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Hosting is tricky, we're here to help!

Do you need help deciding the best hosting options? We can't possibly show them all to you, but we have grouped a few by size, complexity, and cost.

Managed Virtual

This kind of hosting is a mix of Managed Dedicated support and Virtual convenience. You can rent infrastructure to match the demand of your application, and scale it effortlessly and quickly.

You'll usually have access to some kind of deployment interface, connecting your source code repository to the servers on which it is hosted. Sometimes updates to source code will trigger immediate live server updates. Sometimes you'll have to click a large, green button to make changes "go live".

Managed Virtual servers can also respond to changes in demand, and integrate seamlessly with the more complex services Virtual server providers offer (like load balancing and redundancy). These providers pride themselves on high-quality support and their ability to provide simple control over complex services.

They're also often more expensive than Virtual servers (due to the increased level of support and service interconnectivity) but cheaper than Managed Dedicated because hardware isn't locked to a single application.

Some examples of companies that offer Managed Virtual Hosting are:

SilverStripe Platform
Bitnami Managed Virtual

Google Cloud
Heroku
Twisted Bytes

Virtual

This kind of hosting can be described as many emulated servers running on a few real servers. That is: providers will have a few hundred physical servers (for example) but they're able to emulate hundreds of thousands of virtual servers. This is because the Virtual servers are virtual machines (like Vagrant and Docker boxes).

With this kind of hosting, you can log into an administration interface and "spin up" many virtual machines, in a matter of minutes. These will then usually have an operating system and an internet connection, so you can begin installing other software on them.

Some providers even allow custom "base images", which you can use to install your preferred software by default. These are often proprietary, and require detailed knowledge about the providers' systems.

Virtual servers are often cheap to run (relative to the computational and memory requirements of the application). Providers tend to charge by computation/memory time units. For example, some providers charge for the length of time a server remains "online". Some providers charge for the size of stored data, and for the length of time it is stored.

This kind of hosting usually comes with a plethora of related, interconnected services. Some providers offer load balancing, static file storage, hybrid database/cache systems, and automated redundancy measures. These significantly increase the complexity of an application, but they are sometimes required for the application to scale (in times of high demand).

As with Dedicated hosting, the maintenance and security burdens fall on the client. You’ll be responsible to upgrading your server’s security software and protocols. It takes a lot of work to do this without inadvertently breaking other parts of the system (due to backwards - incompatible changes between versions of the software that update at the same time).

Some examples of companies that offer Virtual Hosting are:

Amazon Web Services Virtual


Digital Ocean Virtual
Rackspace Virtual

Managed Dedicated

This kind of hosting has most of the characteristics of Dedicated hosting, with a few benefits and restrictions. The main difference is that the operating system (and installed software) on these kinds of servers are strictly controlled.

In some cases, providers will install server management software (like CPanel), to make things easier to set up. Some providers will restrict features of PHP which have more potential for abuse (like certain low-level PHP functions and SSH access).

This kind of hosting requires more support staff involvement, but that's kind of the point. Managed Dedicated hosting is about having strong support staff on hand, to help install permissible software, while maintaining the server. Managed dedicated servers should be kept up to date with security improvements to the operating system and critical software, and should still perform as well as unmanaged Dedicated hardware.

Some examples of companies that offer Managed Dedicated hosting are:

Rackspace Managed Dedicated

Hetzner Managed Dedicated
Twisted Bytes

Dedicated

With this kind of hosting, you own/rent a server in a data centre. Typically the server will have an operating system and an internet connection. You can install anything you want on the server, and you have all the system resources available to run any applications/scripts you desire to.

This is an expensive kind of hosting, because the hardware is locked to a single paying client (you). You're essentially renting a space and the use of fast hardware. In some cases, you may own the hardware.

This kind of hosting also tends to require more interaction with support staff. If the machine switches off, someone has to be in the data centre to switch it on again. If the hardware needs to be upgraded or downgraded, a technician needs to do this.

The cost and support requirements of this kind of hosting make it less attractive compared to the alternatives.

Some examples of companies that offer Dedicated hosting are:

Amazon Web Services Dedicated
Rackspace Dedicated

Shared

This kind of hosting is a cheaper alternative to owning the whole machine. Providers of this kind of hosting will partition a server to allow multiple domains and users. In some cases, virtual machines are used as the basis for this structure. That is: sometimes the managed servers are physical and sometimes they're virtual. The common thread is that multiple clients host on single servers.

Providers will almost always install control-panel software, to allow clients to make changes (like adding email accounts and installing pre-built software) from an administrative interface. This reduces the involvement of support in the simplest tasks, so they can focus on bigger problems. Sometimes problems can arise, when providers update system software to backwards-incompatible versions. Apps can suddenly break...

This tends to be the slowest and most restrictive kind of hosting. Often the only benefits to it are a low price-point; which can easily be reached with Virtual hosting...

Some examples of companies that offer Shared hosting are:

SiteGround Shared
bluehost shared
site5 shared

Why SilverStripe likes Managed Virtual hosting

We believe in silencing distractions. It’s one of the goals of SilverStripe Platform. What do we mean by that? Well, as developers we are asked to do a lot of things,  day to day. Some of them may not technically be part of of our job description, but when a site needs to go live (or needs to be fixed at a moment’s notice) and we’re the only people around, we just do it.

Sometimes that can be fun, but often it’s stressful and distracting. We, at SilverStripe, believe that it’s better to stick to what you’re good at. You may be good at fixing problems, but you’re probably better at fixing problems in code, and letting a dedicated team of professional support people keep your site up and running.

Managed Virtual hosting works well for this, because we can scale the servers powering your site to handle increased traffic and load. We have created a powerful toolchain on top of Amazon AWS, so you have access to all kinds of things, from load balancers to efficient cloud storage.

Over the years we’ve learned a lot about running SilverStripe sites, and we’re pouring that knowledge into SilverStripe Platform, so you can focus on making great things. Leave the frequent security updates and 3am DDoS mitigation to us. We’ll silence those distractions for you!

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This section is in beta to see how best SilverStripe Ltd can support the community so you can find the best hosting option for your website. Please let us know if you found this helpful, if you have any other hosting recommendations and if there is any more information that should be listed here.

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