4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Hosting Provider

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by Madison Huntley|Marketing Coordinator

 

When it comes to your Developer Portal, you may wonder which deployment options are best suited for your organization. 

In any stage, you'll need to go through the process of choosing a hosting provider - from determining your industry requirements to the decisions around working with white-glove services and Drupal specialist providers. The options are endless, so we'll look at the essential questions to ask when choosing your hosting provider.

 

1. Is On-Premise a Viable Option for Me?

An on-premise solution means deploying software locally on servers within your company or rented space at a nearby data center. That means your IT team will be responsible for installation, maintenance, and upgrades.

On-premise makes sense for companies that want or need complete control over their infrastructure. You can decide how you want to structure your data, hardware, and software to meet your company's needs. Data, in particular, can have strict requirements in some industries, so on-premise lets you ensure you're fully compliant.

The challenge is, it's not easy to scale quickly. If you're getting significant growth in traffic, you'll need to buy or rent additional hardware and get it up and running. Installing new servers is costly and time-consuming for IT teams, and requires careful planning months in advance. With cloud hosting, scalability is much more manageable.

While Achieve Internet provides solutions for on-premise support, we recommend you educate your team on all of the hosting options there are, in order to make the right decision for your business.

 

2. Are There Industry Requirements I Need From My Provider?

Many industries have strict hosting requirements for data usage. In healthcare, HIPAA regulations require companies to follow procedures when handling protected health information (PHI). In the financial services sector, there are stringent security and auditing regulations to protect customer financial information and prevent fraud. If you don't choose a hosting provider that meets these requirements, you could face serious fines and other business continuity risks.

Beyond the specific compliance requirements in many industries, it's crucial that you choose a hosting provider that meets the particular needs of your organization. Core business requirements could be anything from scalability to security or data transfer capabilities.

 

3. White-Glove Service or Straight Hosting?

Though moving to cloud hosting from on-premise can dramatically reduce the maintenance requirements, there's still a variety of straight hosting packages to consider. 

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting means multiple websites are deployed on the same server. This option is generally the cheapest and most straightforward to get started. That said, you have limited control over the server because it's shared. If you have the technical expertise or need more resources, you may want to look at other options.

Dedicated Hosting

With dedicated hosting, you have an entire server for your website. This option gives you full control over the administration of the server, but this leaves you responsible for maintenance and system upgrades. If you have higher traffic demands, the higher costs and technical skills required for dedicated hosting may be the right choice for your company.

VPS Hosting

Virtual Private Server hosting has characteristics of both shared and dedicated hosting. With this option, server resources are strictly allocated to specific users. This gives you slightly more control and guaranteed resources than shared hosting but lacks the complete server control of dedicated hosting. VPS hosting may be the best option if your traffic demands outpace the resources shared hosting can provide, but you still don't have the budget for a fully dedicated server.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is similar to VPS hosting, except that you're able to get resources from several servers instead of one physical server. This option has enormous advantages for scalability and availability. With VPS hosting, if the physical server goes down, you're out of luck. Cloud hosting automatically transfers workloads to other servers if there's a hardware failure. Cloud hosting can also quickly scale to meet higher traffic demands because you're not tied to the capacity of specific hardware. There are many platforms that offering cloud hosting, GCP, Azure, and AWS  to name a few.

Full-Service Hosting

With straight hosting, there are many options to choose from, but you're still responsible for everything. Instead, you could use a white-glove service that fully manages your hosting needs. You'll have a dedicated support team available to handle any issues or change requests. These services can reduce your IT burden significantly, but they usually only cover hosting - not issues with your Drupal installation or actual website. That's where specialized hosting providers come in. 

 

4. Should My Provider Be a Software Provider Specialist?

Many providers specialize in hosting specific software like Flywheel for WordPress, InMotion for Joomla, and Platform.sh, Aquia, and Pantheon for Drupal. These hosting providers may be more expensive than generic hosting companies, but they come with a range of benefits.

Optimized Infrastructure 

Specialized hosts know how to optimize servers for better performance. If you use generic providers, however, your IT teams will be required to spend time tweaking server configurations to maximize available resources. Drupal, for example, is built on the LAMP stack, so having features like PHP caching by default is crucial to ensure high performance.

Better Support 

A specialized hosting provider will understand the software better and can offer a more comprehensive assistant if issues come up. With Drupal, for example, a specialist will know if site downtime was caused by an Apache server update or Drupal security patch. Generic hosting providers may not have that information readily available.

Preinstalled Tools

Hosting providers that specialize in specific software know the tools you'll need, and do their best to provide them out of the box. They ensure the server is completely compatible with the programming languages and database technologies required to run the software. For Drupal, this could mean tools like Drush or PHP related tools like Composer.

 

Drupal Specialists Make Sense 

For most organizations that use Drupal, using a specialist is ideal. Your IT teams don't have to worry about hardware, and you'll have the support you need if issues with your Drupal installation arise. It's challenging to build a specialized IT team in-house, so why not focus on the tasks that matter most to your organization and leave the Drupal management to experts?

Achieve Internet can help you with on-premise or cloud and installations, and assist in filtering through the endless hosting providers available to find one that suits your industry and business best. From your cloud infrastructure to lift and shift, we work across hybrid and multi cloud solutions with platforms like GCP, AWS, Azure to ensure your company has the most appropriate hosting option  

 

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