The vast majority of online businesses will start with shared hosting. It is a relatively cheap way to start an online business. As the term suggests, shared web hosting involves the sharing of one dedicated server/resources amongst many different accounts. In effect, the host company only has the costs of running one server. In fact, it create income streams from various separate accounts on that server. As a consequence, the cost of shared hosting compared to VPS, dedicated server and Cloud hosting is extremely competitive. However, if your business is successful then at some point you will need to consider an upgrade from shared hosting.
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The options after shared hosting
As we touched on above, there are a number of hosting options when you have effectively outgrown shared hosting. These are:-
- VPS (Virtual Private server)
- Dedicated server
- Cloud hosting
It is rare for companies to jump from shared hosting to a dedicated server. Why? It’s simple. The jump in costs and additional server resources will likely be too much for a small but growing website. Cloud hosting is most certainly an option with the ability to bring together various virtual server resources under one account. However, the vast majority of businesses tend to move from shared hosting to VPS hosting.
We will now take a look at VPS hosting advantages and consider the pros and cons in more detail for those looking to upgrade. For advanced VPS hosting plans check out these hosting services.
What is VPS hosting?
VPS hosting services are delivered by what is in effect a virtual private server. It uses “virtualisation technology” which allows hosting companies to utilise one dedicated server for many different VPS accounts. Each virtual servers runs independently from others on the same physical server and they are highly customisable. This ensures that each VPS account can use its own operating system. What’s more each account is allocated its own resources on the server.
Let’s take a look at six in-depth pros and cons of VPS hosting. After that, we’ll touch on the potential upgrades after you have outgrown VPS hosting services.
As we touched on above, each individual VPS account is effectively a server in its own right. As a consequence, you can use your preferred operating system, install the services you require and add additional security and privacy protection. There is a one click install function which gives you the option to install over 200 custom programs.
Some of these include: WordPress, Joomla, WH and many more. However, due to the complete control you have over the VPS account you are not restricted to the one click install programs.
2. Your own resources
It is not until your website grows to a certain size that you will begin to see performance issues when using shared hosting services. As we mentioned above, shared hosting is based upon the sharing of resources and services on one server. Due to the number of websites hosted on these servers, a sudden spike in traffic can effect your site. The traffic can take away resources from other accounts on the shared server. Negatively impacting the website’s response times. We all know that slow websites are the bane of e-commerce customers. So, if your site does not respond in seconds then a potential customer will look elsewhere.
VPS hosting advantages include, amongst others, a set level of resources and memory allocated specifically to your account.
As a consequence, there will be no “stealing of resources” when other VPS accounts experience spikes in traffic.
This ensures that your website has constant resources and therefore in theory the response/performance times should remain constant, giving you the best opportunity to retain customers and attract new ones.
3. IP addresses
Each piece of equipment connected to the Internet has an IP address which is very similar to a building address. The IP address does not make public who is “operating in the building” but it does give a physical address which is useful for a number of reasons.
Shared hosting servers will have one IP address which is basically allocated to all accounts on that server. Ordinarily, this would not cause an issue. However, if one of the accounts was blacklisted, or perhaps broke any of the new GDPR regulations, this could impact all accounts on that shared server.
Services which effectively regulate the Internet would not just blacklist the domain name in question but the IP address as well.
Therefore, you could be dragged into a situation which had nothing to do with you but could potentially ruin your online business (reputation is everything in the world of e-commerce).
The beauty of VPS hosting is that each VPS account is given a unique IP address. This ensures that individual VPS account holders are only held accountable for issues they have with their own websites. There is no knock-on effect from other VPS accounts located on the same server.
There are a number of factors to take into consideration regarding shared hosting and VPS hosting services in relation to security. All accounts on shared hosting servers will have the same security packages and they will be no degree of customisation. As shared hosting accounts are not isolated to the same extent as VPS accounts, on occasion there may be issues where packets of data become visible to unconnected hosting accounts on the same server. This can become a major issue with regards to private data and there is a need to consider the implications of the new GDPR laws.
On the other hand, VPS hosting services allow each VPS account holder to install their own security programs above and beyond the server options. As a consequence, it is possible to significantly increase security surrounding your website via your web hosting account. This is perfect when it comes to data protection and GDPR laws.
5. VPS Hosting costs
Shared hosting is effectively the entry point for many online start-up businesses but there can be a marked increase in costs associated with shared hosting and VPS accounts. There is often an even bigger difference between the cost of VPS accounts and dedicated server hosting – which makes VPS accounts so attractive. It will depend upon the type of services you require, capacity, etc because there is no set price for VPS hosting services. It is also worth noting the relative degree of flexibility whether looking to upgrade resources with your VPS account. If traffic on your website begins to increase, or even tail off, there is the option to change resource requirements almost immediately. As a consequence, what you pay for your VPS hosting services should reflect your usage.
6. Managed or unmanaged VPS
It is worth noting that the vast majority of VPS hosting accounts come with a managed or unmanaged option. If you have experience in uploading software packages, ensuring maximum security and utilising resources to their full, then an unmanaged VPS account may be the best option. However, there are many online entrepreneurs who prefer to focus on their strengths, e-commerce, and therefore take the managed VPS hosting option.
Managed VPS hosting takes away the task of looking after your VPS account and addressing issues as and when they appear. Many people believe that time is of the essence therefore focusing on their strengths is more cost effective and productive.
Dedicated server hosting and Cloud hosting
There are two other options available, dedicated server hosting and Cloud hosting, which certainly have their attractions for growing businesses. Cloud hosting offers a degree of flexibility in a similar fashion to VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting means that you have a complete physical server to yourself. However, for many growing businesses the next step from shared hosting is a VPS account.
While Cloud hosting is now an option for many businesses, the more traditional route tends to be shared hosting, VPS and then dedicated server hosting. The difference in costs between shared hosting and a dedicated server can be huge. Therefore, VPS hosting services are seen by many as a stepping stone with regards to both resources and cost.
If you eventually move from shared hosting through to VPS and then dedicated server hosting, it is safe to say you have been successful in your business venture!