“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.)
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