- Jul 23, 2020
- by A2 Dev Team
It’s clear to see that there’s increased demand for beginner-friendly web hosting. As a result, the majority of hosting companies keep expanding their services to appeal more people. While this is good news for the larger non-professional community, web developers may have to dig a little deeper in order to find an ideal web hosting provider.
Fortunately, there are still a good number of web hosts offering ’developer-friendly hosting’. In other words, these hosting vendors provide web professionals with practically all of the resources, features, and control they need for their web development projects.
In this article, we’ll briefly introduce you to the general concept of developer-friendly hosting. We’ll also consider the key features that make a host ideal for web developers. Let’s get to it!
What Is ‘Developer-Friendly’ Hosting and Why Does It Matter?
It’s understandable that the average developer requires web hosting with more ‘punch’ than other site owners. As a web developer, most of your projects will need plenty of server resources (and adequate control over them.)
Unfortunately, many hosting plans can’t cater to these demands. For example, a typical shared hosting plan doesn’t pack the amount of RAM, storage space, or bandwidth the average Ruby on Rails application consumes.
So, in essence, a truly ‘developer-friendly’ hosting lets you:
- Execute and host code in your preferred programming languages.
- Enjoy reliable and great performance while running your code.
Your choice of web host as a developer will depend on a number of factors – hosting type, for example. Depending on the scale of your project, you’ll likely want to consider a Virtual Private Server (VPS,) dedicated server, or cloud hosting. These will generally allocate specific amounts of server resources (RAM especially,) which you’ll be needing.
It’s also important to note that regardless of whether you’re a developer, there are certain mandatory fundamentals to look out for. These basics normally include details about pricing, customer support, and the likes. While these are not within the scope of this article, they should be the first aspects to consider.
What 4 Key Developer-Friendly Hosting Features Should You Look Out For?
If you’re looking for ‘developer-friendly’ hosting, here are the 4 most important features to consider, starting with integrating frameworks.
1. Easy Software and Framework Integration
The first feature to look out for when selecting web hosts as a developer is support for your preferred programming languages. You probably already specialize in one or more programming languages or frameworks. Developer-friendly hosting will be able to integrate these frameworks seamlessly.
Nothing beats the availability and ease of preconfigured software on a hosting server. In many cases, installing frameworks and other fundamental software requires the minimum of clicks. This will save you the stress of having to manually install and configure software and other dependencies using a Secure Shell (SSH) client.
The most popular preconfigured options are PERL, PHP, Python, Ruby, ASP, and MySQL. You’ll also want to look for the included version of these languages. For example, if your package only includes Python 2 support, this leaves thousands of Python 3 packages out in the cold.
Having the liberty to choose your server’s operating system is also a great plus. In most cases, the decision will be between Windows and Linux. It’s worth noting that Linux servers are in the overwhelming majority.
2. Root Access to Admin Privileges
Another equally important feature that developers find immensely useful is root access. Web hosting with root access simply means you have total control over your hosting server. Practically any task is at your fingertips with root access, running multiple websites, installing and configuring third-party apps or software, effecting file changes on your server, configuring game servers and much more.
While this offers a lot of advanced privileges, it may also pose a challenge, especially to less experienced developers. This is because having administrator privileges also means server maintenance is your responsibility.
On the bright side, some vendors now offer expert support even on plans offering root access. These plans represent a lower-risk, high-customization option. You have full control over your server but can still ask for help in case you run into any trouble.
3. Plenty of Server Resources to Offer High Performance
Regardless of how stunning the other features are, your project would hardly take off if your server doesn’t deliver a sufficient amount of power. Hosting providers always state the number of resources they’re offering on each of their plans. The key server resources you should be paying close attention to include:
- Random Access Memory (RAM)
- Storage space (SSD preferably)
- Number of CPU cores
These resources directly influence the kind of performance you’ll experience for your web applications. As far as performance is concerned, the two most important metrics to take into account are uptime and server response time. You would do better with hosts that deliver uptimes above 99.95% and server response times optimally below 450ms.
When it comes to server resources, scalability is also another equally important factor. As your project begins to grow and attract more traffic, you’ll definitely need more server resources than you started with. The right ‘developer-friendly’ hosting lets you either upgrade to a higher plan or purchase more resources without interrupting your application’s processes.
4. A Focus On Server Security
Finally, the last feature developers cannot afford to overlook is security! The role of strong and up-to-date security cannot be overemphasized in any web development project. Apart from protecting your intellectual property, you also won’t want your clients’ information to be compromised. As such, you’ll only want to seek out web hosts that take security seriously.
Common security solutions hosting providers employ include DDoS protection, firewalls, CDNs, and other advanced custom solutions. Of course, SSL certificates are also a must-have for any professional site.
You’ll also find that the other hosting features tie into security. For example, the type of hosting will determine a base level of security, while root access could be a double-edged sword depending on your abilities.
Developers generally require web hosting with more power and control than the average internet user. Given that many web hosts look to the lower common denominator in search of income, finding powerful developer-friendly hosting could seem impossible. However, finding a provider who is up to the task isn’t completely unachievable.
If you’re looking out for the following features, you’ll be sure to find the right web host for your next project:
- Easy software and framework integration.
- Root access.
- Adequate server resources and solid performance.
- Strong security features.
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