Some sites can get by on a shared hosting plan, but as your site grows you’ll discover you may require a different hosting solution. But how do you know if you need VPS software or a dedicated server? What about a shared, fully-managed option, or perhaps cloud hosting?
If you’re still shaking your head and asking, “What type of server do I need?” this short guide can help you decide.
Consider Your Options
When choosing 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, including a wide variety of features in your hosting package price. iPage for example offers 75% off the first month of service for new users, as well as money-back guarantee. Others have a basic package with a pricing system for additional features. They might charge extra for features you’d find included with other companies.
Determine the Purpose of Your Site
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 with a clear vision of your site’s purpose. Answer the following questions to determine your needs:
-Why are you building a website: is it for business or fun?
-What kind of site is it: a blog, a portfolio, or maybe an online store?
For example, you may have an online shopping cart which 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, however, your main priorities will include the site builder and templates.
Scalability: Make Room for Growth
Shared Hosting is great for text-based blogs, as these won’t ever cause problems in terms of disk space and bandwidth, even with high traffic. Yet, it is less suitable for a small online store, for example, which may expand quickly and require more space.
VPS is useful for expanding sites and will help you ensure you’ll have enough space as your business grows. However, keep in mind it’s wasteful to pay for all that space before you actually need it.
Cloud Hosting is perfect for a gradually growing business. You can scale up bit by bit without paying for redundant space.
Dedicated Server should be your go-to choice if you’re working with multiple sites, lots of media and traffic, and you have the budget. You’ll never have to worry about disk space again.
The Limit on Unlimited Plans
With all the unlimited space and bandwidth packages out there, you may think anyone who upgrades from shared hosting is crazy. Unfortunately, providers are using the word “unlimited” very liberally.
It’s assumed that 95% of domains on shared hosting have very low requirements, so it isn’t worth capping. In case you go over what they deem to be reasonable usage, they’ll get in touch. So, if you want more than one domain, high storage capacity, video streaming, heavy features, etc. shared hosting is likely a bad fit.
Tech Support You Can Rely On
Many companies offer support 24/7, 365 days a year. Sometimes ticket systems exist to prevent you from contacting the company directly. Some people prefer this method since it prevents waiting in queue. Others prefer to wait but be certain they’ll talk to a person when they get through. The company should 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 leave much room for technical issues.
Add-ons and Applications
In most cases, the type of hosting you select doesn’t 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, etc. You’ll also get an email box with anti-spam software and the capability to create multiple email users on your domain.
Then you have the more technical apps like site analytics and error logs, to help 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. Bluehost, for example, includes unique features like automatic daily account backups and SEO submission standard on all packages.
When in doubt while choosing a server type, go smaller than you need – you can always upgrade. Companies will be glad to help you migrate over to a more expensive option because they’re profiting from it. Even if you have a bottomless budget, dedicated hosting is only worth it if you really need it; it requires a lot of maintenance and could provide more stress than relief.
Want to dig deeper into your hosting options? Check out our comparisons of the top hosting companies.