In years gone by, web hosting was a simple decision based on price. You could join a shared hosting plan for less cost or a dedicated server may be the better choice if you have lots of media and traffic, and you have the budget: there really was nothing else to it, money spoke and the decision would be made.
Now, there are additional options that make the once easy decision far more complicated. Not only can you have your own server or join a shared host but you could make use of the rapidly growing cloud hosting services or even Virtual Private Servers (VPS) should you be so inclined.
Confused yet? We certainly were when all this information was handed to us. After a little research, we have compiled a guide to deciding which Web Hosting service is best for you:
What are the Options?
As mentioned; you could stick with the tried and tested shared or dedicated server systems but both are becoming expensive. Dedicated servers may leave you with no concerns over disk space and shared hosting services are great for text based content but the new names in Web Hosting are well worth a look.
VPS offers huge amounts of space with relative immediacy but it can be wasteful to pay for space you may never end up using – more for the big businesses rather than the developing.
Cloud hosting is a great option as you can get started for very little expenditure and then gradually increase your space as you need to – better for gradual increase than huge steps at once.
How to Decide?
Firstly, decide what your website is for. If it is for information only then you won’t need all the additional space that comes with dedicated servers or VPS. The reduced functionality of the website will see images as the most likely candidates to be the largest file – keep it as cost effective as possible and work under low means – Cloud or Shared ideally.
If your website serves a function such as e-commerce or displaying video content, it would be prudent to look into the options offering more space sooner rather than later. Dedicated servers are brilliant for e-commerce as you can expand whenever you need to but they are incredibly costly to set up – VPS offers a similar level of service and is marginally less expensive for the time being.
There no two ways about it with a larger, more complex website – you will have to speculate to accumulate.
The Limits of Unlimited
Yes, unlimited plans have limits too though they are tough to reach. Shared hosting is notorious for putting limitations on their unlimited usage plans so be sure to check the limits and get help assessing your websites likely needs to avoid costly ‘over limit’ charges.
At some point you will need to call in assistance; it is a known fact that things will go wrong at some time. If you opt for a dedicated server, that assistance is unlikely to be available 24:7 as you’ll probably need to employ someone as tech support – not always a great option.
VPS hosting plans generally include tech support, as do shared hosting plans and cloud hosting but they may have restrictive contact times. Always investigate before your invest.
It may seem daunting to try and pick through the options available but remember the one golden rule; if in doubt go for the smaller option because you can always upgrade. You may even receive incentives from the company you opt for by upgrading through them. For once, aim low and work your way up when you need