While we are starting a dream new website or we have got an established and successful site up and running well, we’ll need to make sure that we are always using the proper web hosting. There are three main categories of web hosting, they have shared hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and dedicated server(s). In each category, there are several differences of service to choose from as well. Before we make any decisions, it is important to have a good knowledge of what each of these types of hosting is, and how they work. From there, we can evaluate our specific needs based on a variety of factors about our website.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is a service where multiple customers host their websites on a single web server. Every customer gets a partition of the server where they can upload their website files, and edit them as their need. The partitions also ensure that the other customers can only access their own files, not the files of other people on the same server.
The web hosting company will manage the hardware of the server, including monitoring it to ensure there are not any problems, performing any necessary upgrades, and solve in any issues when problems arise. In addition, they will manage the software of the system to ensure the traffic coming into that server is directed to the right website. There are lots of benefits to shared hostings, as like low price, basic technical knowledge, rapid setup, etc.
For most people, there are two real downsides to shared hosting. The first is that eventually, the site may ‘outgrow’ the resources offered by the shared server. When this happens, the site may begin to operate slowly or have other issues. Fortunately, upgrading to a VPS or dedicated server is quite simple. The other downside is that you have limited control over the server itself because you are sharing the resources with other sites. So all the customers are under the same operating system, which means what is done to one customer can have an effect on the others.
What is a Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A VPS is essentially a medium between a shared server and a dedicated server. Several customers will share the same physical hardware, but rather than sharing one operating system, each customer gets their own OS installed.
From the point of view of the customer, it appears as though they have their own dedicated server, but in reality, they don’t. Another benefit is that web hosting companies typically only put a few customers on each physical server (depending on the hardware specs of the server). Since the customer has their own operating system installed on the server, they will enjoy much more control over how it is set up and operates. Some key benefits of a VPS are significantly less expensive than a dedicated server. You have your server control panel so that you can typically install any web application or other software as your need. You also reboot your server anytime you would like.
For many people, the VPS is the perfect solution for running sites that either need more resources, or more control than a typical site normally would. Since you can negotiate the exact technical specs you need, it is possible to operate sites that get a high amount of traffic, while still saving a lot of money. The only potential downside is that you may need some level of technical understanding if you want to make specific changes.
What is a Dedicated Server?
The highest level of web hosting is the dedicated server. With this type of solution, you will essentially be leasing an entire server to run your website. Since you’re not sharing any of the resources with any other customers, you will have full control of how you want the server operates.
Within this category, you can choose from a wide range of different hardware specs based on your specific requirements. Web hosting companies like InterServer have some servers available for rapid deployment, but if you need a custom build, that is often an option as well. You’ll enjoy the following benefits if you choose to go with a dedicated server:
The two biggest problems people have with dedicated servers are that the server can be quite expensive, and you need to have the technical ability to configure and operate it properly. When sites get to the point where they require this type of solution, however, these types of concerns aren’t typically going to cause any issues.
Which One is Right for You?
There are a number of different things to consider when deciding which level of hosting you will need. Some of the most important factors to consider are the following:
- Number of Visitors – Even shared hosting can handle a large number of visitors per day. The issues can come in if the majority of your visitors come in at the same time of the day. Handling thousands of people at a time will cause an overload of shared hosting.
- Number of Database Queries – When it comes to traffic-related hosting issues, most of them are caused by the number of queries the visitors are making. If each page on your site makes multiple queries per visitor, it can get overloaded.
- Database Size – As you add more content to your site, your database will grow bigger. The bigger it gets, the more resources are required to pull each piece of data.
- Number of Items Loaded per Page – Each file that is displayed on your page requires your web hosting server to process the request and serve it. Every picture, video, an audio file, and others require their own requests to the server, so if your pages are graphically intense, for example, it may cause issues.
When you look at the server status of your website, you can get the information and you need to decide what type of server you require. If you’re not familiar with this type of information, you can pull logs and ask the technical team at InterServer to review them and make a recommendation.
For most of the people, at the beginning shared hosting solution is sufficient for their websites. VPS accounts are only really needed for very busy websites or those where a lot of resource-intensive activity is being performed (such as forums or video sharing). Dedicated servers are needed for the largest sites, so unless you are quite sure that this is what you need, the chances are you can go with a shared or VPS solution. No matter which option you choose, always remember that this isn’t a permanent choice. You can upgrade, or downgrade at any time by simply submitting a request to your support team.