With today’s many advancements in computing, there have been many solutions introduced and implemented within organizations to make jobs and tasks easier and more manageable. Enterprises and businesses are more connected today and are more adept in computer technology so that it may be impossible to think that an organization can function at peak level without the needed computer applications required to run day to day tasks.

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Traditionally, businesses and organizations have to build and maintain expensive infrastructures to run on-premises or in-house applications. Many IT experts and forward thinkers created a solution to ease up the work needed in maintaining and running on-premises applications. 3rd party application hosting was introduced and many companies and organizations take advantage of application hosting.

What Is Application Hosting?

Many ask what is this concept and what does it exactly mean? It can be said that it is an easy concept, but somewhat difficult to explain in today’s fast changing technological world, but let us try to describe it in an easier way. It may be known as an Application Service Provider (ASP), Software-as-a Service (SaaS), outsourcing or On-Demand software.

Application hosting is where organizations, businesses and companies prefer to go for a 3rd party company in maintaining a server environment and outsource their applications and servers. It can also be described as the hosting of a software application distribution system where the required application such as CRM, mapping, location intelligence and others are maintained and managed by a qualified 3rd party service provider which is made available over the internet or the world wide web. This means that the applications needed by an organization resides on the service provider’s servers instead of being in-house or on-premises. The applications can be shared and accessed by all departments using a web browser. In most cases, the service provider is responsible for maintenance, updates, installations, upgrades and security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hosting Service Providers

A qualified service provider is an IT company that has developed or created the application which was certified by a software manufacturer. The service provider also knows how the application works and should provide best practices to make usage easier. There are several types of providers:

  • Vertical ASP – which delivers solution privileges and packages for specific clients or customer.
  • Enterprise ASP – provides a broad spectrum of solutions.
  • Specialist ASP –which delivers a single application only.
  • Local ASP – services designed for small businesses that can be delivered within a small area.
  • Volume ASP – a specialist ASP that can offer low cost solutions through their website.
Image courtesy of www.transitionblog.com

Image courtesy of www.transitionblog.com

Advantages Of Hosting Applications

There are several advantages that hosting applications can provide. These include:

  • Faster return of investment and quicker implementation
  • No loss of data control and security
  • No steep learning curves
  • 24/7 support, maintenance and security
  • Automatic upgrades and updates
  • Lower hardware and software maintenance costs
  • The ability to implement any enhancements on a continuous basis
  • Easy integration
  • Price

10 Factors To Consider Before Going For Application Hosting

Making the decision of which application hosting service to choose can be tough. With many service providers making promises like 99% uptime, support and unlimited resources, there can be ways of cutting through the jargon and making an informed decision. Understanding the service provider means what they say can help you decide which services and solutions packages will suit your organization’s needs.

1. Price

We should get what we pay for and the price is the first thing we look at before choosing a hosting provider. But as most experts say, pricing is not the only factor to look for because the price differences between many services may not hold up to the bargain. Some may offer the most expensive service, but don’t provide the solutions you’re looking for. Take a closer look, understand, study the features that each service provider can give and then compare their prices.

A sample of Hosting application price packages. Image courtesy of www.avnetcloudready.com

A sample of Hosting application price packages. Image courtesy of www.avnetcloudready.com

2. Technical Support

If possible, know the service provider’s customer support reputation. Find out the ways the provider can be reached whenever you need support. Is it through a toll-free number, email or chat? Is technical support available 24/7 and do they also outsource their support? By doing this you will be able to know whether hosting providers are not the same or equal.

3. Specialties And Area Of Expertise

Not all hosting services are right for all kinds of clients. Find out the company’s expertise before buying their services. Go with the one that will fit your needs and understand your requirements as a customer.

4. Technical Specifications And Their Limitations       

Take a look at your site and think about what you need to do with it. If you want to have multiple tasks and applications on your website, then you may need to go for the best hosting provider your money can buy.  A cheap hosting solutions package may not have the technical requirements that you need to run all your applications. A cheap hosting provider may also give more downtime issues than having the work done without any glitches.

5. Hardware

If possible, know what type of machines the hosting company use. Are they using top-of-the line servers or not. Ask the hosting company about their hardware because as you know, hardware performance is crucial for their servers and your applications.

Image courtesy of www.logicworks.net

Image courtesy of www.logicworks.net

6. Add-ons And Features

Most hosting service providers offer add ons and features like multiple or different data centers, regular data backups, free domain privacy, energy-saving practices and others. If you see that the service provider offers something that you really need or is important to your organization, it means that you can look further into the service provider’s other offerings that can fit your needs.

7. Email Features

Look into your service provider’s spam solutions and their general email practices because email is not yet dead. Email is still essential for organizational communications.

8. The Service Provider’s Reputation and Customer Feedback

You can gauge a service provider’s reputation by checking their social sites and other websites. Ask around, check current clients and it is likely that you will get more than just a few answers.

9. The User Interface

The user interface and control panel should be easy enough to use by non-technical persons. Setting up email, installing WordPress or any other CMS should be done without needing to call technical support.

10. Scalability And Space

The hosting provider should always be prepared for growth and expansion to prevent any issues. If the company has scalability plans and executions, the service provider will be able to prevent any lost time, effort and finances in scaling their solutions for expansion and growth.

To get your company and organization on par with other companies and adapt to the times, you may need to consider all the necessary tools that you need to make your business run like a well oiled machine. Choose the right hosting provider and it will help you get to the top.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.