Image by William Iven
Your website, eCommerce shop or blog needs a hosting to run from. Selecting the right hosting provider and planning for future growth from the start can save a lot of trouble later on, when solving problems and correcting mistakes is much more expensive in terms of reputation, time and money.
Shared hosting is the entry level of hosting service, where everything is managed for you – you get a nice control panel, where you can manage services, install platforms (Content Management Systems, Forums, eCommerce platforms, etc.) with a single click, create and manage email accounts and more. System and platform updates are taken care of on your behalf by the hosting company staff and there usually is extensive documentation and FAQs, as well as human support.
The downside is that multiple sites co-exist on the same server. Selecting a reputable hosting provider is crucial in this scenario, as performance and security problems are much more likely when you have hundreds of user accounts sharing the same resources and IP address. Chances that you will have malicious, badly configured or not updated sites among the say, 800 accounts, running 1000+ sites on the same physical server, are enormous. The people running the service should be top-notch, as this is one of the most challenging services to offer. That’s why, don’t go for the cheapest – they will certainly be oversold.
A managed hosting provider with a very special attitude is SiteGround.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) / Cloud Server
The Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a Cloud Server, as it also commonly referred to, is the next level of hosting. You still get to share the resources of a single server with several other clients, but (1) there are few of them (usually about a dozen or two per server), (2) they are usually much more knowledgeable than the average shared hosting user, (3) the resources (CPU, memory and disk space) are reserved for you and guaranteed, (4) you get a separate IP address, and (5) you get full root access to your server.
The downside is that you get a server to look after – you need to be sysadmin yourself or hire one. Installations, updates, security are your responsibility.
Dedicated server is needed when there are complex workloads and special security requirements. Leased, co-located or on-premise, this option requires that you know the game very well – system and network administration, security, etc.
Extreme loads (think tech giants like Google or Facebook or Amazon) require enormous computing resources, load ballancing and failover capabilities, geographical distribution and a range of challenges that no average website can imagine. Said tech giants operate out of multiple datacenters all over the world.
Disclaimer: links to SiteGround and DigitalOcean include my referral codes, meaning I’ll receive commission if you like their services and subscribe through my website. Even though I have a financial interest in place, I do recommend them in good faith as truly valuable services.
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