Web hosting is essential for developers to deploy and run their web applications and websites. The infrastructure, services, and tools offered by web hosts enable developers to focus on building their products without worrying about servers, storage, networks, security, and other complex backend tasks.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key elements of web hosting infrastructure that developers need to be aware of. We will also recommend top tools and services provided by leading web hosts to help developers manage, monitor and optimize their apps and sites.
Web Hosting Infrastructure
The physical and virtual infrastructure that web hosting companies provide underpins everything developers can do with their apps and sites. Here are the key components:
At the core of any web host are the servers that actually host and serve your files, apps, databases, etc. For developers, key factors are server specs (CPU, RAM, storage), virtualization, scalability, uptime guarantee, security measures, and backup systems.
Popular server configurations include:
- Shared servers – Multiple accounts hosted on one server. Budget option but risks noisy neighbors impacting performance.
- VPS (Virtual Private Servers) – Partitioned virtual server with dedicated resources. Flexible and scalable.
- Dedicated servers – Single tenant physical server. Most powerful but also most expensive.
- Cloud servers – Virtual servers running on cloud infrastructure. Allows infinite scaling.
The physical facilities that house web hosting servers and infrastructure. Aspects to consider are location (impacts page load speeds), redundancy, power, cooling, and security. Top providers use data centers that meet rigorous standards.
The network architecture impacts transmission speeds and connectivity. Elements like bandwidth capacity, route optimization, and DDoS mitigation are important for consistent performance. Large web hosts invest heavily in high-speed networks and connectivity.
The server OS determines available software, configuration methods, security protections, and overall compatibility. Linux and Windows Server are most commonly offered. Developers should choose the OS that best fits their application stack and administrative needs.
Apps often need database services like MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL to store and manage data. Many hosts provide database servers and tools for common DBMS, while some offer fully managed database services like Amazon RDS.
Sufficient storage capacity for your apps, content, logs, backups is essential. Shared, cloud, or dedicated options are available. Advanced features like CDNs and object storage help optimize content delivery. Storage scalability is important for future growth.
Web infrastructure faces constant threats. Hosts use firewalls, intrusion systems, VPNs, DDoS mitigation, round-the-clock monitoring and other measures to protect against attacks and unauthorized access. Robust security is a must have.
Despite best efforts, issues can arise, so 24/7 customer support is expected. Self-service via knowledge bases, docs, ticketing and live chat are commonly provided. Phone, email and onboarding support are ideal. Rapid response times show a provider’s commitment to customer service.
Setting up and managing hosting environments involves many repetitive tasks that can be automated to save enormous time and effort. From server provisioning to application deployment, tools like Ansible, Chef, Puppet and CloudFormation allow automating infrastructure management via code.
Developer Tools & Services
In addition to the underlying infrastructure, web hosts offer many services and technologies purpose-built for developers. Here are some of the most useful ones to accelerate development and simplify operations.
Admin Interfaces & APIs
Control panels like cPanel and Plesk provide GUI tools to manage servers, whereas programmatic APIs allow automating administration via scripts and code. This gives developers precise control over their infrastructure.
Git & Version Control
Developers rely on Git and repositories like GitHub to manage application source code. Many hosts provide tight integration with Git workflows and may even include repositories with hosting plans.
Secure SHell protocol enables connecting directly to hosting servers for configuration via the command line. SSH simplifies server management and configuration tasks for developers.
SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) facilitates uploading files and code to hosting servers over an encrypted connection. Far more convenient than FTP for maintaining web projects.
Web Stack Installers
Quickly set up LAMP, MEAN and other common web/app stacks using 1-click installers. Get your backend technology stack running instantly without complex configurations.
Many hosts provide pre-configured app hosting platforms for popular languages like Node.js, Python, Ruby on Rails. These eliminate time setting up hosting environments from scratch.
Code Development Tools
Some hosts include IDEs, debuggers, code editors and other coding tools in plans to streamline app development. For example, PythonAnywhere provides a cloud-based Python IDE.
Test and stage your app in a sandbox environment before deployment to catch issues early. Staging capabilities let you mimic the production environment for more reliable testing.
Code Deployment Tools
Automate code deployments to precisely control app updates. Options include Git integrations, deployment scripts, config management tools like Ansible and more. Achieve zero downtime deployments.
Real-time monitoring provides insights into the performance and health of applications. Metrics like response time, uptime, traffic, and resource utilization help optimize apps and resolve issues quickly.
App Logging & Analytics
Logging helps identify problems in code and infrastructure. Dashboards and analytics give visibility into app usage patterns, conversions, popular pages and other intelligence.
Leading hosts provide tight integration with DevOps tools like Jenkins, Grunt, Gulp, Puppet, Chef, and CircleCI to enable continuous integration and delivery of code changes.
Integrated issue tracking platforms like Jira, Asana, Trello help developers collaborate on building software. Manage defects, tasks, sprint planning, releases and more.
ChatOps platforms bring teams together to plan, code, test and deploy applications in close coordination. GitHub, Slack and Microsoft Teams integrations are popular.
REST APIs & CLI
Manage your hosting via REST APIs or command line instructions for greater automation and control. Common tasks can be scripted and executed faster.
Picking the Best Web Hosting Provider
We’ve covered a lot of ground on hosting infrastructure and services. With so many options, how do you select the best web host for your applications? Here are key criteria to evaluate:
Reliability & Uptime
Look for a proven provider with robust infrastructure offering 99.9%+ uptime SLA. Multiple data centers and redundancy for maximum reliability.
Speed & Performance
Hosting servers in top data centers worldwide with high bandwidth capacity and low latencies for great performance.
End-to-end security via SSL, firewalls, VPN, DDoS mitigation, hardened data centers, and regular scanning. Protect your data and apps.
Support & Documentation
24/7 customer support via live chat, phone, ticketing plus extensive docs, guides, FAQs and training resources.
App environments, automation capabilities, APIs and integrations with top development tools and workflows.
Auto-scaling infrastructure to handle traffic spikes. Pay only for the resources used. Scale seamlessly on demand.
Pricing & Value
Balanced plans that deliver robust capabilities, flexibility at competitive rates. Avoid overpaying or underprovisioning.
Reputation & Track Record
Proven hosting providers with thousands of satisfied customers. Look for user reviews and analyst recognition.
Recommended Web Hosts for Developers
Based on the criteria above, here are my top recommendations on web hosting services for developers:
One of the top all-around web hosts renowned for performance, support and features. Ideal for WordPress sites. Delivers terrific value for developers via SSD-powered, auto-scaling cloud hosting infrastructure. Provides advanced developer tools and integrations with Git, Grunt, Cloudflare, and more. Prices start at $6.99/month for shared hosting.
A developer favorite, DigitalOcean simplifies cloud hosting with a robust platform, transparent pricing, and rich APIs and tooling. One-click app installs, team management capabilities, GitHub integration, staging environments, and Droplet auto-scaling streamline development workflows. Pricing is very competitive with plans starting at $5/month for basic cloud servers.
InMotion combines high-performance shared and dedicated server hosting with powerful one-click installs for over 200 apps including WordPress, Joomla, Magento and more. Developer-friendly features include SSH, WP-CLI, GIT access, automatic updates, and website management tools. Plans start at just $2.59/month for shared hosting.
Feature-packed shared, VPS and dedicated hosting from this major hosting provider. Generous unmetered bandwidth and disk space allow developers to efficiently host sites and applications. Integrated Git version control, SSH access, and a choice of Linux and Windows virtual environments provide flexibility. Plans from $2.75/month.
Ultra-fast hosting powered by SSD storage and up to 20X faster speeds. Advanced features include free Git/SSH access, Anycast CDN, malware detection, and server rewind for backups. Starting prices of approximately $2.96/month make it very budget-friendly.
I hope this extensive overview gives you a complete picture of the web hosting technology stack and provider features that enable developers to efficiently build, deploy and manage applications. Focus on hosts that provide the right infrastructure performance, reliability, security and developer tools your team needs.
Having the right hosting environment gives developers the freedom to focus efforts on coding without infrastructure worries. And it empowers you to deliver outstanding web experiences for your audience. Equipped with the guidance above, you can confidently choose a hosting provider tailored to your app development needs.