When it comes to choosing the right website hosting for your business, there are a variety of options available and the choices can seem dizzying. The most common hosting options website hosting companies offe are shared hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server), and dedicated hosting. We’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Usually the cheapest of the four options, shared hosting means exactly what it says: customers are given a folder on a shared server with other users — sometimes of thousands of users. For many websites, this is more than enough computing power for their needs and helps keep cost down.
Often shared hosting sites, due to the large number of clients on their servers, offer “unlimited” space and bandwidth (although they do have internal data caps). However, due to the shared nature of the hosting, servers with many high-traffic sites will run more slowly, and e-commerce sites which use SSL are a very bad idea on shared hosting. If your website loads slowly, this impacts the user experience on your site and your sales.
Another risk of using shared hosting is that it can impact your email delivery. For example, if an email spammer is using your shared hosting company and the server you share is being used, the server can be flagged by other domains’ security software, preventing the delivery of your own email. If you want the cost savings of shared hosting, it’s best to not go for the cheapest providers and do your homework to carefully research the available options.
Prices for shared hosting start at about $5 per month for unlimited domains. Some companies offer low introductory rates with rates that increase significantly after the first month or when your contract is up for renewal. Some of the most popular shared hosting companies are BlueHost, Hostgator, and GoDaddy, which also offers domain registration.
The next step up from shared hosting is VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting. While VPS is also a shared server option, the major difference is that your server space is completely partitioned off as a virtual server, meaning the space dedicated in your VPS is yours alone.
While VPS is a far better choice for companies doing e-commerce or SSL and offers more speed than shared hosting, the price is considerably higher and your memory and bandwidth limits are considerably lower.
VPS hosting starts at about $20 per month but can go up quickly with more memory and bandwidth usage.
Dedicated hosting is hosting on dedicated physical servers for your website as opposed to sharing space, whether as a folder or a virtual server. Dedicated hosting is particularly important to large companies (as well as power users) trying to securely protect their data, because dedicated hosting gives you full control – even at the operating system level– over the flow and memory usage of your website.
On the minus side, full control means far less support and a hefty operating bill, easily the largest of the four. Another word of caution, if a service company is providing your ‘dedicated’ hosting, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dedicated to your website alone. Find out how many other users are utilizing the server.
Dedicated hosting starts at about $170 per month but can more than double in price with more computing power.
Cloud Hosting and More
Cloud hosting is rapidly gaining in popularity due to its ease of accessibility and low cost. Like shared hosting but with the power of VPS hosting, cloud hosting has the further advantage of not being tied to a particular server; if one fails, data moves to functioning interconnected servers. Another advantage for many website owners is cloud hosting is scalable, meaning it can be infinitely expanded and customize according to user needs.
In addition to the above, there are other hosting options such as managed hosting, colocation, which is similar to dedicated hosting, and Linux and Windows server hosting. Other factors to consider including email hosting and the availability of a Security Certificate for encryption.
For most small businesses, the most important hosting factors is having a dedicated IP so they have their own resources and if using shared hosting, they’re less succeptible to spammer activity.
At Ascent, we offer small business website hosting at affordable prices with a dedicated IP and Security Certificates available. Our hosting service includes website maintenance to keep your site up to date. Contact us to review your hosting needs.