What is Application Hosting? Software as a Service Explained

what is application hosting

Application hosting, better known as software as a service, is an up-and-coming service offered by hosting providers.

Instead of providing your application as an installation file, you can host it on a web server and deploy it on the cloud.

Application hosting or SaaS offers many advantages, such as running your application on any device with just an internet connection through a web browser.

There are more benefits to application hosting to read about, as well as factors you should consider when choosing a hosting provider. Keep on reading to learn more!

Key Takeaways

  • Application hosting is a service for hosting web applications and services and providing them for use over the internet without downloading them. 
  • The top benefits of application hosting are:
    • App accessibility over the internet
    • No upfront infrastructure costs
    • Have minimal downtime
    • Don’t require maintenance
    • Support seamless scalability
  • When choosing an application hosting service, you should consider server performance, application compatibility, hosting reliability, server availability, and security.
  • Application hosting can cost anywhere from $5-10 per month if you opt for shared hosting, and $100+/mo for dedicated hosting.

What is Application Hosting?

what is application hosting

Application hosting is a service that delivers apps over the internet. Hosted applications can be accessed on any device with a network connection. Application hosting is typically referred to as SaaS, which stands for Software-as-a-Service.

These apps run on a web server and can be accessed using a web browser. They come with a web-based user interface that allows users to interact with the app.

Some examples of hosted web applications are content management systems like WordPress, customer relationship management software, learning management systems, online conference platforms, online school platforms, and many more.

Typically, you do not need to download or install these applications on your device. Instead, you can launch them in your web browser and use them immediately.

Application Hosting vs SaaS Hosting: Is There a Difference?

Application hosting and SaaS hosting are often used interchangeably as they have the same purpose, but they can be executed differently. The biggest difference between application and SaaS hosting lies in software deployment.

Application hosting can refer to software being installed on a server and being accessed remotely. One example of this use case is legacy software being installed on a hosting server and being used by a company that accesses it over the internet.

On the other hand, SaaS hosting usually refers to software that is delivered over the internet by the vendor. For example, Microsoft provides their Office 365 suite as a SaaS service, which anyone can access via a web browser after paying for the licensing fee.

5+ Benefits of Application Hosting

what is application hosting

When you host your application on a web server, you will enjoy many benefits thanks to web hosting. Some of the main benefits of application hosting are:

  1. Accessibility over the internet. Your users can access your hosted application using any device that has internet access, no matter where they are. They won’t even need to download and install your application if they are using a new device – all they have to do is log in.
  2. No upfront costs. You can start hosting applications online without any upfront costs by renting a server from a hosting provider. You won’t have to purchase an expensive server for hosting your apps, and you can start hosting right away.
  3. Minimal downtime. If you’re hosting your application on a server located in your office, you might frequently experience downtime due to power cuts or a spotty network connection. Hosting your application on a web server will minimize your downtime, as hosting providers have backup power, cooling, and network systems in place to avoid server downtime.
  4. No maintenance is required. When hosting your application with a hosting provider, they will take care of server maintenance for you. You can even get a managed server and have your hosting provider set up your server and help start hosting your web application.
  5. Seamless scalability. Whether you’re a startup launching your first app, or you’re an enterprise that’s about to launch your 5th app, web application hosting can help you scale seamlessly. Your hardware resources will scale automatically as your user base is growing.
  6. Data security. Enjoy the benefits of hosting in a secure data center with web application hosting. Hosting providers have enhanced physical security at their data centers, as well as redundancy to protect you from data loss. Choose a dedicated server to get even higher security with no hosting neighbors.

How Much Does Application Hosting Cost?

The pricing for hosting an application on a web server starts from just $5-10 per month if you’re using shared hosting, and $100+ per month if you’re using dedicated or cloud hosting.

Shared servers are the cheapest hosting servers you can get on the market. They can be used for hosting basic applications that don’t demand high server performance and don’t have many users.

Shared servers are used by multiple tenants at the same time, and they don’t have great performance. They can be used for hosting internal applications, personal projects, testing applications before deploying them, and other lightweight applications.

If you opt for the more expensive option which is dedicated hosting, you will get much better performance for hosting your applications. Dedicated servers are single-tenant hosting solutions that have dedicated hardware solely for your application. They deliver excellent performance and can be used for hosting any kind of web app.

The starting dedicated hosting plans go for $100/month, but any additional upgrades such as unmetered bandwidth, additional storage and RAM, and managed services will come at an additional monthly cost.

Choosing an Application Hosting Service

When choosing a hosting solution for your web application, there are several factors you need to consider. You should carefully consider your options to ensure you won’t run into problems when you deploy your new application or at any point during your hosting contract.

When researching hosting providers and plans, you should look for:

  • Server performance: before choosing a hosting plan, estimate the number of users your application will have and the hardware components you will need to support all visitors. By choosing cloud hosting, you’ll ensure your web application can support any number of incoming visitors.
  • Application compatibility: when browsing for a hosting provider, have in mind the requirements of your application. Check out whether the hosting servers support the technologies your application is using and make sure the server will be able to run your application.
  • Server security: it’s important to choose a hosting solution that will ensure your web application is secured against malware and DDoS attacks. You want to protect yourself as well as the users of your application. Getting a dedicated server is the easiest way to ensure high security for your web app.
  • Hosting reliability: look for online reviews and customer testimonials of the hosting provider before making a purchase. Ensure they are providing reliable hosting before you deploy your web application on one of their servers.
  • Server availability: it’s important that your application has limited downtime so you don’t disappoint your users and lose out on profit. Look for a hosting provider that guarantees at least 99.9% server uptime, which is the industry standard.
  • Customer support: when choosing a hosting provider, check out the technical support they offer their customers. Make sure they have 24/7/365 support available, as well as highly-trained technical engineers. You can even submit a ticket and see what kind of support hosting providers offer before making a purchase.

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Application Hosting FAQ

#1. Does application hosting have upfront costs?

To get started with application hosting, you need to set up a hosting server, whether it is a physical one or one from a hosting provider. When hosting with a hosting provider, you usually won’t face any upfront costs.

#2. What should you consider before hosting an application?

Before hosting an application, the first thing you need to consider is your user base and whether it is the optimal way of delivering your application to them.

#3. How are mobile apps hosted?

Mobile apps are hosted similarly to websites and web apps, on remote servers administered by a hosting provider or on physical in-house servers.

#4. How much does application hosting cost?

You can host an application on a web server for just $5-10 per month with shared hosting. If you use dedicated or cloud hosting, you’ll need to pay $100+ per month.

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