- Part One Chapter 05 – Upgrade Web Hosting
Part One Chapter 05
Before your mobile web pages are made available for users on the Internet, your mobile website needs to be hosted on some computers which are normally called servers. Servers can be self-hosted or can come from some web hosting solution providers.
Web hosting is a service that enables any companies or individuals to put up websites on the Internet. Normally, we have 3 major conventional types of web hosting solutions. There is also the cloud solution.
- Shared hosting
- Virtual private servers (VPS)
- Dedicated server hosting
- Cloud solution
When your mobile website is on a shared hosting solution, it is being hosted on a web server with many other websites each having its own domain name.
For example, your mobile website's domain is example.com. When you are on a shared hosting solution, your website is being hosted on computers (or servers) that are also hosting other websites that are not under your possession (for example, secondwebsite.org, thirdwebsite.net, otherwebsite.com, someotherwebsite.info, etc).
The shared hosting solution is most suited to host websites with relatively low web traffic.
Advantages of shared hosting:
- Shared hosting is the least expensive option among all web hosting solutions and is also the most common solution for small websites and new startups.
- With shared hosting, you are always provided with user-friendly control panels. It requires very low to no technical skill from you to set up, activate and manage your website.
- If your mobile website reaches the capacity in which shared hosting is limiting its growth, then you can always upgrade to the next level, virtual private servers.
Disadvantages of shared hosting:
- Websites with relatively high web traffic are not suitable with shared hosting due to relatively low bandwidth allowed.
- On a shared hosting you are unable to freely install, upgrade or change your operating system (e.g. Linux), web server software (e.g. Apache), or databases (e.g. MySQL), scripting languages (e.g. PHP), as they are also used and shared with many other websites on the same server.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
VPS is the next step up from shared hosting.
When your mobile website is on a VPS, it is being hosted on a web server that is partitioned into multiple separate virtual servers. Each partition is considered a standalone web server and can be managed separately from other partitions on the same server.
Advantages of VPS:
- VPS is less expensive than dedicated server hosting, but with VPS you get similar flexibility to dedicated server hosting.
- Full root access is available with VPS in which you can freely install, upgrade or change your operating system (e.g. Linux), web server software (e.g. Apache), or databases (e.g. MySQL), scripting languages (e.g. PHP).
- VPS allows relatively higher bandwidth when compared to shared hosting.
- VPS consists of virtual servers which allow you to scale up as your mobile website’s traffic grows.
Disadvantages of VPS:
- VPS is more expensive than shared hosting.
Dedicated Server Hosting
With dedicated server hosting, you rent to use an entire server while it is not shared with any other websites. The web hosting provider takes care of supporting the server with hardware, operating system, backup, etc.
When your mobile website grows to have much higher web traffic, it will require higher performance and reliability. This is when a dedicated server may be required. With a dedicated server, you get full control to manage the server, set up your mobile website, and install any software.
Advantages of dedicated server hosting:
- With dedicated server hosting, you get to use the entire physical server, without having to share any resource with any other websites.
- Full root access is available with dedicated server hosting in which you can freely install, upgrade or change your operating system (e.g. Linux), web server software (e.g. Apache), or databases (e.g. MySQL), scripting languages (e.g. PHP).
- A dedicated server can handle considerably higher web traffic and enables your website to perform best when compared to VPS or shared hosting.
- Dedicated server hosting is one of the most reliable hosting solutions and is more secured than shared hosting and VPS.
Disadvantages of dedicated server hosting:
- Dedicated server hosting is more expensive than both VPS and shared hosting.
A popular alternative to web hosting solutions is using one of the cloud solutions. Using a cloud solution is much more complicated than using any of the web hosting solutions.
- On a cloud solution, you can install an operating system and a web server. Then you can run the server as if it is running through your own dedicated server.
- You can create, destroy, start, or stop your server. You get full control of your server and the ability to automate events.
- Depending what software is available from your cloud server provider, you can hook up any self-developed programs to your server.
- On a cloud solution, you can host a small mobile website with minimal web traffic or host a large mobile website with extremely high web traffic.
- If your mobile website often gets multiple peaks of web traffic on irregular time intervals, you can always pre-configure to automatically scale your server with high web traffic demand. With a cloud solution you pay for what you use (i.e. web traffic, storage, virtual machines, etc), and with such billing model you can have much better control over your cost.
- A cloud solution does not come with a user-friendly control panel, but you will have to manage your server through programming.
Global cloud solution providers that have servers available in multiple countries:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) (aws.amazon.com)
- Linode (www.linode.com)
- Digital Ocean (www.digitalocean.com)
Local cloud solution providers that have servers available in China:
- QingCloud (www.qingcloud.com)
- UCloud (www.ucloud.cn)
- Aliyun (cn.aliyun.com)
Regardless of which hosting solution or method you have chosen for your mobile website, hosting locally in the same country as your users can be important.
Let's consider the scenario when your users are all (or mostly) located in China, and your mobile website and all the resource files of your site are hosted on a server in the United States.
- Every time a user (located in China) requests a page and the page’s resources through the web browser, the request will have to go through the networks of multiple countries.
- When the page and the page's resources are returned to the user’s web browser, they also have to travel the unnecessarily long distance.
- The long distance travel of files will definitely slow down your web page’s speed to load.
Having a locally hosted mobile website is always a big step to optimize your mobile pages' load speed.
- If your mobile website's users are mostly located in China, then you should seriously consider hosting your website in China (i.e. using local China IP addresses for your site).
- Every time a user (located in China) requests a page and the page’s resources through the web browser, the request only has to go through the networks of the same country before the page and the page’s resources can be returned to the user’s web browser.
Gordon Choi's Mobile Website Book has been available since November 2016.
Content on Gordon Choi's Mobile Website Book is licensed under the CC Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International license.