Choosing the right hosting provider can sometimes feel like you’re searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Especially if you’re not quite sure what options you’re looking for. There are different types of hosting companies, offering different technologies for you to consider. Each of them provides unique features and solutions to your web hosting dilemma.
There’s Shared Hosting, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting. There are hosting providers who do everything for you and those who let you pick and choose the services you think you’ll need. It can get very complicated. If you don’t have an IT professional on staff, some hosting providers can be that staff person for you. If you have a full and experienced IT department full of computer wizards, a high end, hands-on hosting service may fill your needs. So, let’s look at the basics and go from there.
To begin with, you want a hosting company that provides:
- Outstanding 24/7 customer support
- Top-of-the-line security
- Fast page loading
- Technical savvy
- Price points that fit into your budget
- Ability to upgrade services when necessary
When choosing the best hosting company, it helps to create a checklist of what services you need beforehand, and then compare your lists to what the company has to offer. Keep in mind that you need to also plan for your future growth, higher traffic numbers, and more complex technology as your website gains traction.
Hosting Provider Options
Let’s review the three top available options:
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Server Hosting or VPS
- Dedicated Hosting
Each of these hosting options has its own advantages and disadvantages. Each offers a wide range of solutions to choose from. Determining which solution works best is what we’ll examine now.
It’s just what the name suggests. A Shared Hosting company installs your website onto their server, along with up to several thousand other client websites. Each hosting client then shares space with all the other clients, as well as sharing CPU time, disk space, security, and memory.
Shared hosting is likely the most economical type of website hosting company. Because many maintenance tools, updates, security software programs can be purchase in bulk and can be shared across the board, shared hosting reduces your cost of upkeep and maintenance. Plus, you don’t need any technical computer skills. The hosting company handles all the technical aspects including maintenance, upgrades, and security.
With shared hosting, however, you can lack independence from the actions of other website owners. If one website gets hacked, your website might also get hacked, leaving your site vulnerable to whatever the hackers want to accomplish.
Shared Hosting is a great place to start when it comes to bringing a website to life. If you own a small business and don’t expect a great deal of traffic on your website, Shared Hosting offers the most basic set of services for websites.
Virtual Private Server or VPS Hosting
VPS hosting provides virtual server resources on a physical server. Like Shared Hosting, VPS hosting offers you dedicated server space that is shared with other—but not as many—website clients. It reserves a certain number of resources for each client, offering you greater control and the opportunity to customize your services. It is not a “one-server-fits-all hosting company.
VPS mimics a Dedicated Server environment within Shared Server hosting. So, it offers more features, is less expensive than Dedicated Hosting, and it offers your website slightly better security, reliability, and faster page loads.
Because it uses technology partitions for each website client, you will have your own private space with fewer clients using the same hardware at the same time. This makes a VPS perform as if each website has its very own server.
VPS Hosting offers a set of basic resources, but you can add resources easily when needed. Some of the resources and services they offer include:
- Root access
- Isolated environment
- Multiple operating system compatibility
- Backup and Security
- Good Customer Support
Because your website is technologically partitioned with part of the hosting server wholly dedicated just to you, you are completely separated from other website clients. This means your site is much more secure and page load is fast. Plus, VPS hosting can grow as you grow. A scalable hosting service allows you to increase resources and usability, as you gain success and generate more website traffic.
A Virtual Private Server gives you access to more features, more control over your hosting environment, and more dedicated resources than Shared Hosting. If you feel comfortable with your basic technological computer know-how, VPS is a great option for your small to medium sized business.
Again, just as the name implies, Dedicated Hosting means that you are the only website client on a single server dedicated only for your own personal use. You don’t share the server with any other client. You hold the full rights and resources the hosting company offers, allowing you to configure the exact specifications the way you want them. If you expect to drive from 250,000 users to half a million users each month, Dedicated Hosting is for you.
Dedicated hosting provides high performance, and a greater level of security when compared to the two other forms of hosting. Keeping your site’s performance high is one of the most important aspects needed for a successful website. Great website performance provides a positive user experience. It helps to grow SEO rankings, increases traffic and uptime, and it encourages cash flow. Dedicated Hosting makes it much easier to keep your performance level at an optimum level.
You and your IT team have full access to the wide array of settings so that you can customize the server to best suit your needs. Because you can customize the server to meet your exact website specs, your overall performance is usually at 100%. And, you don’t have to worry about security, hackers, viruses, or malware taking your website down.
Dedicated Hosting is essential for large companies that generate a great deal of cash flow via their website. If you expect to drive from 500,000 or more users each month and if you need a high level of website security, Dedicated Hosting is the best choice for you. You will, however, need a computer tech person, a complete technical department staff, or a skilled internet marketing company to update, optimize and maintain the server. And it’s expensive.
Where Do You Start?
So, here’s a sample checklist you can start your hosting provider search with:
- Technical needs.
- Management of site and ease of set-up and use.
- Support services.
- Reliability of service.
- Uptime stats.
- Can you customize the services?
- Price of sign-up and annual renewal.
- Cancellation policy.
When it comes to choosing the right hosting provider for your company website, you need to determine where you are now and where you want to be a year from now. Two years from now. The right choice is essential for your digital online success. You don’t need or want to handle site crashes, slow page loading, security breaches, virus or malware infections, or ineffectual support when you need it the most.
Determine the amount of help you think you’ll need each month. Basic customer service generally begins with providing tickets to report issues, email access, and phone support. Most hosting companies have packages at different levels you can choose from.
Determine your monthly amount of traffic. How much bandwidth or storage will you need? Bandwidth refers to the amount of data transmitted from one place to another over an internet connection in a given amount of time. Bandwidth is often mistaken for internet speed. It’s actually the quantity of information that can be sent over a connection in a measured amount of time or megabytes per minute. If you’re website has been optimized and is now showing on the first page of the Google rankings, you may need more of both bandwidth and storage, because rankings drive more traffic to your site.
A Few Other Things You’ll Need
The online address or URL users type into their browsers to visit your company website. Choose a .com domain that easily identifies your company, what it does, and use it to establish your credibility as a viable business.
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted, secure connection. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. Companies and organizations need to add SSL certificates to their websites to secure online transactions and keep customer information private and secure. This digital certificate encrypts the connection between your company website and the user’s browser, preventing hackers from accessing it.
- Email Accounts
Email accounts are another feature of hosting your domain. There are three main types of email accounts: POP3, forwarding, and aliases. Your host provider should be able to offer you the pros and cons of each type so that you can determine which is best to connect with potential customers quickly and easily.
While this is a basic guide to acquiring the right hosting provider for your company website, it will give you a place to start. Whether you’re a small, local business who wants to join the digital marketing world to increase your visibility, traffic, and cash flow, or you’re a larger company that is trying to determine which path to take as your business grows, choosing the right website hosting provider is essential to your success.