Choosing a hosting plan can be quite the challenge, especially if you have no prior experience in the field.
The amount of different hosting types, plans and offers appears overwhelming to most. However, it’s time to shed some light on the subject so that you never have to worry about choosing a hosting provider or server type ever again.
In general, you would have to make a choice between the following 3 server types – dedicated servers, shared hosting and virtual private servers, which are commonly abbreviated as VPS.
So without further ado, here is what you need to consider so that you can make the most optimal choice when it comes to selecting a hosting plan.
What is your website about?
The Web is currently populated with many different websites, each being designed with its own, unique identity and having its own purpose.
Some of the most common website types include online stores, also known as the ecommerce industry, as well as websites for service providers, web applications, cultural heritage institutions and personal portfolios that people use to display and showcase their skills and work.
In this early stage, you should make sure to note down what your website is about as that will play a vital role when it comes to the next steps that you need to take.
Additional website factors to consider
Before you can proceed to choosing a server, you need to take a step back and evaluate your website some more. This includes thinking about some additional factors around it. But what exactly do we mean by ‘factors’?
Traffic is probably the most important thing that you need to think about prior to purchasing any hosting plan and server. It refers to the number of visitors that your website gets for a given period of time (usually evaluated daily or monthly). If you are just starting out or you haven’t had your website up and running for a long period of time, this is something that you will need to make a prediction about.
Next, you need to evaluate how much content your website currently has, or will need to host if the site is still in the process of development. This is important as it will signal how much storage you are going to need in order to accommodate all of your website’s content.
If you have or are intending to have, an online store, you would need to choose a hosting plan that will provide you with a server with quite a substantial amount of storage, due to the fact that you will be selling hundreds, maybe even thousands of items and you would want each one to have a number of pictures attached to it so that your customers can view them from different angles.
Types of servers
As we mentioned previously, you will most likely have to choose between dedicated instances, shared hosting and VPS servers. These servers have their own advantages and drawbacks, so here is a basic rundown of what each can offer you in the long run.
Shared hosting is the cheapest option of the lot, but it requires you to share the hosting server’s resources with other websites and applications that are hosted on the same server (hence where its name originates from). This can result in your website becoming slower due to the fact that the server’s resources are being consumed by another user. This is less than ideal as it can result in a negative user experience, which can in turn damage your search engine rankings.
Dedicated servers are on the other side of the spectrum as they are entirely reserved for one user only. However, this also makes them the most expensive option out of all 3. Ultimately, if you have the budget for them, they will always be the best choice.
Virtual private servers combine the best of both worlds. In terms of their price tag, they are actually quite affordable. They use virtualization technology to create a virtual machine with independent resources only for you. Additionally, their main advantage is their ability to scale based on your website’s requirements. This means that you can add resources, including active memory (RAM) and storage (SSD) capacity, to your VPS in order to accommodate large increases in traffic. Removing resources, or downgrading, is also possible and it can save you money as you will essentially not have to pay for resources that you are not using.
How to choose a hosting plan
Once you have defined your website’s main intentions, expected traffic and content volume, and you now have knowledge about the different server options, you can proceed to finally selecting a hosting plan that would fit your needs.
It is recommended to go for a shared hosting plan if you are working on a very tight budget but you still need to get a website on the Web. You should avoid using it if you intend to run an online store, as this hosting type does not have the resource capabilities to operate under a large number of concurrent users. Ultimately, shared hosting can be useful if you are running a portfolio, an information website or a site for a local business.
Dedicated instances’ price makes them unaffordable for most. Due to this, it is recommended to invest into a dedicated server only if you are expecting to have a substantial influx of daily and overall monthly traffic. Large online retail companies, service providers, social networks and ecommerce stores are a perfect example for such high-traffic websites.
Finally, if you are uncertain about your traffic and want to be able to expand or downgrade your server accordingly, a VPS will always be the most optimal choice. This versatility, flexibility and scalability will allow you to operate your server as you see fit.