis. Many PaaS providers offer free trials of their services, so make sure to try them out and see how they fit your needs.
Points to Remember
There is no simple answer as to what hosting plan is best suited for developers. There are too many factors to take into consideration, and it is impossible to recommend a one size fits all solution. It’s up to the user to decide, based on their needs and budget.
It usually boils down to value for money and scalability. For many small developers, affordable VPS plans are the way to go. However, if their business starts to grow, nothing beats a scalable cloud setup.
PaaS is a very attractive option for serious developers, especially if they collaborate with multiple freelance developers around the globe, or if the whole dev team is distributed.