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How to choose a provider for server hosting in Europe

Selection, purchase and rental of hosting is required to host websites, game servers, mail and corporate services, databases, file storage, virtualization, Exchange, RDP, VPN, VDS, FTP. From what “foundation” is chosen for the server, depends on its fault tolerance and performance. Therefore, it is better to immediately choose hosting that meets the client requirements and takes into account the prospects for their scaling.

Basis for server selection

Criteria of web server hosting selection

The main characteristics of hosting include the amount of RAM, acceptable server load, download speed, traffic volume and disk space. As a rule, providers offer a choice of OS, web hosting control panel, hard disk format, backup services, CMS support, hacker protection, SSL certificate, etc. Most options are paid, but the structure of the services provided may vary.

While selecting a hosting provider for the server creation, the client should consider indirect information about the provider as well. For example, how long the provider has been on the market, where the data centers are located, what is the schedule and level of responsiveness of technical support. To the pleasant bonuses the following can be attributed: discounts when paying for hosting services for a period of a year, fixing the cost of placement and maintenance of servers for a period of three years or more.

The following services are among the pleasant “little things” that raise the selected data center to the top of the server hosting list:

  • free website migration;
  • availability of a personal account manager;
  • assistance with selection and purchase of custom server configurations;
  • option of hardware leasing (long-term rent with the right of redemption);
  • post warranty hardware maintenance, etc.

Also important points when selecting a hosting provider is the scale of the project, budget, availability of a Remote Hands service.

When the task is to place a server on hosting, before making a decision it is necessary to go through the lists and ratings of providers, choosing the appropriate hosting terms.

A hosting provider interested in long-term cooperation with a client always offers flexible terms of cooperation. For example, he is ready to help with migration of infrastructure to a data center from any European country, responds promptly to emergency situations, assumes all risks and guarantees, concluding contracts for 1-3 years without additional payments.

Olga Boujanova

How to choose a provider for server hosting in Europe

To choose a turnkey server hosting, you need to consider many criteria with similar packaging:  for example, the same software, approximately equal cost, a set of basic services, etc. In this case, functionality and benefits are taken into account. In order not to waste your time, we have already selected all the necessary information and structured it in a checklist, which can be downloaded below.

The search for server hosting should be conducted purposefully, with knowledge of all the pitfalls. This is the only way to find the optimal solution for the business task and delegate part of the IT infrastructure maintenance to the provider.

The main issues occur due to the following:

  • differences in server speed from the declared technical parameters, traffic volume or speed limitations;
  • hidden fees;
  • differences between providers in providing for free/paid server hosting services (e.g. type of processor core and its characteristics – Xeon/AMD, clock speed, cache), traffic volume exceeding the limit, type of RAM and its frequency). The same hardware works differently on different server platforms;
  • inability to develop solutions linking the company’s IT resources and capacities in the data center (e.g., lack of support for backup connectors);
  • quality and responsiveness of technical support team (any delay leads to loss of data, customers, and reputational costs).

Criteria for choosing the best hosting

Type of hosting. Most often, when it comes to hosting, VDS/VPS servers are meant, although the client can place his own physical server in the provider’s rack (although this service is much more often associated with colocation).

Based on this, the main usage patterns for hosting will be:

  • VPS/VDS.
  • Migration of the client’s own virtual machine from another hosting.
  • Moving a virtual machine from the server room to host the company’s services with a cloud provider.
  • Placement of a physical server in a data center.

Business tasks of companies are different, and each requires a specific hosting service. Most often transitions are made as the load on the project grows and resource requirements change. For example, a desktop server for collaboration in RDP connection mode is suitable for small projects, and large commercial resources or online stores are preferably placed on VPS/VDS. If we are talking about high-load projects, it is preferable to use dedicated physical servers to increase performance and fault tolerance, and use a long-term rent or colocation model.

Virtual hosting is suitable for simple Internet projects that do not require scaling, speed, and the ability to attract traffic. All resources of one server in this case are shared between different clients and can therefore be distributed unevenly.

VPS hosting offers allocation of a separate space on the server with limited, neighbor-independent resources and root access to the contents of its part of the server.

The advantage of cloud server hosting is that it almost eliminates failures that affect performance and minimizes the negative impact of human error. Cluster solutions are often used to host servers, providing fast “switching” between servers, and, as a result, the business processes do not stop for a second. The second important factor is the ease of scaling and payment for only the actually utilized resources. The third advantage is the overall ecosystem in which the provider uses powerful disk subsystems that make the backup and recovery process extremely fast.

The most reliable hosting is in allocating a physical server, but it is also the most expensive option. In this case, the user must either deal with the settings and its support, or agree on a Remote Hands service.

The bottleneck of some hosts is the inability to join the big cloud providers (Google, Amazon, etc.). You should always look for a data center where there is network connectivity to exchange Internet traffic.
Criteria for choosing the best hosting
Location. In case companies from Asia or America are developing a new market and focused on customers from Europe, it is optimal to transfer work to European remote server hosting. Location of the data center in a large hub affects the speed and stability of the ping. There are several large Internet hubs in Europe and one of them is located in Frankfurt, Germany.

Data Center Characteristics. Data centers have varying levels of fault tolerance, reliability and security (TIER), as well as computing system uptime. Protection against DDoS attacks is most often provided by default. Before uploading the server to the hosting, it is necessary to check all certificates of the center for compliance with regulations.

Trial period. Before buying a server for hosting, it is necessary to make sure that the provider fulfills all the obligations undertaken, the hardware is suitable for solving business tasks, and if technical specialists are capable of quickly solving the issues that may arise.

Providing quality hosting depends on the power of the provider’s hardware: availability of multiprocessor servers with a large amount of memory. Forecasting traffic growth should be tested during trial downloads of resource-intensive applications and files at different times of the day.

Olga Boujanova

Technical Support. The service should be provided 24/7 through various channels, including holidays and weekends. Response speed, responsiveness, and the ability to choose the language of communication regardless of the country of hosting should be evaluated (e.g., in Germany it is possible to get advice not only in German, but also in English and Spanish).

Having a personalized manager assigned to each client contributes to quick problem solving and the possibility of not having to explain a task to a new technician from scratch. In fact, such a data center engineer can work both with the ticketing system and be part of the project team.

Services. Dedicated server hosting technicians provide support to clients in both migration and day-to-day operations, are responsible for convenience, help with scaling projects and changing tariffs upon request. The tariff plans take into account the possibilities of hosting sites on cloud hosting, dedicated servers and VPS, as well as reselling hosting services.

Administration and creation of regular backups can be both basic and paid services. The availability of its own control panel simplifies the work of the company’s IT staff, allowing them to configure the server at their discretion.

Companies interested in renting hosting for a server often cannot decide what is more profitable: to buy and use their own hardware, to rent it for a while or to lease it with subsequent purchase. Technical specialists are ready to provide consulting services, as well as to help with calculating the cost of the project, purchase of servers, their installation and configuration, and to take over all the paperwork.

Budget. The required size of server space depends on traffic volumes. When the server load increases, rapid scaling or hardware configuration upgrades are required. In any case, online server hosting allows you to pay only for the volumes required at the moment.

If, in the first place, you want to know the cost of the server hosting, then to calculate the cost you should take into account the type, dedicated capacity, the option of server hardware and selected services and type of operating system, functionality, and calculate operating costs.

For example, virtual hosting for small or low-loaded projects depends on the number of websites to be hosted, the amount of disk space, the load on the processor, and the tariff options. For a virtual server add the size of RAM, the need for administration, and technical support. The cost of hosting on a dedicated server depends, in particular, on the server configuration, whether it is in rent, leasing or is the property of the company, and whether the services of technical specialists are required.

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Europe's five largest server hosting providers. Top server hosting offers.

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Low cost of server hosting is a reason to be wary and check the reputation of the provider, so as not to fall for the bait of overselling. Also in Europe there are free hosting providers, but they are not suitable for serious projects. It is easier to study the rating of the server hosting provider and purchase the optimal tariff for specific business tasks. For ease of selection, we have analyzed 20 of the most popular hosting providers offering this service.

The list of criteria for choosing the best server hosting can be obtained by downloading the checklist.

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Olga Boujanova

Consultant on hosting solutions, network and cloud technologies

Case study: Moving to a new data center in Germany and setting up a distributed infrastructure

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