When Web Hosting is More Than Server Space

Sometimes, A Website Needs More Than Just Space

Many companies are learning this the hard way.  As web traffic grows, the limitations of a “basic” or “shared” web hosting plan become painfully obvious.  Slow response times, errors, and outright shut-offs are some of the things we hear from clients.  Have you planned for the kind of growth that you’re hoping for?  This post should help you understand the different types of web hosting plans and what to look for in a provider.

Option 1: Shared Web Hosting

In most cases, this is as cheap as it gets. Your website is handed over to the hosting provider who puts it on a server with a large number of other small, relatively inactive sites. This works very well for simple, static websites that don’t make extensive use of server-side resources (php, asp, or other scripting). Usually you can get a database with these plans, but your site will only be given limited resources on the host machine.

The upside is simplicity and low cost.

The downside is that these web hosting plans usually come with a shut-off provision if your site consumes too much of the host resources.  If you get a sudden spike in traffic, your provider may just turn off your website (automatically). In addition, these plans usually are not set up to perform well under load.  This can be anywhere from inconvenient to disastrous depending on the situation.  Imagine that you have just launched a major marketing campaign or email blast that brought thousands of visitors to your site. That would be about the worst time possible for your site to grind to a halt.

Option 2: VPS (Virtual Private Server) Web Hosting

Much more robust, consistent and reliable than shared hosting, the VPS option can be ideal for many sites.  In most cases, you will need to set up and tune your own server. Many website owners don’t have the technical skills or experience to do this well.  In most cases, though, this type of setup is more expensive and more reliable than a shared hosting plan. “Cloud” hosting is functionally the same as VPS hosting.

Upside: Reliable, Higher Performance than Shared, Reasonable Cost

Downside: Server Admin and Tuning skills required to get the most out of a VPS solution.

Option 3: Dedicated Web Hosting Hardware

The ultimate in flexibility and poser, but dedicated hardware comes at significant cost.  In this case, the server is all yours, and with that comes great responsibility.  If a component fails (hard drive, etc), it usually will result in an outage.  If you need more power, it will require hardware upgrades or a server swap.  To reduce downtime, these configurations can get complex, involving multiple servers, load balancers and firewalls.  It is common for an entry-level dedicated solution to start around $500 per month.

Upside: Control, Performance

Downside: Cost, Complexity

Option 4: A Managed Service Provider

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: The Pitch.  We have been doing this web hosting thing for a long time now (more than a decade).  We’ve had stacks of dedicated servers, and clouds full of VPSs.  We’ve tweaked and tuned hardware and software configurations to squeeze maximum value from minimal hardware, and we think we have it pretty well figured out.

If you can’t stand the idea of your website being shut off by a shared hosting provider, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of running your own server, we have a solution for you.  We offer performance that is often better than dedicated, at a price competitive with VPS, with the simplicity of shared.  Not only do you get the best of all worlds, but you have 24×7 monitoring and someone to back you up when you need it.  We’re not only a web hosting provider, we are developers and administrators who can resolve problems and tune your application and database to run as efficiently as possible.

If you’re sick of your web host, or just want to get started on the right foot with a hosting provider you can rely on for straight-talk and exceptional support, contact us for a free evaluation of your web hosting needs.

About Steve Szettella

Love to Jeep, Ski, Golf, and Travel. Living near Boulder Colorado. Founder and president of 4word Systems - among other things.

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