Once you decide to launch your website, the next step perhaps is choosing the right web host.
Which type of hosting service must you go for?
There are a few important things that you must firm up.
- Understanding your hosting requirements.
- Making a check on which hosting vendors are reliable with industry standard guarantees.
- Getting a grasp on the packages offered with hosting features. It would be ideal if the hosting vendor provides at least one extra domain in addition to the primary one.
- Making a check on the vendor’s past performances.
- Technical support capabilities. Keep in mind that all hosting vendors do not have the wherewithal to staff a 24 hour help desk. Ideally, for business needs, you need 24 x 7 phone support, because you would not want to be saddled by issues that would negatively impact your business.
It is also important for you to decide whether the vendor must take up email hosting.
If your business needs are vigorous, putting up an email infrastructure is not a cake walk. You have to plan for a redundant server each covering the other so that your email system is always up and running.
In such a scenario, if the vendor also offers email hosting it will lighten your burden a great deal.
In a nutshell, the web hosting company must stand by you.
The vendor must be able to handle all of your business hosting needs without a hitch. It must have invested sufficiently in technology so that they are PCI compliant, with advanced DDoS protection. After all you would not like to compromise on anything less than 99.99% uptime guarantee.
On choosing the best hosting platform, shared, VPS or Dedicated
It is no brainer that a new entrepreneur will like to start off with the cheapest hosting plan. Shared hosting by far is the most cost effective answer for any businessperson.
A few good vendors even offer 100% uptime SLA, with promise of excellent server speeds and top class website performance.
Yet, shared hosting has its limitations. You have to make do with usage limits, shared bandwidth and regulated admin features.
With site visitors increasing, even a seemingly robust shared plan will be found wanting.
Let us visualize what may happen.
Most web users expect a page to load in a jiffy. Even a tad delay can mean abandoning the site. This is something you would not like to see at any price.
Remember, in a shared hosting plan your website is hosted on a shared server, where several other entities are sharing resources.
"It is always a risk", says a young entrepreneur. "With shared hosting there are high chances you can be attacked by hackers".
The entrepreneur is right on target. A suspicious activity on any part of the server can mean all websites are under threat.
A scenario that is not pretty for a booming business
In such cases an upgrade to VPS can make sense. With VPS, or virtual private server you get a dedicated segment of a robust and powerful server. The vendor allocates specific amount of resources especially for you. This translates to the following benefits.
- You can choose a plan customized to your business needs, so that you need not bother with features which are not suited to you.
- You experience more control on your server than what you can with shared hosting. The vendor will offer root access and scripts use, something typically not available with a shared hosting plan.
- You may even get a limited managed hosting plan wherein the vendor handles many of the hosting issues. The VPS provider can offer tools included in the Managed VPS hosting plan that will enable you to setup software including CMS solutions.
Yet, VPS is not without its share of drawbacks.
- You get limited resources. It is way less than what you can experience in dedicated hosting. It is true you are allotted with dedicated packages; even then you share the resources in the physical server.
- Requires technical expertise. Unless you have a managed hosting plan, handling software patches, installing software, and maintaining the server is still your responsibility. It can be a pain for you to maintain the operating system and ensure optimum uptime.
- A virtual server despite its edge over shared server may still not be able to manage unexpected traffic spikes.
Upgrading to dedicated hosting
A time can arise when your business is booming and you will need more hosting resources to keep pace with the spike in traffic.
An upgrade from VPS will mean switching over to a dedicated server plan. A dedicated server is best suited to a business that runs mission critical applications and workloads.
In technical parlance, dedicated server means rental and exclusive use of a web server, associated software, and internet connection from the hosting provider’s premises.
Yes, it is the most expensive of the lot, but if your business requires it, the benefits can far outweigh the initial higher expenses.