As a business owner or entrepreneur, having the right web hosting from the start can be crucial. It helps you to set the stage and tone of your future success. With four big options to choose from, however, how can you tell which is best for you? There’s shared, dedicated, cloud, and VPS on the table, and each comes with pros and cons depending on your needs.
At heart, web hosting consists “simply” of a computer (actually, a hard drive) that’s connected to the Internet and it supplies the storage space for your website’s information. In fact, you can use your own PC as a web hosting server, but that comes with its own set of issues.
For example, you’re probably going to need more space than is necessary for just the data required for a website. You’ll need an exceptional high-bandwidth connection to the Internet that’s on around the clock, and there’s no telling what kind of security you can get for yourself.
However, if the DIY approach appeals to you otherwise, a dedicated server might be the choice for you.
Dedicated hosting means you have a hard drive that’s “dedicated” to you and your site. It’s where all your data is stored and it allows for 100 percent customization of both hardware and software, which typically minimizes maintenance and repairs.
It’s a favorite for techies, but of course it comes at a price: It’s the most expensive option on the table. Corporations and mega websites that require the biggest bandwidth (think Amazon) and who also prioritize security prefer this one.
You probably don’t need dedicated hosting, even though you might like it. Plus, given the cost (several thousand per month), it’s not feasible for many company budgets. However, if you can swing it and/or you think your website holds some seriously sensitive data, dedicated hosting is arguably the best. But it’s not the only option.
Your kindergarten teacher had it right: Sharing is a good thing. It’s been the most popular web hosting option for years; available to website owners who agree to share a part of a main server with others. The amount of “sharing” you do depends on the plan you purchase, but you can’t customize it and the bandwidth isn’t guaranteed to be the best.
The upside? It’s very cheap, easy to use, and it’s all most small websites or blogs need. Plus, depending on the hosting company, it can come with some great technical support, complete with representatives who are skilled at walking customers through issues.
VPS: the virtual private server
A hybrid of dedicated and shared hosting, VPS lets users choose their own software and other key details (rather like dedicated hosting), but only a slice of the space is available. You’re still sharing, but you get better bandwidth and the cost is much lower than a dedicated server.
The newest kid on the block, cloud hosting is reliable and offers perks like scalability. It can handle a bigger load, it’s easy to upgrade/downgrade, and you can pay based on use instead of a flat fee. It’s stable and de-centralized, but there are security concerns to consider.
Choose a hosting option that meets your unique security and support needs. There’s a perfect match for everyone, but it might take a bit of research.