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Published on February 15th, 2018 | by Guest

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How to choose the best business web hosting service

If your website is your store, think of hosting as the ground it stands on. Without hosting your website doesn’t exist to your potential customers/internet users, nobody can visit it. Web hosts then, are the land owners or landlords, you’ll need to pay them a monthly rent to make sure your website is up and running online. The options available are vast and range from free, shared hosting to virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated, colocation hosting. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages which we’ll explore in this post.

When you invest in a website, it’s a representation of your business and everything you stand for – an online brochure, a store, an information portal. It’s vitally important then that it represents your brand and how you want it to be perceived. An unreliable website with slow loading pages and regular downtime probably isn’t what you pictured when you were painstakingly putting your website together. If you’re still in any doubt how important your choice of web hosting is. Did you know your web hosting contributes to user experience (UX) and influences your search engine optimisation (SEO)?

The type of hosting you opt for will usually come down to cost. With a wide variance in the price of web hosting you should try to balance your budget with the quality of performance needed for your website.

Cost

As a rule, I’d advise avoiding free hosting. It’s never truly free – your host has costs to cover and they’ll try to recoup those by placing adverts on your website or a subdomain or directory web address rather than your own domain name. If you only need basic web hosting, you’re much better off paying a few pounds for cheap shared hosting to ensure a basic level of quality and service. A mid-range option is VPS and at the top end of the pricing structure a dedicated server. To find out a bit more about each option we’ll break them down for you below:

Shared hosting

If it’s your first website or blog, your traffic numbers are low or you just want to keep costs to a minimum, shared hosting is probably going to be the best option for you. As the name suggests, it’s a hosting option that will see your website sharing a server space with lots of others. To use the real estate analogy we started with; shared hosting is the equivalent of a house share – each room of the house is occupied by a different person.  If one person decides to play loud music or eat all the food in the kitchen, the rest of the housemates suffer. The downside to shared hosting is that resources are finite and if one of the websites sharing with you gets a surge in traffic, your own resources will be depleted, affecting your website’s running speed. Resources include disk space, traffic, FTP accounts, databases and email accounts among others.

You’ll have access to a control panel (the most popular is cPanel) to manage certain aspects of your hosting account, but the technical side (administration and maintenance of the server) will be controlled by the hosting company – usually highly skilled professionals, leaving you to concentrate on running your business.

At some point you might grow out of shared hosting. If you experience large volumes of traffic, you need more resources or just want more control over your hosting environment, a virtual private server could be the answer.

VPS

A virtual private server sits in the middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting. Returning to the house analogy, this is the equivalent to living in a row of terraced houses. You’ve got your own private home, but it’s attached to multiple others. So, you’ll have your own operating system, dedicated storage, powerful CPU, scalable RAM and unlimited bandwidth. A dedicated server is split into virtualised multiple servers called VPS and each VPS operates as a mini-dedicated server.

Your VPS next door neighbours each have their own resources, so they can’t affect the performance of your website.

Wondering how you’ll know when it’s time to upgrade from shared to VPS? If your site is running slowly, you have big surges in traffic that your current hosting can’t handle, or you’re concerned about security it could be time to make the switch.

Cloud VPS

Cloud VPS is very similar to standard VPS, but it offers unlimited dedicated resources. You’re renting a small part of a really big network of servers that are all connected together. Think of it like living in a hotel. If you need more space or resources you simply pay for more rooms, although in this instance, there are unlimited rooms you could take over. Everything works faster in the cloud, if you need to expand, it can be done in seconds. It can also be more economical as you pay for what you use. Other benefits include a choice of operating system (OS) and a choice of infrastructure

In a cloud infrastructure there is no single point of failure, on a traditional VPS if the physical server fails, all VPSs on that server fail. It is possible that if one of your VPS neighbours gets a virus then your hosting could be negatively impacted too.

If you can’t decide between VPS and cloud – what would work best for your business? How critical is it if your customers can’t access your site or your site is working slowly? If your website is small and wouldn’t be impacted by rare periods of downtime, VPS would work well for you. If you run a huge e-commerce site and you will be financially impacted by any downtime or slowdown when traffic spikes, cloud hosting would be the better option.

Dedicated

A dedicated server is the detached house of the real estate world, it’s the most expensive of the options available to you and for good reason; you get your own dedicated server. This might be in-house or in a dedicated data centre. You’ll have optimum control over this hosting solution and can customise it completely to the needs of your business. Security configurations can be tailored to the website’s individual functions. This much freedom doesn’t come without a good level of technical server knowledge though and unless you have a fully managed package, you shouldn’t attempt this without the necessary skills to manage it.

Conclusion

Whatever type of hosting you decide on, it’s likely that your needs will change over the course of your businesses lifetime. And while you might want to start off in a cost-effective shared environment, be aware of the signs that you are outgrowing your hosting and the needs of your business website. Most good web hosts will be able to advise you on the best type of hosting for your website.


Author bio:

Certa Hosting is a leading provider of website hosting, offering shared, cloud VPS and reseller hosting.

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