Everything in the internet starts with web hosting – the service that makes it all possible by enabling businesses, blogs, and other websites to be accessible online to prospective clients and users. So basically for a business, web hosting is the key to establishing an online presence.
And therein lies the catch…
An unreliable hosting service, despite giving your business an online presence, will occasionally end up making it inaccessible to prospective customers at times when they want to check your website out.
So what does people generally expect from a reliable hosting service then?
- 99.9% uptime
- 24/7 technical support
- Ability to handle mission critical applications
…just to name a few.
But generally people just want a cost-effective hosting solution. Most of them end up availing shared hosting service. For a business, this is actually not a good deal. In the long run, shared hosting just wouldn’t cut it. This leaves them with three other alternatives.
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Cloud hosting
Before we get into details, let’s analyze why shared hosting isn’t a good idea for businesses.
Shared hosting’s low price tag is the decisive factor that makes it preferable to many website owners. But there are other variables that people don’t usually bother to consider. First off, shared hosting is not something that promotes the growth of a business. Your website will be sharing server resources with other websites. If a few of those neighboring websites utilize a lot of server resources, your website will be left to function with what remains; and it won’t be enough to guarantee accessibility to your potential customers at all times.
As a matter of fact, it can slow down your website. This is known as the bad neighbor effect. However, shared hosting is easier to set up and is a good start to just launch your website. But once your website starts to grow and traffic starts to increase, you will be forced to switch to a better hosting solution.
The Alternatives – VPS or Dedicated?
You have 3 alternatives – Cloud, VPS, and Dedicated. But in this blog, we will analyze facts and features to help make the choice between VPS and dedicated servers.
Virtual Private Servers
The best way to describe VPS is to think of it as a condo. When you own a condo, you will be responsible in maintaining it. However, you and the others in the building will be sharing a few resources. VPS is quite similar. Your website will be hosted on a virtual private server (a virtual compartment of a physical server). That is your condo. There will be other virtual compartments that house other websites, and each function independently.
You will get access to the resources you pay for. Other websites on the machine will not be affecting your website’s performance in any way. It also offers more security than shared hosting, and costs much less compared to a low-end dedicated server.
Other benefits include:
- Scalability; you can add or remove resources depending on your business needs
- Great control and security with root access
- Minimal server load, in most cases, results in a comparatively better performance
So basically this is pretty much a more reliable version of shared hosting. And the only limitation you should be worried about is the reliability of the hosting service provider. If you don’t have complete access to all the resources you paid for, your website will run out of breath at peak loads.
One of the best albeit costlier alternative to shared hosting, dedicated hosting solutions give you a server dedicated to serving your website alone. You will not have to share resources with any other websites. Shared hosting may be prone to connectivity issues, downtimes, and even speed drops. Issues like that don’t exist in a dedicated server.
However, you should be mindful of the amount of resources your dedicated hosting solution provides. It’s primarily of use to websites with high or consistently increasing traffic.
- More power and control over resources than other hosting alternatives
- Can handle high traffic without any issues
- Reliable and highly secure
- Customizable; you have the choice of using the software and hardware the way you want
- Supports a plethora of scripting languages
There are two things you need to be aware of if you are interested in availing a dedicated hosting solution. First, the amount of resources the server provides you. Make sure your website has more than enough to function even at peak loads. Second, go for a managed dedicated server if you think you can’t maintain the server on your own. If you go for an unmanaged dedicated server, you will either have to maintain/upgrade/repair the server by yourself or hire help from technicians.
Its biggest limitation is that it’s costlier than other hosting alternatives. If by some chance the server crashes, it will take a good amount of time to get it fixed.
- VPS is less expensive comparatively and comes with reasonably good features for a low-mid scale website. Dedicated servers are expensive, robust, secure, and ideal for large websites with high traffic.
- Dedicated servers are comparatively more scalable than virtual private servers.
- VPS offers just enough security for a website to function (generally), while dedicated servers offer the best security you can get in the hosting sector.
Let’s make things easier. Ask yourself the following questions to figure out the right kind of hosting solution you will need.
- Is your website small, medium, or big?
- What is your budget to avail a reliable hosting package?
- Once the website grows, will there be a lot of traffic?
- Does your website accept payments for products or services, and does it save sensitive information of registered users in its database?
If your website is big and the traffic keeps increasing, a dedicated server will do you justice. If it’s small and you are not expecting a big spike in traffic, you can manage with a VPS package. If there are sensitive information involved, you would need robust security. A dedicated server is the best option when it comes to security. So basically, your choice ultimately depends on how big the website is, and its demands.