Hosting an Online Game
If you're running a company that produces online video games, you're going to need to look at online game hosting. Multiplayer online games are very popular among today's gaming community, but hosting these games requires different needs and hosting options than a traditional website. Your web host contains much of the gaming information. This is so players can't hack into the game files stored on their computers and cheat at the game. Of course, this means that your hosting server is going to have to hold a lot of the gaming information. The players' computers can store some graphics, audio files, and other non-specific information to help ease the load, but overall, it's your gaming server that's going to hold the majority of the information.
Another thing your host server is going to have to do is have a lot of bandwidth. It's going to be sending a lot of information to the players' computers, and their computers will be sending a lot of information to the server. When you consider this along with the huge amount of information your host server is going to have to hold, you have to realize that your server is going to have different needs than other servers. When it comes to looking for hosting for online games, there are two different options available: centralized hosting and distributed hosting.
Centralized hosting is the term for games the run directly off a web server. This means your host server is going to have to have a large hard drive and is going to have to be capable of handing thousands of users at once. If the server can't deal with this many users, it will crash, and your players will be very upset. Sometimes, host servers will have to send real-time changes in the game back and forth to the users very quickly, such as in an online action game. Other times, they may send information back and forth in bursts, like in an online card game. Either way, your host will be dealing with a lot of information very quickly.
There is an alternative to centralized hosting, but this type of hosting is rarely used by web hosting companies. In this version, called distributed hosting, a number of different servers host the game. Players can get their updates from any of the different servers, although one master server coordinates all of the information. This distributes the load across several different hosts. However, as far as a web hosting goes, this method doesn't really work unless you want to pay for multiple servers. If you can afford to purchase multiple servers and run a distributed network, there are several advantages, but if you can't, your only web host option may be to go with centralized hosting.
Finding a web host that can meet the challenges of hosting an online game can be difficult, and chances are, you're going to have to pay more for the extra bandwidth and server space. You will probably want to lease a dedicated server for the game, in fact, but it may be worth the expense if your game is popular.
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