The main objective of the web hosting automation platform is bringing about perfection in the hosting processes. Basically it is the streamlining of the technical elements of the business in order to enable the hosting providers to manage more customers than they otherwise would have. Web hosting automation also enables the larger providers to meet the needs of the existing customer base with uniformity.
Here is an insight on the main elements of web hosting automation:
Managing Customer Relationships
Just like a web hosting platform is made of several layers, there are several layers to the solutions created in order to automate the business with those layers. Specifically, it is addressed by the various automation platforms. The front line of the automation endeavors deals with the customer relationships. This is a concern area for most of the businesses, with web hosting automation. The customer relationships can be taken care off in a better way and thereby businesses perfectly manage the activities that consume a lot of time in order to provide the customer with the best services within a short span of time.
Simplifying The Account-Management Tasks
By automating the simple and common account-management tasks, a significant amount of repetitive and time consuming work can be offloaded through the hosting control panel. Otherwise the web host would have been responsible for monitoring these tasks. The automation tools dealing with this layer automate the back-end business processes and synchronize them with the customer facing solutions for automating the technical tasks like account setup and server provisioning. Setting up a billing process is an example of this. One of the most recent and the most prominent additions in the array of automation tools is the virtualization technology; a software that divides the hardware into small virtual segments.
For instance, a web server can be divided into many virtual servers thereby enabling the hosting company to provide its customers with dedicated-like virtual servers at an economical price. The most evident function of the control panel software is to provide the customers with a better control of the hosting accounts.
Control Panel Functions
Through the control panel, customers can manage various important aspects like:
* Website size and settings
* Bandwidth usage
* Changing and updating the websites
* View the comprehensive access logs
* Set up services like email accounts
* Perform other basic administrative functions
The greatest benefit that the control panel has is towards the web host. This is in the form of a reduction in the support demands and also reduction in many of the administrative tasks performed by the web host. Although traditionally most of the web hosting companies developed the control panels in-house, today the demand for the commercial control panels has increased a lot. Commercial control panels that are used today are far more developed, better supported and they can be perfectly synchronized within the web hosting packages for efficient management of the website.
The control panel often consists of a level of automation platform that incorporates back-end functions that are created as a result of customer activity. An automated hosting infrastructure has the capacity of reducing the provisioning time for the new shared and dedicated hosting accounts.
Automated Billing Functions
The automated billing systems perform functions like:
* Automatically billing the customers
* Generating invoices
* Simplifying the overall billing process
If an automated billing and provisioning system is not in place, it will not be possible for a web hosting company to expand the user base.
Even though virtualization has undoubtedly taken hold, it still remains a new frontier in the web hosting industry. This is a technology that promises to enhance the effectiveness of the web hosting processes by enabling the hosting providers to make optimum utilization of their hosting resources. Through virtualization software, a physical server is divided into ‘virtual’ machines that function as private and independent servers. As a result of this, the web hosting providers can distribute the cost of the hardware and connectivity among the customers without compromising on privacy or performance. By utilizing the virtualized services, the web hosts can provide with simulated dedicated hosting at a lower cost. The virtual private servers were initially designed to bridge the gap between the shared hosting and dedicated hosting environments. This hosting platform eliminated the restrictions present in case of shared hosting by providing the user with administrative functionality by that of a dedicated hosting platform.
While the shared server has the capacity of dividing the server resources effectively, it is not possible for the customers to customize their environments with root access. A virtual private server consists of its own distinct file systems, system resources, disk space, bandwidth and memory allotments. The uniqueness of the virtual private server is that it offers with ‘functional isolation’ that makes it a valuable hosting offering for a wide range of customers thereby enabling them to install their own operating system and the necessary applications.
Web hosting automation was originally created to simplify and streamline the web hosting processes and now it has become a prominent part of the web hosting industry. In the current scenario, it is hard to imagine a credible web hosting business functioning without an automated control panel and the latest technology required for the automation of the back-end business processes like billing and service provisioning. As the technology moves ahead; just like automation, virtualization will be a critical part of the web hosting industry.