13 Aug

Evolution of website hosting

Much like the human race, the world of web hosting has evolved into more advanced forms over the years. The difference is that while humans evolved through millions of years, web hosting technology has rapidly transformed over a period of just a few years. In fact, if the web developers a decade ago could catch a glimpse into the future of today, their jaws would likely would drop and their minds would marvel at how web hosting technology has advanced significantly.

Ready to jump back through time to see how things have changed in the world of web hosting? Here is the evolution of web hosting:

Workstations

The earliest method of hosting web pages involved saving files in a workstation securely hidden under a computer desk or inside room cabinets. This primitive – and very unsafe – web hosting technology was exposed to the greatest risk of all: accidentally unplugging the power supply. Once power supply was lost, websites hosted on a workstation would be on shutdown status. That is why a person was assigned to ogle the machine at all times to ensure that it did not get disconnected for any reason whatsoever.

Data Center and Physical Servers

This upgraded version of workstations was more secure because the servers were situated in a special place in the room away from possible accidental power cut-off. Physical servers in a data center offer better web hosting capabilities with its redundant power and hardware. Maintenance of these physical servers is conducted by a team of experts in server technology.

However, the installation of a data center with many servers requires a physical space, which is disadvantageous in terms of capital expenditure and space constraints. The physical server system is also difficult to relocate, should the need arise.

Data Center and Virtual Servers

The solution for space limitations and prohibitive capital costs came with virtual servers, which separated the physical hardware and the operating system (OS) running in the servers. The physical equipment was significantly downsized because the servers were running on a common OS. Virtualization made web hosting more efficient both systematically and financially.

Despite the improvements in the use of physical space, data centers with virtual servers were still situated in physical locations. As the virtual servers grew, the localized nature of these virtual data centers lead to limitations as well.

Cloud Computing

Named after the ethereal, gaseous, and fluffy matter floating in the skies, cloud computing changed the way web developers think of hosting. If you want to save webpages in cloud servers, you don’t need to purchase physical equipment. Instead, a virtual hosting interface will be provided by big-name companies, which house powerful and redundant servers on your behalf.

As of this writing, cloud computing has become the industry standard in terms of web hosting. These systems have practically endless hosting capabilities (depending on the hosting plan acquired by the customer), sustainable APIs, and useful back-end applications for advanced developers. Web hosting over the cloud also affords the user with scalable web solutions, wiser expenditure (the user will only be charged for the memory usage), and airtight web security.

Some of the famous companies that offer cloud servers include: Amazon, Microsoft, and Rackspace.


Exciting times are ahead, especially since cloud computing is still being developed and morphed into hybrid applications. Only time will tell when every website is hosted on the cloud, or when a new technology trumps the already-advanced cloud technology.

[Photo courtesy of Torkild Retvedt on Flickr]
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