Web hosting is a service that every business, regardless of size or market demand needs to address, however, a company’s individual need may vary greatly in the services they require to accommodate their online needs. When deciding how to deal with your business’s web hosting needs it is important to know the basic varieties, including shared hosting, VPS, hosted services and self hosted, as well as the differences between them.
The first step in finding a company’s web hosting demands is to fully understand web hosting, and the services it can provide. A website host is a server or computer that constantly remains online, making a website accessible via the internet. When visitors access the site they are actually downloading files from the computer in which they are stored.
In reality, any computer can be used to host a website, but professional services use computers specifically configured for power, using large amounts of memory and hard disks to efficiently deliver data and website content to potentially thousands of users at the same time. Any business with a website will require web hosting, and the larger the brand, and the more active the website, the more powerful the service will need to be.
The self hosted approach is probably best suited to smaller businesses running very basic sites, as it consists of hosting the website independently off of a home or office internet connection. Hosting your own website has a few advantages, including freedom to do as you please with the website.
In addition to this it can be quite powerful, depending on how many computing resources you have to commit to it. Self hosting is not without it’s drawbacks, and these should be considered. Disadvantages of a self hosted site include the amount of technical knowledge necessary to execute it, and speeds can be greatly lacking due to poor upload speeds, as well self hosting may violate your ISP’s terms of agreement and all traffic you host will be reflected on your bandwidth usage.
Shared hosting is when your site is powered by one server, acting a host to thousands of other websites as well. Shared hosting is a budget friendly alternative, so it is great for small or new businesses, offering an all in one package, with domain name and hosting, bringing your brand to the internet.Major advantages of shared hosting include the cost effectiveness of the service, the ability to provide a custom domain, and an easy to use interface for blogging and forums – all requiring minimal technical knowledge.
Disadvantages are the incredibly slow speeds, and the fact that it has only basic capabilities due to the limitations of a shared server.
VPS and Dedicated Servers
These are the most ideal type of website hosting servers because they provide each client their own individual server space. VPS, or virtual private server, is a virtual machine, compared to a dedicated server that is similar in nature but is a physical system dedicated to hosting the site.
The major benefits of going with this type of hosting is that it offers essentially unlimited domain hosting and offers incomparable loading speeds, often 5 times faster than other approaches. As with anything, there are drawbacks to this particular service, and they include the associated costs as this is the priciest alternative, as well as the amount of knowledge required. These techniques are excellent for popular and intricate websites that see a lot of traffic and have a lot of content.
Hosted services is the simplest form of web hosting, and involves creating a smaller, or subsite with a larger site. These websites are often committed to one purpose, like blogging, and many are free to use. Advantages of using hosted services include the simplicity and ease of getting started, as well as good speeds because you are dealing with a specialised company.
The biggest disadvantages to this technique include the lack over control over a technicality, and a lack of support for things like plugins. Also the portability is an issue, as you are part of a bigger site, and if your popularity rises it is difficult to witch hosts without losing fans and followers.
Whichever type of hosting solution you choose, ensure you go for one that is able to grow with your business.