Considering a website for your business? You must perform four essential steps:
- Register a domain name (e.g., yourbusiness.com)
- Build your site either by using web content management (WCM) templates available from providers such as WordPress, Shopify, or Joomla or (gasp!) create a proprietary WCM system.
- Produce content for your website using images, text, and eventually applications for your visitors.
- Find a web hosting service.
Let’s say you’ve checked off the first three steps but unsure about the last requisite. What options do you have for hosting your website? Which one should I use?
Web Host Basics
For a monthly or annual fee, a web hosting service provides access to their servers so customers can publish their websites. You don’t have to use a web host but do you want to dedicate and configure your computer as a server? Do you even know how?
Web host servers are more powerful, reliable, and secure than consumer-grade PCs. Host providers use servers with ample bandwidth to simultaneously serve dozens or even hundreds of websites. Most home Internet connections aren’t meant to serve web pages, so your website will take too long to load.
According to Forrester Consulting, “47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less” and “40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site.” If you’re serious about luring and retaining traffic on your website, you need a reliable, high-performance web host.
Moreover, fast load times increase Google’s ranking of your website.
When looking for a service to host your website, you have five choices:
- Shared Hosting: With this arrangement, multiple websites share the resources of a single server connected to the Internet. While this is the most economical choice, suitable for net newbies, shared hosting provides limited storage space and can only support limited web traffic. Other websites on the same server can also affect your site’s performance by “hogging” system resources.
- Dedicated Hosting: Unquestionably the most expensive option, this arrangement assigns all of a server’s resources to your website. Unless you run an enterprise-level business and possess the technical skills needed to provision and maintain a server properly, dedicated hosting is not for you.
- Cloud Hosting: a novel approach to web hosting, cloud hosting is a flexible and cost-effective solution offering easy scalability and ample redundancy. Cloud hosting employs server clusters but generally costs more than VPS hosting, addressed below.
- Self-Managed Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting: Also, cloud-based, self-managed VPS is one of two types of VPS. Suppose you’re confident in your technical skills to configure, manage, and secure your server environment without assistance from the hosting provider. In that case, a self-managed VPS is an economical way to display your digital presence on the web.
Realize, however, that you’re responsible for the success or lack thereof for your website. Enlisting a third-party server management company or adding a sysadmin to your payroll will negate any savings (indeed, costs more than a managed VPS) you realize from self-managed VPS.
Moreover, you’ll also incur upfront software licensing fees for your operating system (OS) or applications such as cPanel.
- Managed VPS: Like a self-managed VPS, a managed VPS hosting solution partitions a separate environment from a physical server, keeping files and bandwidth separate from other users. As with a dedicated server, a managed (and self-managed) VPS provides a website with dedicated system resources and customizable web options.
The difference between managed and self-managed VPS? With a managed VPS, a web host manages and maintains your server environment to ensure performance and security metrics are met. A web host performs all software and hardware installation and updates while you focus on building your business. A self-managed VPS puts the onus of website performance on you alone.
Which VPS Hosting Is Right for You?
For most users, a managed VPS hosting solution is the “Goldilocks” option— affordable yet sufficiently robust, flexible, and scalable to meet your present and future website needs.
Unlike a self-managed VPS, you don’t need specialized technical skills to provide and maintain a managed VPS hosted website. Compared to a shared hosting environment, a managed VPS delivers better web performance, better cybersecurity, and more tools to reach and serve your customers.
A managed VPS is a turnkey solution. Businesses nationwide choose managed VPS to host their company websites. Likely, your organization should, too.