Do you have a high-quality and almost irresistible application in your bag? Your potential customers will not enjoy your app to the full if they cannot access it easily and quickly. That is why you need to consider how to choose the right SaaS hosting provider carefully.
In this article, we will review different SaaS cloud hosting options and their strengths and weaknesses. Read on to find out how to make hosting for your SaaS application reliable, cost-effective, and scalable.
What is SaaS cloud hosting?
SaaS, or software-as-a-service, is a delivery model that implies the software is distributed online. To make your SaaS app work, you need to run it somewhere on the server.
Unless you are a tech giant, it will be more cost-effective to delegate the hosting of your SaaS application to hosting providers. Thus, your SaaS product and related data will be stored using the provider’s capacities.
At the moment, the main three hosting options are as follows:
- Shared hosting. This option provides you with space on the server with other anonymous users. In this case, if the problem with traffic occurs on the side of one user of the server, all users of the exact server will have the same issue. It is the cheapest option, but also the least secure one.
- Dedicated hosting. This implies that a physical server (or servers) provides hosting services to a single business client. It offers great performance and security optimization tailored to your product. Also, you will get top-notch hardware, managed services, and 24-hour support. This is why it is the most expensive option.
- Cloud hosting. It means your data is stored on multiple servers. Being a very flexible option, it includes public, private, hybrid, and managed cloud, which can be offered by the same SaaS hosting providers. This option is the middle ground between power and affordability.
Keeping that in mind, let’s dive into the quest for choosing the best SaaS cloud hosting.
Tips on choosing the right hosting company for a SaaS app
1. Define your business requirements
This is where your story begins. SaaS hosting provides a wide range of services, and your goal is to identify your needs. Therefore, explore the exact SaaS hosting services required for your company.
You need to determine what resources will be required to keep your SaaS application running. First and foremost, it includes the expected traffic amount, i.e., estimation of storage and bandwidth usage for your product.
Before making choices about the best SaaS hosting option, you need to estimate the number of potential users of your application. Without proper planning, you can get an over-powerful server, or vice versa – a server that will not sustain the amount of traffic required.
But wait – there are more characteristics that you should pay attention to. Let’s talk about the must-have features you need to expect from your SaaS hosting provider.
- Reliability and 24/7 widespread availability;
- On-demand scalability and customizability;
- Dedicated security;
- Detailed documentation and competent support;
- Analytics tools for measuring your SaaS product’s effectiveness.
Saas hosting providers enhance their services constantly, offering a great diversity of functionality. Consider choosing some of the features below.
List of the advanced features for SaaS hosting
- Automated backups;
- Adequate storage space;
- Content management;
- Content delivery network (CDN).
2. Consider the technical side
The next item in your checklist for choosing the most suitable SaaS hosting provider will be the technical competencies. Your aim is to find the company that provides technologies compatible with your solution stack.
Which of the technologies used in SaaS cloud hosting do support your business requirements? Also, think about the technologies you may need within the next 12 months.
And what is the deal with legacy software? SaaS hosting has the solution for you – managed hosting. With this option, you can build the servers to a specification that will correspond with your legacy application.
3. Look into security
Without any doubt, security is a principal concern in the digital sphere. Accenture’s study suggests that the annual cost of cyber-crime in 2019 has increased by 72% compared to 2014. That is why your product needs a SaaS hosting provider with the utmost protection.
To begin with, come up with the security goals for your SaaS cloud hosting. Consider universal and project-specific goals. Your industry and the type of information you use and store can make a huge difference. Thus, public cloud hosting providers may not provide enough privacy and security.
To achieve your goals, you need to explore the security measures offered by different SaaS hosting providers. We will list some important ones for you below.
- Certifications (like TLS, SSL, HIPAA, and PCI);
- Network monitoring;
- Malware scanning;
- DDoS, SQL injection, and phishing prevention;
- Disaster recovery;
- User authorization;
- Spam filter.
4. Gear up for growing
Every business owner wants their project to grow. But sometimes it is a hard nut to crack. The thing is to find a SaaS hosting provider that can offer great scalability for your business.
Thus, when experiencing rapid growth, you may need to widen the number of resources consumed. And in this case, a good hosting provider will offer you an extensive utilization of resources at a discounted price.
If your SaaS application’s traffic has a certain daily or monthly peaks, you might be interested in hybrid cloud hosting. This model provides dedicated and shared servers at the same time.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution in SaaS cloud hosting. And this is another reason to choose a hybrid model that is the most flexible option providing customizable pricing plans. It will allow you to expand your business and satisfy customer demands in an affordable way.
5. Pay attention to the Service Level Agreement
Did you find the best SaaS hosting provider that meets all of your demands? You did a great job, but you are not through yet.
It is very important to seal the deal with your hosting provider defining the expectations from the services offered. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) describes the performance metrics and penalties for the disruptions on the vendor side.
Before signing an SLA, we suggest addressing the key points below.
- Uptime guarantee. If the servers fail, your customers may lose access to critical applications and data. Try to look for the hosting provider that offers five nines of uptime (99.999%).
- Clear penalties. Defining specific penalties will ensure compensation for downtime or failures. The structure should include meaningful service credits.
- Performance reporting. Your SaaS hosting provider must deliver the reports on the performance metrics.
- Harmless termination. You need to have the possibility to terminate the agreement without penalties in case of SLA non-compliance.
3 best SaaS hosting providers
We have discussed the main points in choosing the right hosting company. And now, let’s explore the great SaaS cloud hosting options.
There are a lot of players in the field of the hosting market. According to the Canalys report, the majority of the cloud services in the Q1 2020 is provided by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba. See the chart below.
Let’s dive into the top cases starting from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the market leader.
Amazon offers a cloud-based program that integrates IaaS and PaaS services, such as EC2, S3, and RDS. You get a fully customizable SaaS cloud hosting environment, and it will cost you far less than using on-premises technologies.
According to Statista, 76% of organizations around the world use AWS to run their apps. At Codica, our tech experts rely on AWS too.
Google Cloud Platform, or GCP, offers a wide range of IaaS and PaaS solutions. With GCP, business owners can be confident that anything built, created, or stored here will be protected. The most popular GCP tools include App Engine, Compute Engine, Container Engine, and Cloud Storage.
And even better, GCP is a very flexible system that offers great scalability with no need for migrations and upgrades.
DigitalOcean provides a developer-friendly environment and easy pricing. That is why it is the choice of many small SaaS companies. Speaking of backend workflow, DigitalOcean has a simpler structure than AWS or GCP. It offers the equivalents of virtual private servers, or droplets.
Hosting for SaaS development requires considerable speed, security, scalability, and reliable uptime. That is why choosing the SaaS hosting provider can be a challenging task.
Also, the SaaS cloud hosting market is a very competitive field. But if you have a clear understanding of the requirements for your hosting provider, it will be so much easier to set up a successful business. Consider choosing the option that combines appropriate uptime, performance, scalability, and affordability.