At a glance, the hosting industry may not appear exciting, but it’s grunts in data centres the world over that keep our industry going. They are, quite literally, the backbone of the Internet, and as such they make everything possible: from e-commerce sites, to smart mobile apps for our latest toys. The heavy lifting is done in boring data centres, not on our flashy smartphones and wafer thin notebooks.
Whether you’re creating a virtual storefront, deploying an app, or simply doing some third-party testing and development, chances are you need some server muscle. The good news is that there is a lot to choose from. The hosting industry may not be loud or exciting, but it never sleeps; it’s a dog eat dog world, with cutthroat pricing, a lot of innovation behind the scenes, and cyclical hardware updates. Cloud, IaaS and PaaS have changed the way many developers and businesses operate, and these are relatively recent innovations.
In this post I will look at some hosting basics from the perspective of a freelance developer: what to choose and what to stay away from. Why did I underline freelance software engineers? Well, because many need their own dev environment, while at the same time working with various clients. Unfortunately, this also means that they usually have no say when it comes to deployment. For example, it’s the client’s decision how and where a particular web app will be hosted, and a freelancer hired on short-term basis usually has no say in the decision. This is a management issue, so I will not address it in this post other than to say that even freelancers need to be aware of options out there. Their hands may be tied, but in some cases clients will ask for their input and software engineers should help them make an informed decision. Earlier this week, we covered one way of blurring the line between development and operations: DevOps. In case you missed that post, I urge you to check it out and see why DevOps integration can have an impact on hosting as well.