Choosing the right hosting plan
There are many different types of hosting and depending on your needs and skills it will change the hosting you choose. You will see words like:
VPS, Shared, Web Hosting, Dedicated, Managed
Some will include email, SSL, backups, and automation and others won’t.
VPS – Virtual Private Server
These are the cloud equivalent of buying a part of a Machine, the machine(s) will be running a specialised Operating System, that divides the actual machine into Virtual Machines, of which you will be buying one. Some things to look out for here are:
1) Memory and CPU is not necessarily dedicated to you and could be shared with other VPS’s
2) You will often need to manage the machine (updates etc) yourself even with a control panel this can be complex.
You will get a “chunk” of resources with no pretence of it being “your server”, sometimes the resources have set limits (operations per second/hits per second/etc). You will not be able to install anything other than websites using the services offered by the Hosting provided (ie if the shared host offers one type of database and your website needs an alternative you will be out of luck and have to choose another provider). You will not need to manage anything except your website content.
This could either be a dedicated version of the VPS where all resources are ring-fenced to your VPS or it could even be an actual machine in a server room somewhere, it has many of the same benefits and limitations of the VPS above.
This will be either a VPS or a dedicated machine but includes management of the server so you don’t have to undertake updates, they will be monitoring to ensure the server is up and proactively fixing issues.
These services will include backups or have the backup functionality as an optional extra, the level of backup will be dependent on the service chosen.
Things to be aware of
Anything “Shared”, could be memory, CPU, or Database server (if the DB server is provided off of your server). When sharing resources you are then dependent on the other users of the resources, if they start using their maximum resources your site could start to crawl and there wouldn’t be a lot you can do.
Email included – Often when email is included, it’s stored on your server, email inboxes/outboxes can get very big very quickly, filling up your storage which will often cause issues with the website hosting. Large numbers of incoming SPAM needing to be processed can be using your server resources as well again slowing down your website.
CMS Management – Most websites will be using a CMS (Content Management System) of some sort (ie WordPress, Joomla, Magento, etc), these systems need regular maintenance (system updates, plugin updates). Some of the hosting services offer automated updates, if they do not offer a pre-update backup be very careful about turning this on, and do remember that you still need to verify that everything still works after those auto-updates happen.
There are many other features available that allow you to speed up your site, backup your site and many other things that may be of advantage to you.
So Which do I choose?
If you are still not sure give us a call and we can take a look at your website and requirements and get you set up with the right plan!