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How to Choose the Right SaaS Hosting

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Nearly every business is constantly on the lookout for reliable technology solutions that can easily scale for future growth. You may have an app you have developed and are currently searching for SaaS hosting providers, or maybe you are currently managing your own servers and are looking for an independent third party.

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 If that is the case, you must ensure that you consider all of the options and potential obstacles that frame your user experience. SaaS companies that don't plan properly for growth and scale, will not have their users renew. You want to look at things like flexibility, scalability, bandwidth, speed, and security demands when it comes to deciding on a server hosting service. The last thing you want is your content delivery network slowed or bottlenecked with latency issues, limiting your customer's access. 

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a cloud hosting solution capable of handling many of your software needs. It has countless benefits and relieves companies of web hosting and managing applications on-premise by hosting web apps with cloud services instead. 

The SaaS model makes a previously expensive software solution more affordable to small and medium-sized companies. Most traditional software developers have institutionalized this software distribution model. You can now access services online that used to be only available as software on your computer or a dedicated server, like Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Creative Suite. 

It was with the proliferation of cloud computing services that SaaS hosting services were born. Dating back to 1985, the first mention was DbaaS (Database as a service), then came software as service, followed by platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, and a host of others. The way of delivering service, SaaS has undeniably changed the way software vendors market and deliver their products and services. Gartner forecasted that "software as a service (SaaS) remains the largest market segment on public cloud services and is forecast to reach $122.6 billion in 2021".

As your online business grows, there will be other challenges that you will have to deal with, so when searching for SaaS hosting providers, ensure that they have the experience and an expert technical staff to support your business needs as your subscriber base grows. Think about how you will have to plan to process and store tremendous volumes of data as your subscriber base grows. 

SaaS hosting is a smart choice, it provides cost savings and a way to reduce infrastructure costs without sacrificing performance. But choosing the wrong hosting provider could jeopardize your long-term success. 

In this article, we will outline for you all you need to know to make an informed decision regarding your SaaS product. 

Today, we're discussing 5 tips to ensure you choose the right SaaS hosting for your needs.

How SaaS Hosting Can (and Can't) Transform Your Business

According to Businesswire

"...nearly two-thirds of businesses worldwide have invested in some sort of managed cloud services, with another 25% planning to add or expand their use of such services in the next two years."

Two factors driving this phenomenon include complex technologies and competition. Companies are now finding it too expensive to constantly build and upgrade servers in-house. 

A SaaS hosting provider may transform your business by:

  • Delivering new technology to companies that previously couldn't afford it

  • Significantly reducing the technology bill when compared to on-premise servers

  • SaaS applications interconnect more easily compared to traditional software, increasing company efficiencies

 Providing a beneficial alternative to the traditional server model where you would purchase or rent hardware, hire someone to perform installation, provisioning, configuration, and then maintain it. SaaS hosting eliminates much of this for you and provides the additional benefits of not having to pay for software upgrades while allowing you to manage your services much easier. Often with cloud hosting, you can also access additional savings by using a shared environment where the cloud server is used by multiple tenants. These cost-savings now afford smaller businesses to access the same services as larger companies. 

Most SaaS vendors offer a service level agreement for nearly all sizes of companies, often offering a free service on the lowest tier. This model has exploded, with everyone from consultants to solopreneurs building up their client-base, often simply using the freemium version of the SaaS application or pay as you go. Everyone offers this from Hubspot to Canva to Spotify to MailChimp. 

Companies and CTO's like the rapid deployment that a cloud environment affords for SaaS hosting options. It also allows for high vertical scalability, without the expense of building out your own servers and provides your users with more options and features. 

Because services are delivered via an internet connection, means users can access the SaaS cloud service from any internet-enabled location. SaaS and cloud also often integrate more fluidly with other apps in the cloud. 

With so many benefits to users, it truly provides an enhanced customer experience. 

What are the downsides? 

One major downside to SaaS hosting is companies' tendencies to over-invest. Providers may offer attractive benefits that you don't actually need. Don't make the mistake of locking into an agreement that will work against you.

5 Things to Consider Before Selecting a SaaS Provider

The best way to select a SaaS hosting provider is by doing it the way you would select your own technologies in-house. That starts with a thorough understanding of your business.

Technology isn't the only factor in a successful investment. SaaS providers must drive business value as well. You must connect the dots between software and revenue, and everything in between.

You'll go through cycles of technology investments during your business' lifetime. Be sure your SaaS vendor will support them all.

Consider the following five factors when choosing managed SaaS:

1. Understand Your Unique SaaS Business Needs

You are at the beginning of your journey and have decided to launch a SaaS application due to the many benefits and features the model affords. Your business is unique and so are your requirements, but before deciding on the best SaaS hosting provider, the first thing you want to consider is the number of potential users on the SaaS platform. You don't want to spend more than you need, alternatively, you also do not want a system that underperforms, so have an idea of what kind of traffic to expect.

SaaS cloud provides a wide range of services, and your goal is to identify your needs. Therefore, you must explore the exact SaaS hosting services required for your company.

Determine what resources will be required to keep your SaaS application running. First and foremost, it includes your anticipated monthly traffic, i.e., estimation of storage and bandwidth usage for your SaaS product.

There has been a great deal of chatter online about the 'Best SaaS Hosting Solution.' But it is the individual support of your unique business needs you should have in mind.

Start by assessing exactly which services you would like to shift to an external provider. This can be items like:

  • Website and server hosting

  • Server backups

  • Cloud Storage

  • VPN

  • DDoS protection

  • Server Administration and Management

  • Content Management Systems

  • Automated backups

  • Adequate storage space

  • Migration

  • Content delivery network (CDN)

Cloud hosting companies have proliferated over the two decades, and they now provide a spectrum of functions and services. Determining exactly which services you need is a great first step. 

Pricing is another business need you should consider. You will want to balance capabilities with your pricing points. This becomes more difficult as you juggle the different capabilities you want from your solution.

For example, you want cost-effective scalability. If your company grows quickly, you must facilitate that growth. Look for pricing structures that support this on your terms.

Does your SaaS hosting solution support all present and future capabilities you will need? Don't corner yourself by selecting a solution that you will change again a year from now. Your clearly outlined business plan should include your technology requirements.

2. Take All Technology Needs into Account

Even as your business begins to shift away from in-house servers to SaaS applications, you still need to consider the resources that you may choose to host internally.

Perhaps you have an in-house accounting system. Your own IT team manages the system, and you'd like to keep it that way. So, what does it have to do with SaaS?

You may find you need to integrate these solutions with cloud applications. You may want that accounting system to link up with your Customer Relationship Management portal to cut down on bouncing between applications. Interoperability with these is essential, even if you don't need it at first. 

Make sure to consider all of the applications you currently run and work with a SaaS provider to integrate as many of them as possible. 

3. Consider How Your Investment Will Support Future Initiatives

As your business grows, you will want to scale your SaaS resources. Ensure your SaaS provider has fair offers when it comes to increasing your investment. They should offer discounted pricing for wider utilization as well.

Review the list of technology features your SaaS hosting provider provides. Which of these technologies support your business plan? Choose a solution that supports key technologies you will need 12 months from now.

4. Secure a Clearly Outlined Service Level Agreement

By addressing your needs in advance as planning for growth as we outlined earlier, you now know exactly the requirements of your business, so it's time to review key features when deciding on your SaaS hosting provider. Some of these service offerings may include:

  • Reliable, dedicated on-site security 24/7/365

  • Reliable 24/7/365 support availability

  • On-demand scalability

  • Detailed documentation and support

  • Analytical tools

  • Custom solutions

These are key advantages of the cloud you should not overlook and of course they are not the only things to consider. Every provider offers some kind of Uptime guaranteed, measured in SLA (Service Level Agreement), and is likely your most important metric to finding the right solution. Ideally, you want a minimum of 99.999% (five nines) SLA Uptime. 

You will want to give consideration to penalties and termination. Be sure that any penalties (such as going over your data allotment) are clearly outlined in your SLA. On the flip side, you should be compensated for failures and downtime and be credited in the event of such instances. You may even wish to terminate the service agreement if your concerns are not addressed in a timely fashion, therefore you must have the option to terminate without penalty due to contract failure. 

The analytical tools they will provide should have the capability of providing you with the metrics and performance reporting that you need.

Find a provider fully invested in continuity and disaster recovery and who is always available to you. 

5. Be Prepared for Rapid Growth

Don't make your success a problem for your business. A really good web hosting service will take an active interest in helping you realize your goals and has experience scaling their other clients. Do your research, read their case studies and white papers

Depending on your growth trajectory, you may wish to start on a virtual server as a tenant before moving on to a more dedicated option. If this is the case, share your long-term business plan with potential providers. Do they identify right away with your growth plan? Or, do they seem indifferent, only interested in securing a service level agreement?

You are looking for a long-term partner, not an IT landlord. The ideal SaaS provider will develop service plans unique to your business. If you feel that they can share in your success, you have found the right SaaS solutions for you.

Make the Most Out of Your Server

ServerMania has been helping businesses with their data and storage needs for nearly 20 years and is committed to providing our customers with reliable, satisfying experiences. We have eight data centers across the world to serve all of your needs and we are excited to contribute to your ongoing business success.

Contact us for a custom quote to select the right service option for you. 

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Rob Rapiti

Rob Rapiti

Rob is the Content Marketing Manager at Servermania. His goal is to help break down the often complex and technical aspects of IT into relatable, easy-to-understand information.