If you run a small business, you know the headaches sometimes involved with website maintenance. You have a lot of decisions to make, and those decisions can greatly affect your business. When it comes to web hosting, you have a few choices so, whether you are just starting out or you've been doing business for a while, it pays to research your options. Your needs might change as your business grows so carefully evaluate your current standing to see whether shared web hosting or something more robust, like VPS hosting, is the best fit.
What is Shared Web Hosting?
Simply put, shared web hosting means that there is one server hosting several different users, besides you. Each business or individual who uses that server will have limits on how much space or resources they can use because everyone is essentially sharing the server's resources. Depending on the amount of monthly traffic you have to your site, the number of emails you need for your business and many other factors, you might find shared web hosting a good fit for your business.
Advantages of Shared Web Hosting
For most small businesses, shared web hosting is a great choice. Because it is shared, the cost is significantly lowerâ€”we're talking the difference of $3 per month compared to $400 per monthâ€”saving your business a lot money when things are already hard enough. The cost of maintaining each machine is spread out between users, and many small businesses do not require anything beyond what shared web hosting offers in terms of space and abilities.
While the low price is the main attraction for many small businesses, there are other advantages to shared web hosting. When you run programs, you won't need to maintain any of the technical settings. Uploading and maintaining your site is easier with shared web hosting, and you have an easy-to-maintain control center for all your needs. Creating email addresses from your domain and uploading your site is relatively easy as a result. You don't have to concern yourself with any of the server maintenance, which is another big advantage and money saving benefit for small businesses.
Disadvantages of Shared Web Hosting
With shared web hosting, there is only one physical machine, or server, that is shared between users. The amount of RAM and CPU available is shared by everyone. Most small businesses might not notice or need more resources than what are offered with shared web hosting, but some growing companies might not appreciate the restrictions to their service. As an example, if one user on the machine takes up more than their fair share of space (whether through large amounts of site traffic or through other means) then you will have fewer resources available to your small business website.
The servers used for shared web hosting are tailored to the average clients' requirements. Therefore, they aren't as customizable as some other web hosting options. You might not be able to run all the scripts you would like to on your site, or install the modules you want because the server is configured for the best situation for the general population, not necessarily a specific need that isn't widely used.
Alternatives to Shared Web Hosting
If your company needs more than what shared web hosting can offer, you might want to consider VPS hosting (virtual private server hosting). Having a private server allows you to receive higher amounts of traffic to your site, and it also lets you add more functionality with your scripts and modules. VPS hosting is more money, but it gives you complete control over your hosting options.
Because it is dedicated solely to your business, a VPS is more reliable as a result. It gives you the ability to customize your technical settings. For users whose businesses rely solely on their websites, a VPS hosting solution might be a better option.
Whether your small business is just getting started, or you're expanding into new markets and taking over your niche, it's important to consider your web hosting and maintenance. Evaluating your needs now can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Jake Neeley is a content marketing and social media geek who loves learning, outdoor sports (especially those in Utah mountains), and time with the fam. Jake suggests visiting www.uk2.net if you would like to find out more about the different advantages to shared and VPS hosting. Connect with Jake on Twitter and LinkedIn.