Whether you’re just starting a brand new website or you’ve got an established and successful site up and running, you’ll need to make sure you are always using the proper web hosting. There are three main categories of web hosting, which are shared hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and dedicated server(s). Within each category, there are several different levels of service to choose from as well.
Before you make any decisions, it is important to have a good understanding of what each of these types of hosting are, and a little bit about how they work. From there, you can evaluate your specific needs based on a variety of factors about your site.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is a service provided by hosting companies where multiple customers host their websites on a single web server. Each customer is given a partition of the server where they can upload their website files, and edit them as needed. The partitions also help to ensure that the different customers can only access their own files, and 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 replacing any parts 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 many benefits to shared hosting, including the following:
For most people, there are only two real downsides to shared hosting. The first is that eventually, your site may ‘outgrow’ the resources offered by the shared server. When this happens, your 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. 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 cross between shared hosting 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, even though in reality they don’t. Another benefit to the VPS is that 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 include:
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 down side is that you may need some level of technical understanding if you want to make specific changes. Of course, you can always request technical support to help you along the way.
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 over how you want the server to operate.
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 is that they can be quite expensive, and that 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:
When you look at the stats of your website, you can get the information 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 people, however, a shared hosting solution is sufficient for their websites. VPS accounts are only really needed for very busy sites, or those where a lot of resource intensive activity is being performed (such as forums or video sharing). Dedicated servers are only needed by 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.