If you’re reading this, chances are very good that your online business is growing and that shared hosting plan you started with just isn’t cutting it anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with shared hosting, it’s affordable, provides you with what you need, and has served you well. Unfortunately, shared hosting means your website is relying on using shared resources with other websites.
This also means that whatever happens to other websites on the server is completely out of your control and problems can arise. These problems can range from your website running slow due to lack of resources. Or worst-case scenario, the server has to be taken offline because another website on the server has been hacked.
As your online business grows, the one thing you can’t afford is for your website to have problems which can be caused by shared hosting. A slow website that is completely down can mean lost sales and even lost customers. Because the last thing they’ll remember about the website is that it was inaccessible. The last impression of a website is just as important as the first.
Before you spread your wings, this article will cover Cloud Hosting and Geo Hosting. This will help you out with deciding which new server solution is right for you.
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
The basis of cloud hosting comes from cloud computing, which involves many computers working together as one machine. These computers can share resources by working together on projects doing things that just one computer is incapable of. Cloud computing is used to solve complex mathematical formulas for scientific research, and even used to generate special effects in movies.
A few years ago, cloud hosting was introduced based upon the same principal. This involves a collection of servers that are all working together sharing loads and resources. These servers are usually located all over the world, and like shared hosting they allow several websites to share resources. Unlike a shared physical server though, the resources of a cloud host are greater since the load is spread out among several servers.
Cloud hosting services can be very useful for users that have needs such as high scale data transfer, or have a high amount of users across the world. It isn’t uncommon for big companies to use cloud hosting these days to sale and distribute games, movies and music across the Internet. This hosting is right for them because they don’t want to keep their customers waiting on a download. And a happy customer is a returning customer.
Various hosting companies have plans which can scale to your needs. You can pay a flat rate like geo hosting plans, and then only pay extra when you require extra services. These services can range from extra bandwidth during peak load times, or needing extra RAM to run your server with. Extra data transfer costs can sometimes be higher than a geo host though.
Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting
Though cloud hosting is a great option, there are still some disadvantages. Since resources are still being shared, that means that they will be shifted around as well. If other websites that are being shared with yours need some resources, you may find your website being pushed to another state or even country. This in turn could increase the time it takes users to view your website and even cause problems for you when accessing it.
Another issue with cloud hosting involves security. Since there is no industry security standard for cloud hosting just yet, that means there are no established protocols. With no established protocols, it’s really up to the company hosting the cloud to come up with their own guidelines on how to secure the server. Not that the cloud server won’t be secure, it just won’t be as highly secure as your own physical geo server would be.
Even with these drawbacks, cloud hosting can still be right for you if you work on projects that need the resources to reach global users fast, or have projects that involve a heavy data load.
Benefits of Geo Hosting
Now let’s say you have a level load of traffic visiting your website, it doesn’t really peak but it doesn’t really dip either. Geo hosting may be a better choice for you, in fact if you are already using a VPS (virtual private server) or shared hosting, you are already geo hosting. But sharing your resources with others really isn’t cutting it anymore. Most geo host companies can move your shared server account to the next level without there being many issues. Also, they’re able to support SSH (Secure Shell) to help keep your databases secure as you move them to a new server.
A benefit of geo hosting is that you can host your website on your own dedicated server. Dedicated hosting of your website means that you won’t have to share physical resources, such as ram and CPU, with any other websites since the server is fully yours. This can resolve traffic issues and provide a stable server environment that you won’t get on a shared server. Not only that, but your server will be more secure and your clients information will be as secure as well.
Another benefit is that if your business is small, a dedicated geo host will provide shorter load times and better email service at a more level cost. Y ou can choose a server with your physical resource needs, then pay for bandwidth all in an affordable package. This allows your website costs to be predictable and consistent.
Disadvantages of Geo Hosting
As good as having a dedicated geo host may be, there are still some disadvantages that come with it. You’re paying to lease the server from the host company which stays at their data center. You won’t have physical access to it, and its hardware is maintained by their technicians.
Dedicated hosting is much more expensive than shared hosting. The reason for this is that the cost of the server isn’t split up among the various accounts. The cost is completely on you since the server is now only yours. While this may not be a problem for most businesses, this can be an issue for individuals with a lower budget.
Another problem may arise with the administrating tasks of your server. If you go with unmanaged dedicated hosting, that means all the administrating tasks of your server is up to you. You’ll have to access the server remotely, handle your databases, and upgrade the software by yourself. This can eat up your time as you spend it all trying to administer and keep your website going in the background. However, you have the option to hire someone to manage your website, but that’s more money out of your pocket.
Or, you could go with a managed dedicating hosting plan in which the host company helps you manage your server by things such as routine maintenance and software upgrades on their end. But, those packages do cost a lot more than unmanaged dedicated hosting.
Choosing a Host That’s Right for You
If your website has a high variation in its requirements, such as a broad audience, fluctuating server traffic or data loads on an unpredictable schedule, then cloud hosting may be more of a fit for you. With the flexible pricing, you may save more money in the long run.
If your website has a level data load and doesn’t reach as broad of an audience, then dedicated geo hosting may be more for your needs. This allows your local audience to view your website faster, let you send out emails quicker, and can give you comfort that everything on the server is under your control.
Also, be sure to do your research to find a reliable hosting company that has proper technical staff available around the clock, 365 days a year. The best hosting plan won’t mean anything if you can’t get help when problems may arise with your website. The Internet never shuts down, and neither should your website. Customers expect your website to be accessible no matter what time of day it is, and if they can’t visit a website that’s accessible, they will find another one that is.
Now that you know about the advantages and disadvantages of each hosting option, you have to choose which web host is right for you and the growing needs of your business.
Brian Flores is a SEO and blogger for InMotion Hosting, one of the top providers of dedicated servers in the United States. He works with a team of awesome writers to post useful tutorials on WebHostingHelpGuy. You can follow him on Twitter @WHHG_InMotion or @BrianAFlores.