Once the decision is made, the ability to upgrade without serious site alterations and downtime is almost impossible, which will complicate the task for you in the future. So analyze what the site is created for, and what it will be like in two years. If you plan to expand your online presence greatly, look for the solutions that will suit the future variation of your website. Because if you will add new products and build up your website, a more flexible server with greater scalability will be needed.
Check out what “Unlimited Hosting” really means
“Unlimited” plan is a trick in 99% cases, at least when it comes to web hosting plans. Yes, that’s unfair, but a lot of providers still use this word to attract clients. Even some serious companies with big names resolve to such gimmick, offering an unlimited amount of bandwidth and disk space for unreasonably low sums. If you see an offer that sounds too good, you better not believe it. You already know that any server, a virtual or a physical one, has some certain, restricted amount of RAM, cores, disk space, etc. Imagine how many clients a provider serves, and you will realize that giving away unlimited bandwidth to everyone is simply impossible. It just does not happen.
The worst thing is when a customer’s account is blocked for exceeding disc space quota by their “unlimited” plans. First, it is recommended to backup your site like offline data for such cases. Second, before buying an “unlimited” plan, ask the provider to tell you the clear truth about the actual disk space volume and bandwidth at your disposal.
Differentiate what the types of web hosting are
Luckily, all this issue with unlimited deals concerns shared hosting only. Actually, there are several variants of web hosting out there.
The cheapest and the most widespread type of hosting is shared web hosting. Using one virtual server, a host company places several tens or even hundreds domains on it. And server resources (RAM, processing power, hardware resources, space) are shared between these sites. It can be compared to apartment rent: if you share space, you share the expenses, too. Plan cost is quite low: you can find a variant for a couple of dollars a month.
The problems caused by shared hosting are also similar to apartment lease. If a neighbor above is playing guitar, you can’t sleep. If the neighboring site is experiencing a sudden traffic surge, your site may be slowed down, because the other ones steal bandwidth. The worst thing is when someone leaves the door open, exposing the apartments to burglars – server security breaches create risk of information stealing for every site residing on it.
In this key, dedicated hosting is the opposite. You have the entire server under your control, and all its resources are exclusively yours. First of all, you can run any software and programming packages that you want (PHP, Python, Ruby, etc.), install different applications, and even lease some space to your clients. The cost will be higher, but since you have a lot of RAM, hard drive facilities and processing punch at your disposal, it is totally justified. Are these resources limited? Yes, but you may always expand the possibilities by switching a plan.
But flexibility and control of a dedicated server have a reverse of a coin. While in shared hosting environment all the stuff is backed up, a dedicated server requires your total control and maintenance. Sometimes you also have to manage database, control panel, software and hardware as well as operating system. But server administration can help with all that and always checks the site for downtime and malfunctioning, making sure everything works right. For separate fee, you may ask to have some problems fixed for you on the constant basis.
There is the golden middle between these two solutions. A Virtual private server (VPS) is some kind of mix of dedicated and shared hosting. It features virtualization software and hypervisor that allows every client to have his own virtual server. If allows having your own customized operating system, managing the system from the root, allocating the required resources and performing tasks not possible to complete with shared hosting. From the point of flexibility, it is close to having a dedicated server at half of the price.
The main drawback of VPS hosting is the limit of virtualization. Although you have much more than can be offered by shared hosting plan, technically you stay limited to the resources of the hardware being shared with other customers. So if you select a provider who cannot properly allocate the resources, or pushes too many users on it, hoping that they don’t have potentially resource-hungry resources, your virtual environment still may crap out. If you want trouble-free VPS experience, don’t hesitate to ask the providers how many machines are supported by server.
Cloud hosting is a reasonable alternative to all the above mentioned variants. All the resources, starting from RAM and finishing by web applications are distributed through a number of servers that are used to handle the load. Thus, you won’t face running out of disk space, like it may happen with shared hosting. You don’t have to allocate resources and constantly take care about them as with VPS hosting. And there is no need to upgrade to a bigger solution like a dedicated server. Besides, you have to pay only for the resources you use, which is much cheaper than purchasing the whole brand new package.
But it is not as perfect as it seems. Slow penetration is the biggest disadvantage of cloud servers. Some time should pass before this technology becomes more widespread and affordable.
Learning more about the business from Web Hosting
Not all customer reviews are equally useful. Some have been written by newcomers who have nothing to compare with. Others were created by people who didn’t use even half of the services provided. Mane reviews are posted just to make people click an affiliate link so that to earn subscription commission. Be more attentive to differentiate the posts made in advertisement purposes, and the real customer feedbacks that truly describe performance, customer support and other crucial points. Put Support on a Pedestal
And pay attention to the points and aspects that are most valuable for you. If you don’t know what matters when choosing a provider, here is the list of basic values:
- · Client support service availability. Your website will be opened to visitors 24/7, so should be support service. Technical problems may arise out of a sudden anytime, especially, when a site experiences traffic spike. No matter when issues arise, you should always have means of contacting provider assistants to ask for help. Make sure there are different means of addressing: phone, email, live chat, tickets, etc.
- · Responsiveness of client support service. You can check how responsive the assistants are by performing some sort of tests. Try to contact them different ways to ask the questions you have, and the picture will become much clearer.
- · Resources. Do you prefer figuring thins out for yourself, but sometimes need guidance? Then look for F.A.Q. and other resources catered by a web hosting company for its clients. It may contain the answers for the most frequently asked questions and help you to gp through domain management, e-mail setting up, etc. These resources may come in handy when you don’t have time to wait for the response from the support center.
Probably, the final recommendation is just to find a web hosting company that is convenient to work with. Yes, this process may be confusing and mind-blowing, but it is worth spending time and making your own research. If you find a suitable provider, you won’t have to migrate your site(s) again, which would be even more of headache. Avoid the common mistakes, and even in two, five and ten years you will be still satisfied by the decision made.
The text is written by Inxy.com team. The company provides various web hosting solutions (CDNs, dedicated servers, storage options) and helps on all stages of site hosting (residing, moving, DNS management, connection to servers and networks, software setting up, etc.),