Coming to Terms with Business Web Hosting: A Handy Glossary

Published June 12th, 2014 by Michael Farin

“Just the facts, ma’am.” Your business storefront needs the right type of web hosting environment in order to succeed, so you should know what you’re looking for.

Business Web Hosting: Terms You Should Know

Shared hosting: Typically the least expensive type of web hosting. Multiple sites are hosted on a single server, and all users share the server’s resources. But beware: Companies that crowd too many sites on a single server are trouble. (Looking at you, GoDaddy and HostGator.) When there are hundreds of sites on a server, you’re much more likely to experience slow load times and security breaches. So choose a shared hosting option that hosts only a few sites per server – and provides comprehensive IT and security services as part of the package.

Dedicated hosting: The most expensive type of web hosting. Each site gets its own server – including full access to all the server bandwidth and resources. As you can imagine, this option is insanely powerful. However, it’s designed for large e-commerce platforms and other traffic-heavy sites. Unless your business has a massive website, a dedicated server may not be cost-effective.

VPS hosting: “Virtual private servers” claim to give you the benefits of a dedicated server without the cost – but they’re really not the best option available. You’ll get better speed, performance and security if you opt for a shared performance metal server instead. (You can read more about bare metal servers here.)

Managed hosting: The way to go if you want to make sure all your IT, support and security bases are covered. A managed hosting provider does it all: support, service, troubleshooting, updates, upgrades, security, optimization and backups – leaving you free to focus on running your business. Managed hosting costs a little more on the front end, but you save a lot of money in the long run by avoiding out-of-pocket service and IT costs.

Bandwidth: The available space and capabilities on the server. When you’re shopping for a hosting solution, make sure you pick one with enough bandwidth to handle your requirements – including unexpected traffic spikes and peak periods.

Storage capacity: The server’s capacity for data. Don’t forget, many site will grow, expand and add more files and information over time – so choose a hosting provider that can handle data increases if necessary. (Which brings us to....)

Scalability: The hosting provider’s ability to scale up (or down) with your business. Make sure you’ve contracted with a web host that can quickly and easily transfer your site to a different hosting environment if you need more RAM, CPUs, storage space or other resources.

E-Commerce: Online store platforms, like Magento and OsCommerce. If you’re planning on opening an e-commerce site, you should do some serious “shopping” and find a hosting provider with specialized experience in running and managing e-commerce platforms. (Magento, in particular, takes a lot of extra loving care.)

For more information on choosing a hosting provider and spotting fake hosting reviews, you can read our articles here.

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