What is Database Hosting?

In database hosting, a third party offers the hardware and infrastructure to run a database of the client’s choosing, often in the cloud. They also configure the environment for secure access, ensure resources are available to scale the database as needed, and offer managed services based on requirements.

Benefits of database hosting

Database hosting arose as an alternative to running a database and its applications in a standard on-premises environment, on computing infrastructure owned and operated by the organization itself. There are many benefits to database hosting:

  • Ability to customise what database is used and level of support and maintenance.
  • Automatic scaling, both increasing and decreasing based on demand.
  • Offers high availability, meaning no downtime for users.
  • Often provide incident response plans that include monitoring.
  • No need to pay for and maintain expensive hardware.

Database types

Database types fall under two main categories: relational databases and non-relational databases, or NoSQL, as they are also called.

Relational databases are one of the most well-known categories of databases. They have been around for a long time which means that there are a wide variety of hosting options available both hosted in data centres and in the cloud.

NoSQL databases are any type of database that doesn’t use the traditional rows and columns of a relational database. There are multiple types of NoSQL databases as well, so it is worth considering which type of database best suits the applications needs. They are often designed with the cloud first in mind which makes them a great candidate for database hosting.

Most popular databases can be hosted, which is great as it means you have plenty of relational and non-relational database hosting options.

Considerations for database hosting

Database hosting providers offer a lot of benefits that may prove an excellent choice for a database solution. However, there are still some considerations to make when choosing whether to self-host or use database hosting.

Level of control/security

Self-hosted, or on-premises, hosting is better for companies who want maximum control over users, security, and disaster recovery plans. They also allow for complete control over tools and monitoring used. Although hosted database solutions allow some flexibility, the hosting company will still have some limitations.

If the project has to follow strict policies, such as for governmental projects, then database hosting may not allow for the level of security and restrictions that need to be applied.

Cost

Although the costs can vary for hosted databases, depending on the depth and detail of the service, such as additional security or monitoring plans, it is still more expensive to host databases on-premises because of the cost of electricity, cooling, hardware, space, and internet connectivity.

So it is worth considering the costs versus benefits before deciding which solution to go with.

Database technologies

Although most types of relational and non-relational databases can be hosted with modern technologies, it is still worth considering whether the technology stack you are using, including databases and tooling, can be hosted.

Cloud database providers

Database hosting providers, however, are in plentiful supply all over the world. The largest hosting providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and there are many local and regional providers as well.

You will want to consider which provider to use based on a variety of factors such as cost, location, and available services.

Database-as-a-service

If database hosting is the right solution, another consideration is using cloud hosting, called Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS).

Why just outsource the infrastructure to run your database when you can outsource its management as well? DBaaS is a value-added variant of database hosting, a fee-based subscription service in which the provider takes on administrative burdens such as database migration, installation, configuration, maintenance, and upgrades.

MongoDB Atlas is an example of a DBaaS. This is the cloud-hosted solution for MongoDB’s Document Databases. It supports all three major cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and GCP) including a multi-cloud setup should you wish to target specific regions or data centers across providers.

There is a free tier as well so you can investigate if cloud hosting might be the right solution without paying anything.

Summary

In this article, you have learned what database hosting is, why you might want to use it, and what to consider that might have an impact on your solution of choice.

You have also learned that cloud hosting is possible on different cloud provider platforms. One of these providers is MongoDB Atlas. You can follow the Getting Started with Atlas guide to learn how to create a free Atlas account and set up your first cluster.

Get Started with MongoDB Atlas

Learn more about database hosting with MongoDB Atlas.

FAQ

What is a hosted database?

A hosted database is any database that is stored on servers owned and managed by a third-party company. This includes the database, secure access, monitoring, and availability.

These third-party services also offer customisation with the client whereby they can choose what database technology is used.

How can I host my own database?

A self-hosted database, or on-premises database, can be hosted on any computer that meets the hardware and software requirements to meet demand and run the software.

Many databases offer a self-hosted solution. MongoDB, for example, offers a server that you can download and run on-premises. There is even a free community version available.

Where should I host my database?

Where to host a database depends on your requirements. If you have decided that a hosted option is best, then the next consideration is whether to use cloud hosting. There are many benefits to cloud-hosted databases which make it great for managed, high availability, and scalable requirements.

However, where you host your database will also depend on if you are using relational or non-relational databases.

How can I create an online database for free?

MongoDB Atlas offers a highly available, flexible, fully managed document database store. It is also able to automatically scale both vertically and horizontally to respond to demand. There is a free tier available which allows you to get started today and see the benefits of document databases.