How Do You Know Which Type of Server You Need?

Do you run a growing online store or have a ton of videos on your website? And, more importantly, do you know how this affects your hosting needs? Some sites can get by on a shared hosting plan, but as your site grows you’re bound to find out that a dedicated hosting solution makes more sense. If you’re still shaking your head and asking “What type of server do I need?,” read on for more information on types of website hosting:

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1.Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting

How do you know if you need VPS software or a dedicated server? What about a shared, fully-managed option? Have you considered cloud hosting? When you are searching for a hosting company for your business or personal website, you need to know what features to look for and which types of servers are out there. Some web hosting companies offer great deals, giving you a wide variety of features in your hosting package price. Other companies operate on the basic package plus additional features pricing system. They might charge extra for features you’d find included with other companies. Here are some tips for evaluating each type of the server on the market and their associated costs.

Note : Choosing Between VPS and Shared Hosting

With the plethora of web hosting options available on the market, how do you determine which one is right one for your organization? Two of the more popular options-virtual private hosting (VPS) and shared hosting–are significantly different in terms of breadth of features, pricing, and scalability, among others. In this article, we’ll compare and contrast shared hosting versus VPS, and identify suitable use cases for each option.

Shared Hosting

As its name implies, shared hosting means your website will share the same server with many other websites. This is the most cost-effective option, as no dedicated resources are required to service each individual website/account. That said, server resources (RAM, CPU, storage) are spread–sometimes thinly-across multiple accounts, usually numbering in the hundreds or thousands. Because one server may host a myriad of websites with wide-ranging audiences, traffic patterns, and visitor types, a system compromise can bring down all hosted websites in one fell swoop.

Security is another concern: As server resources are shared across websites, there is a greater likelihood of systems being compromised. If an intruder or hacker gains access to a shared hosting server, all websites residing on that server are equally compromised. For budget-constrained organizations that can deal with the periodic downtime, decreased performance, and security implications of shared hosting, this can be a viable option.

Shared hosting accounts usually come with the hosting account, FTP access to upload files, and one (or more) email accounts per domain name. Additionally, a shared open source database like MySQL may come free of charge as well. Aside from these basic features, though, not much else comes with a shared hosting account, an important factor to keep in mind when comparing shared vs VPS.

VPS Hosting

In contrast, VPS hosting gives customers their own isolated environment for hosting websites. In reality, multiple websites may still be sharing the same physical server in a VPS setting, but a fundamental difference lies in how server resources are allocated to each user account. VPS users only share hardware resources with other accounts–everything else is dedicated to the specific account in question. This means VPS users are typically assigned and guaranteed a certain amount of server resources per account, whereas shared hosting customers are not.

When consider VPS vs shared hosting, organizations expecting to expand their websites in the future usually choose VPS for scalability and added security benefits. More often, shared hosting websites require significant legwork to upsize and scale, and involve some degree of downtime for site migration. On the other hand, VPS hosting resources are scalable and on-demand: If a website anticipates or is experiencing a dramatic spike in traffic, more memory and/or computing resources can be allocated immediately, usually with the click of a button. In terms of security, websites are essentially “sandboxed” in their own environments, so a compromised website will not impact others residing on the same server.

There’s no arguing that an organization’s professional website is critical for engaging in today’s connected business landscape. That said, a plethora of hosting options exist to address a vast array of use cases, and comparing VPS versus shared hosting can be difficult. VPS hosting is significantly more expensive than shared hosting, but for good reason: if you anticipate a substantial amount of website traffic, and/or if the website is considered a mission-critical part of your business, shared hosting will not suffice. On the other hand, simple websites do not require the security, scalability, and high availability that VPS offers.

Choosing between VPS or shared hosting ultimately comes down to each business or organization’s individual needs and requirements.

2. Determine the Purpose of Your Site

Why are you building a website? Is it for your business or for fun? What kind of site is it? A blog, a portfolio, or maybe an online store? The answer to these questions will determine which features you need. For example, you may have an online shopping cart that requires a dedicated IP address and SSL certification, or a customer management system to keep track of clients and leads. If your site is content based, your most important decisions will be choosing the site builder and templates. Knowing which features you need is the most useful way to choose your hosting package. Researching types of Linux servers and other hosting options will be easier if you have a clear vision of your site’s purpose.

Scalability

A text-based blog is never going to cause problems in terms of disk space and bandwidth, even with high traffic. However, a small online store which starts out on Shared hosting may expand quickly and require more space. Opting for VPS is one way of making sure you’ll have enough space as you grow, but it’s a shame to pay for all that space before you need it. Cloud hosting comes in very handy for a gradually growing business, you can scale up bit by bit without paying for redundant space. However, if you’re working with multiple sites with a lot of media and high traffic, and if you have the budget, it’s probably best to go straight for a dedicated server and never have to worry about disk space again.

Note: Avoid these 5 common website hosting spaces

Mistake 1: Assuming That Unlimited Bandwidth Is Unlimited

This is a key mistake. Whether it’s the minutes or text messages you’re allowed on your cell phone tariff or features of your website hosting, every company that offers something unlimited isn’t telling the whole truth. There are usually clauses in the terms and conditions (always read the small print!) stipulating that “unlimited” actually means “within reasonable use.” It’s like an all you can eat buffet. You can’t actually eat everything there. At some point you’ll be asked to pay more or leave. Most websites don’t need unlimited bandwidth (just like most people can’t eat everything at the buffet, even if it’s free) so in reality hosting companies rarely offer it.

Mistake 2: Overpaying

The price you see is big red writing is not the price you’ll actually be paying! That’s right, what appears to be low cost web hosting might actually be quite expensive. Look just underneath the advertised price, and you’ll see a tiny crossed out price which makes you think you’re getting an unbelievable deal. You’re not, you’re paying the small price for the first month and then the massive price underneath it for every subsequent month. It varies from company to company, sometimes you’ll get as much as the first year at a discounted rate, but universally there is a trend of showing the customer a much smaller price than they will actually be paying. Read the small print and make sure you know what the actual cost of your hosting contract is.

Mistake 3: Getting Stuck With Poor Customer Service

Again, this really comes back to doing your research. Make sure you look into the history of the company and read customer reviews, preferably on an independent website. Most people don’t have to think about this until something goes wrong, by which time it’s too late and you’re stuck with your company and bad customer support. Many companies offer 24/7/365 support to help you with any web hosting issues. That’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.

Of course this doesn’t mean the quality of service is high. But the companies that provide regular training to their support assistants will be proud of that and often tell you about it on their websites. If they’re good, this will involve interpersonal training as well as technical.

Mistake 4: Not Upgrading 

If your website can’t support the amount of traffic it gets then you need to upgrade. Your hosting company will have access to stats about your site and will be able to advise you on what you need the most. The majority of web hosts provide excellent upgrade options and there are often great deals for pre-existing customers.

If you’re with a good hosting company, they’ll value your business. It’s in their interest to keep you happy and maintain that good relationship. Don’t be afraid to expand as your site grows, and don’t be afraid to push for a good upgrade price with your hosting provider.

Mistake 5: Not Doing Research

You probably saw this one coming. As with anything, there are good, bad, and downright ugly options on the Internet for web hosting. There are scams, there are bad companies who don’t value you as a customer, and there are companies who don’t operate ethically.

However on the flip side there are environmentally friendly web host companies who offset all of the energy they use. There are companies who have won awards for their customer service and their hosting products and there are companies who simply provide excellent hosting.

The best way to find the right hosting for you is to research the companies you’re looking at. Establish what you want, find out who offers it and then decide if they’re right for you by looking at how they operate. Always read reviews to get website hosting information about each provider, but remember that every website is different. So what might be important to one customer may not even be relevant to you.

3. Unlimited Plans

At first glance, you’d think that anyone who upgrades from Shared hosting is crazy, with all the unlimited space and bandwidth packages out there. Unfortunately, the providers are using the word “unlimited” very liberally. It is assumed that 95% of domains on Shared have very low requirements, so it isn’t worth capping. In the event that you go over what they deem to be reasonable, they’ll get in touch. This means that if you want more than one domain or high storage capacity, video streaming, heavy features etc. you need to be aware that Shared hosting may not be adequate.

4. Add-ons and Applications

In the vast majority of cases, the type of hosting you select does not affect the free apps provided with your hosting service. These include CMS programs like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. There are apps for galleries, blogs, forums and video streaming. You’ll also get an email box with antispam software and the capability to create many email users on your domain. Then you have the more technical apps like site analytics and error logs, so you can improve your site’s performance. Some packages will include an SSL certificate or shopping carts, and if not they can always be purchased as an extra. These should not be a factor in deciding which hosting type to choose.

5. Support

Many companies offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There are sometimes ticket systems that prevent you from contacting the company directly. Some people prefer this because they don’t have to wait in a queue. Others prefer to be on hold but know they’ll talk to a person when they get through. The company should at least give you the option to email, live chat or call.

Don’t confuse sales support with technical support – if you’re opting for VPS you will need particularly efficient support methods. There will rarely be any problem with a Shared account, but VPS software configurations are totally at your discretion and therefore there’s a lot of room for problems!

6. Bottom Line

When in doubt, when finding a server type, go smaller than you need – you can always upgrade! Companies are more likely to help you migrate over to a more expensive option because they’re getting more out of it. Even if you have a bottomless budget, dedicated hosting is only worth it if you really need it. It takes a lot of maintenance and could provide more stress than relief.