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Blog

Understanding App Hosting: Definition and Functionality

cloud
12 September, 2023
Platform.sh
Platform.sh

How App Hosting Works: A Brief Overview

Developing apps takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. It can feel like a marathon that doesn’t even have the courtesy to end once you cross the finish line.  

From managing infrastructure to scaling, operations, and security (to name just a few things), it takes plenty of work to ensure that your cherished creation is loved by users and customers.  

App hosting takes much of this responsibility off your shoulders, and a solid Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider can go even further.

In this article, we’re going to look at what cloud app hosting is and explore the main considerations to bear in mind when choosing a service provider.

Hosting applications in the cloud

When you use an app hosting provider, you’re outsourcing part of that application’s infrastructure to a third party that will let you build, run and support it in the cloud. Hosting applications in this way offers several benefits.  

First and foremost, it saves you money. You don’t need to pay for any hardware, on-premise servers, software, or infrastructure—nor do you need to pay anyone to take care of any of this for you. Moreover, choosing a provider that offers reliable scaling means you only pay for the resources you need while ensuring your app can handle any unexpected surges.

Cloud app hosting ensures that your app is constantly available and that downtime is minimal. As touched on just now, the best providers will automatically allocate resources to deal with any traffic spikes or increased demand, preventing any disruption or outages. 

You can also be assured of the most vigorous security measures. Reputable app hosting providers will meet the highest compliance standards and take data protection and security deadly seriously.

Key considerations when hosting high-performance applications

Hosting an app doesn’t have to be complicated—but it does require careful thought and planning.  

For example, do you have a step-by-step process in place for your app’s deployment? Is greener hosting one of your considerations? 

There are several crucial considerations to take into account.

Is application performance monitoring needed?

It’s a sound strategy to keep a constant eye on your hosted apps.   

Picking a provider which offers 24/7 application performance monitoring is like having a doctor in the room with you at all times. If anything goes wrong, you’ve got an expert right at your side who can spring into action and keep your application’s infrastructure nice and healthy.   

Platform.sh tracks available disk space, memory and disk usage, and several other metrics. If one goes out of bounds, the team is alerted immediately and can respond accordingly.

Are there any restrictions on programming languages?

You’ve worked hard to develop your app, and you’ve found a hosting service that supports your core development language. Therefore, the choice should be easy, right?

Well, it might seem like a sure thing to simply place your creation in the hands of a provider that speaks your language, but ask yourself if they can keep up with you if you decide to broaden your horizons.  

What happens when you need a new language or framework added to your company’s app ecosystem? Will your chosen hosting provider be as flexible as you need it to be?

Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to pick a provider proficient in more than 100 frameworks and 10 programming languages. You can even deploy API platforms on Platform.sh.

What do the security measures look like?

It’s no good creating a shiny new app and then leaving the front door open. Ensuring your creation is safe from any threats or malicious outsiders is critical.

A good app hosting or PaaS provider should reassure you that your applications are protected from cyberattacks. Platform.sh makes it easy to keep your application layer up to date, removing the headache of security updates and allowing you to focus on the more important things while your app remains safe, secure, and available.  

Moreover, we’re committed to data security and compliant with European GDPR (DPA available), German BDSG (DPA available), Canadian PIPEDA, and the Australian Privacy Act. We've undergone an annual SOC 2 Type 2 examination over Security, Privacy and Availability, and have achieved PCI DSS Level 1 compliance for our platform hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). 

How good is the technical support?

All software developers know that things go wrong sometimes (it doesn’t happen that often, right?). A blip now and then is unavoidable, so it’s vital to ensure you’ve got solid technical support at your disposal.

Hosting service providers should have support teams available at all times. Having your hosted app go down in the middle of the night but only finding out about it over your morning Corn Flakes is not ideal. Having 24/7 support also ensures you can travel anywhere in the world and get the assistance you need when you need it, regardless of time zones or office hours.

Make sure you pick a service with drilled procedures in place so that when a problem arises, the reaction is almost instant.

How scalable is the solution?

We know. We’ve touched on scalability already, but the importance of choosing a hosting provider that can scale to your needs cannot be overstated.

managed hosting alternative like Platform.sh is ideal for app developers looking to implement auto-scaling. Our observability suite means your app or site is monitored for traffic spikes and will be automatically scaled up to the next largest size if your existing resources start to struggle.  

The last thing you want is for your site or app to go down when Christmas or Black Friday rolls around, so pick a solution that allows you to scale with these fluctuations rather than dread them.

Secure app hosting with a robust multi-cloud PaaS 

One of the best types of app hosting services is a PaaS. That’s because having a hosting environment already built for you allows you to skip a lot of the foundational work and jump straight to creating your dream apps on an existing and proven platform.

PaaS options are also highly flexible, and since flexibility ranks near the top when it comes to best practices in deploying web apps, this makes them an attractive proposition.  

It’s no secret that Platform.sh is optimized for app hosting. In fact, we’re one of the most user-friendly application hosting services, which makes us perfect for both experienced and first-time users. Plus, we’re secure and feature-rich, ensuring your bases are all covered.

FAQ

What advantages does cloud application hosting offer for startups and small businesses?
Cloud application hosting offers startups and small businesses several advantages, including reduced initial infrastructure costs, the ability to scale resources as the business grows, and access to enterprise-grade technologies without significant upfront investment. Additionally, cloud hosting provides flexibility and agility, allowing these businesses to quickly deploy new features and adapt to market changes.

How can cloud application hosting improve collaboration within development teams?
Cloud application hosting improves collaboration within development teams by providing centralized access to development environments, tools, and resources. Team members can work on the same codebase, access shared databases, and use integrated CI/CD pipelines, facilitating real-time collaboration and reducing delays caused by waiting for local environment setups. This streamlined workflow enhances productivity and coordination across geographically dispersed teams.

What role does automation play in cloud application hosting?
Automation plays a crucial role in cloud application hosting by streamlining repetitive tasks such as scaling resources, deploying updates, and performing backups. Automated processes reduce the risk of human error, increase efficiency, and allow development teams to focus on higher-value activities. Tools like infrastructure as code (IaC) enable automated provisioning and management of cloud resources, ensuring consistency and reliability.

How does cloud application hosting support compliance with industry-specific regulations?
Cloud application hosting supports compliance with industry-specific regulations by offering features such as data encryption, access controls, and audit logs. Providers often undergo certifications and audits to ensure their platforms meet regulatory standards. Additionally, they provide tools and documentation to help customers configure their environments to comply with specific regulations, such as HIPAA for healthcare or PCI DSS for payment processing.

What are some best practices for managing costs in cloud application hosting?
Managing costs in cloud application hosting involves several best practices, including monitoring resource usage, setting up automated scaling to match demand, and regularly reviewing billing reports to identify unnecessary expenses. Using reserved instances or long-term contracts for predictable workloads can also reduce costs. Additionally, optimizing application performance and resource allocation helps ensure that you are only paying for what you need.

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Understanding App Hosting: Definition and Functionality

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