Server Hosting

What Does Server Hosting Mean?

Server hosting refers to the outsourcing of an organization’s server placement and platform to a third-party Managed Hosting Provider (MSP). A client uses the Internet to connect to data and applications on a managed server and pays a recurring fee to the hosting provider. A MSP usually operates and manages large data centers with dozens, hundreds or thousands of hosted servers for two or more clients. This model is known as colocation or colocated hosting.


The server hosting model provides a best-of-all-worlds scenario by giving organizations access to server platforms to host their applications and data without shouldering attendant costs.

Server hosting is also known as managed hosting.

Techopedia Explains Server Hosting

Server hosting began as a way for organizations to eliminate the overhead logistics associated with operating a server or data center. Extra required work includes accommodating space for the data center, security (physical and virtual), fire/temperature protection. The greatest hindrances are related to the costs of IT personnel, hardware maintenance/upgrades and replacing obsolete servers.

A MSP usually provides a portion or all of a hardware server to a client, and this includes a virtualized environment. For small applications that do not require significant computing resources, a client may choose to pay only for a virtualized or shared hosted server. For larger and more taxing applications, such as online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, it is better to lease an entire dedicated physical server. This is known as dedicated hosting.

A client may use the allocated server to suit requirements. They may install their applications and access them over the Internet, and enable or disable access. However, the hosting provider may establish some restrictions, such as the following:

  • Restricting objectionable or security-sensitive client types (adult content providers, weapons manufacturers, etc.)
  • Placing a cap on the amount of traffic generated and transferred by a client over a certain period
  • Preventing dangerous data, such as malware and viruses

For the most part, clients are free to use their hosted server as they wish. For small and medium enterprises, managed hosting offers an excellent method of accessing required resources without investing in non-core competencies, such as a data center and IT personnel. However, larger enterprises that may choose to maintain their server hosting in-house. Such organizations place a large premium on data security, sensitivity and integrity, or they rely so heavily on their information systems (IS) that server hosting is not a feasible option. Examples of such organizations are large commercial banks, security contractors and nuclear power plants.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…