Basic, Shared, Dedicated and VPS. Choosing which best suits your site needs.
When it comes to finding a home for your site, there are many choices, ranging from incredibly cheap to extremely expensive. It is often difficult to identify which will suit your needs best, and can cause issues if you choose wrongly. There are a few things you need to think about when looking at a host, like performance and security. While price is often a main factor, you often get what you pay for, and it helps to know the facts to choose wisely the first time.
1. Basic - This is 'entry level' hosting, usually $5 or less a month, and offers few features beyond having HTML pages and pictures online and a few email boxes. If a web designer has to make changes to your site for you, this would probably work for you. However, servers cost a lot to run, so 'Basic' is shared hosting, often with hundreds or even thousands of other sites on the same server as you to spread out the costs.
2. Shared - This is the mid-level option, usually around $10-15/month, with more features than Basic. While you cannot install software, your site can access built-in things like databases, site traffic reports, and shopping carts. If you can edit your site yourself, like our WebUpdate range, shared hosting may be for you.
Although shared hosting has fewer sites on the same server than with 'Basic' hosting, it is important to be aware that there can be performance and security issues.
If one or more of those sites are popular and get a lot of visitors, or stream videos, access databases, or run programs, they will use more system resources and the server, and your site, will slow down.
It is not unusual to find an entire server grind to a halt because of one or two system-intensive sites. If this becomes the case, however, they are usually asked to move to a less crowded (but more expensive) server or to their own dedicated server.
You also need to check your site files regularly. Because your site is just in a folder with other sites, there is a chance that someone could gain access your folder, and maybe even upload malicious files into your site.
This is why we built our WebUpdate sites to check the server daily for new files and report back to us.
3. Dedicated - Dedicated is just for your site. You can install software, run programs, sell products and stream video to millions of visitors a day. However, you pay for this freedom, typically $200-300/month.
Dedicated is only necessary for mega-sites like Amazon or Hulu that are too high-traffic or too system- intensive to be placed with other sites.
4. Virtual Private Server - VPS is around $30-50/month, and offers the best of both shared and dedicated hosting. While your site is on a server with other sites, there are much fewer than with shared hosting, so there are fewer performance issues.
With VPS, your site is in its own server 'bubble,' inside which you can control everything, even down to which programs are installed. This gives much more flexibility and security, as nobody else on the server can get into your space.
If your site is a complex site, and you need reliable uptime, VPS is the way to go. As of 2012, our advanced WebUpdate 5 sites will be on VPS hosting to take advantage of the many improved features and performance.
If you are ready to grow your business, now is the perfect time to consider our WebUpdate systems, which employ advanced marketing, promotion and security features designed to give your business the best competitive edge online.
Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design,
the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.
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