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When should you hire a server

The reasons that could lead you to hire a server, instead of using shared hosting or traditional hosting. Advantages and disadvantages of servers compared to other more basic hosting options.

If it is about publishing a simple and unitary web page, the traditional accommodationwhat is usually called “hosting”, is the easiest to operate and suitable for most people. Hosting saves us many complexities of publishing a domain on the web, as well as the management of associated resources, such as mail or FTP accounts, since everything is well given as a closed and complete service by our hosting provider. .

In fact, anyone without prior knowledge would be able to contract a domain and, once contracted, manage its resources with very little effort. For this, the hosting offers a control panel of the elementary hosting but enough to register the emails, create FTP accounts, change the access codes, etc.

Given that easeWhy sometimes it is necessary to get involved more and hire a server instead of traditional accommodation? We will discuss this in this article. But not only that, throughout the following posts we will explain how we can create a server and configure the resources to publish a website, create emails and similar things, always trying to keep it as simple as possible and with the intention of helping those interested to take the first steps in the use of servers.

When do I need a server

A server requires more effort to configure and also a higher degree of knowledge to be able to manage it. Contrary to what many think, having your own server does not require a major investment and, in fact, we can save a lot of money by contracting a server than by contracting individual domains, basically because the server allows us to host any number of projects, each with its own own domain.

However, forgetting the cost or convenience section, on many occasions it is absolutely necessary to have a server to get a suitable platform to publish a project. In this article we are going to study the cases in which the necessity is more than the convenience.

Install software, programming languages ​​and libraries

The first case, and also the most fundamental, consists of the need to installation of the necessary software for an application to run.

Hosting is usually delivered on servers with a very specific standard configuration, which usually meets the needs of a large number of projects, but not all. In the hosting plans we usually find support for the PHP programming language and for the MySQL database. But What if my application requires other languages, or a different database engine?

In traditional hosting it is not possible to install software, so you will not be able to use anything beyond what is installed from home. Obviously this is for a security and reliability issue of the server. If each person installed their own programs on a hosting, it would be very difficult to maintain the fine-tuned structure so that all the domains hosted on the same server can work in an optimized way.

In these cases it is necessary to have a server to be able to configure it to our needs:

  • Languages ​​and execution platforms: There are great platforms and languages ​​for the backend, like NodeJS, Python, .NET, Ruby, and many others. Each platform has its characteristics and a type of projects suitable for them, but the hosting servers do not support them. If our project is based on something other than PHP, it will be necessary to have our own server where we can install these languages.

  • Database Engines: If you need PostgreSQL, Oracle, MariaDB or any other engine beyond MySQL (or MS SQL on Windows hosting) you need a server.

  • bookstores: Sometimes we base the software and specific libraries that it is not always possible to publish in a traditional hosting and we need access to the server to install them.

PHP: use composer/frameworks

Sometimes, even if we use PHP and a MySQL database, it is necessary to have a fundamental tool for developers, such as Composer. Composer allows us to install dependencies on which we build applications. To use composer conveniently you need to have your own server.

Likewise, advanced development tools such as frameworks generally require the use of Composer or often require access to the server in order to deploy projects or configure the server.

Server configuration

Sometimes we can use PHP, MySQL and it may seem that hosting is enough, but we must bear in mind that the server has very specific configurations, designed to solve most needs. However, sometimes we require a special PHP configurationfor example that allows the upload of very large files, or that allows the execution of pages for a longer time without the server throwing the typical timeout error.

Continuous integration and deployment flows

Another very relevant situation that can lead us to the need to implement a particular deployment process. Sometimes, something as simple as deploying a project through Git requires us to connect to the server via SSH to access the command line. But also, if we want to apply our own pipelines or workflows to implement continuous integration and continuous deployment processes, it will be necessary to have full access to the server.

High traffic project

Until now we have always talked about server requirements, but there may also be requirements of the project itself and the traffic necessary for it to work correctly. Although hostings may have unlimited transfer, it is important to know that, for the good health of all hosted domains, yes the resources that a particular domain are limited may need, such as CPU cycles, amount of memory, etc.

In projects with high traffic and the need to serve many users concurrently, in a traditional hosting we could experience delays in the server response, which is very negative for users and customer conversions.

This does not mean that the contracted hosting is necessarily of poor quality, but rather that the configuration of the domains is generally quite restrictive, so that one of the shared hosting domains does not end up harming other domains that have been published on the server. In addition, we must bear in mind that a server can have hundreds of hosting domains sharing the same space!

For this reason, if we have special traffic needs, or if we need to guarantee a high quality of service, it is best that we have an adequate and specific infrastructure for the website or web application, with ample (or at least sufficient) resources dedicated to our services. Projects.

Save with a server where you can publish many domains

Finally, it is also important to know that one server can host multiple domains and that if we have to host the websites of various projects, of different clients, it is very likely that with our own server we will end up saving a lot of money.

Currently VPS servers have amazingly low costs and we have a generous amount of resources on them.

The amount of resources may or may not be generous. This depends on the provider, but many times even the smallest servers are enough to host several domains, or even dozens of them if they don’t have a lot of traffic.

If we have to hire loose domains, the sum of the investment of all the hosting separately would be significantly higher than that of a VPS with enough resources. In fact, the convenience of contracting a VPS will begin to be noticed, on average, from the second domain that we contract.

At the same time, in a VPS we could get even better performance than we would get in traditional hosting, so even having these domains on our own server will guarantee better service for customers.

Conclusion on the need to hire a server

If you are starting out in the web world and have little experience, traditional hosting will help you a lot. However, as soon as you have greater needs, having a server is essential, not only because of the possibilities that open up to you, but also because sometimes projects require it.

Even if the projects you manage are simple and you can maintain them correctly in traditional hosting, without having to host several websites with your own domain, if you do it through a VPS or cloud server you will be saving money!

The only difficulty is that your own server forces you to manage it. This is not a problem because there are even administration panels that allow you to get the job done in a simple and friendly way. In future articles we will address solutions, tools and tips to mitigate these inconveniences. You can see more information right now in the Server Administration Manual and specifically we recommend seeing some tools such as cPanel.

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