Choosing the right type of web hosting service is an important decision that’s about more than sheer numbers. Factors that go into selecting the right host include staff time to manage web hosting, staff familiarity with elements of server administration, website needs and size and scalability of the platform. Familiarize yourself with common hosting models before you select an approach.
If you run an e-commerce site, you should prioritize availability. Every minute that your website is down represents missed potential revenue from sales. Managed hosting offers nearly 100 percent uptime, a secure infrastructure and responsive IT staff should problems arise. This does not come cheap, but managed hosting makes a smart investment for companies with mission critical web needs. Since the host owns the server, data center and network — and provides equipment maintenance — you save on high equipment costs and can get started right away.
With a dedicated hosting model, you lease dedicated and pre-configured equipment from the host, essentially getting your own server to run your website. The host retains network administration control, but you assume responsibility for server administration and IT support. This model offers more flexibility than managed hosting and less of a start-up cost than models that require infrastructure investment, but you will need someone on staff to manage the server. Initial costs for this model can be high, which may put dedicated hosting out of startup range.
Cloud hosting offers scalability, which makes sense for growing companies or seasonal businesses that have peak and off times. In terms of cost, you pay for what you need. If you suddenly need more server space, rates go up; scale down during off season and you pay the lower rate. Monitoring, reporting and analysis tools change to meet your needs too. Since cloud hosting is fairly new, you’ll want to take the time to find a provider with a proven track record.
Shared hosting is inexpensive, which makes it ideal for the business that needs to get started right away and doesn’t have financial resources. You’ll share a server with other websites on a shared hosting plan. Start-up expenses are low since you won’t need to pay for infrastructure. Reporting and monitoring services tend to be basic. Shared hosting may be a nice place to start out, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of scalability. Find out site size, amount of bandwidth and other information before committing to this plan. This isn’t a good option if you have a lot of traffic, though, because you’re sharing all of the physical resources of the computer as well as bandwidth with everyone else on the same machine.
Determine what your real needs and assets are before choosing the right Web hosting plan. Sure, you can switch from one type of hosting to another but that takes time and skill to migrate data. By prioritizing your needs and keeping your budget in mind, you can find a hosting model that meets your needs, gives you room to grow and does not exceed your budget or your resources.