Building your first website can be a daunting task if you never done it before. There is a million things to learn. One of the first things that can cause a challenge is deciding what hosting to get. If you want to build a small website then the answer might be easy. You get a cheap shared hosting or even a free hosting account. If you want to build a larger website that you want to build a business around then the answer might not always be as clear. A part of you might want to try to keep the cost down while another part of you know that you need to do what you can to guarantee the user experience. You know that share hosting might not be enough to provide the user experience you wan to be able to provide. In this post we are going to look a little closer at the alternatives that are available to you.
Shared hosting it the cheapest hosting option available to you. I am ignoring free hosting as free hosting never should be used for a business venture. Shared hosting provide you with an hosting account on a server that you share with a lot of other shared hosting accounts. A single server can host hundreds of accounts. You are given a certain amount of hosting space and a certain number of databases you can use. There are also limits to the amount of server resources your site is allowed to use. If you use more then that your website might become unavailable. If this happens you will need to move it to better hosting. You can often pay the host an extra fee for them to assign more resources to your site to bring it online again. This is however only a temporary solution. Your permanent solution should always be to upgrade your hosting.
The quality of shared hosting can differ greatly between different hosts. Some offer lightning fast hosting while other offer slow hosting on oversold servers. It is important to look for a good host, not a cheap one.
Your account will always share the servers resources if you use shared hosting. The amount of traffic to other sites on the server will affect how fast your site load. If another site has a large traffic spike or if they suffer a DDOS attack then that will affect your site as well and cause it to load slower than normal. You will usually share an IP with other sites if you use shared hosting but it is possible to find a shared hosting that provides a unique IP.
A VPS is a virtual private server. A VPS is more expensive than a dedicated server but it is possible to find a good VPS for around USD 50. If you chose to get a VPS then you will still share a server with other hosting accounts. The number of accounts on the server will however be a lot lower then it is if you get shared hosting. There will usually not be much more than a handful accounts on your server.
An important difference between shared hosting and a VPS is that the shared accounts all share the same resources. A VPS will have a certain amount of resources assigned to it to only be used by the VPS. If your site is not using all resources then they will remain unused until your site need them. Other accounts can not use them. Your site will remain fast even if another account on the server is under heavy load. This allows you to always offer the same fast load times and the same good user experience all the time.
A VPS also give you access to a lot of server settings that allow you to optimize the hosting environment for your site to make sure that it runs as good as possible.
What is the best option
Both shared hosting and a VPS have their benefits. Shared hosting is cheaper and good shared hosting is often enough to be able to provide a good website with a good user experience. A VPS gives you a faster environment that you are able to customize to suit your website. You also get resources that are dedicated to your site and that always will be available.
- If you are building a website to provide information about your business than a good shared hosting is usually enough.
- If you are building an e-commerce store or a website that is going to provide a service that the user has to pay for then I would get a VPS:´. The website is the most important resource the company has and it is worth investing in to make sure you provide the best user experience possible. If you are building a large e-commerce website I would even consider getting a dedicated server.