How to Choose Hosting
The webhosting services have turned into crucial part of people’s lives and business. The development of the Internet had led to a huge increase of the hosting business. Nowadays you can hardly find any serious company which don’t have their own website. But there are still companies which don’t have enough Internet presence to allow them to grow rapidly. I am sure that this will change soon. In order for you to have a visible website which the internet users can visit 24/7, you need a reliable hosting service. The term comes from the word “host” which means to host – meaning that this is a service which provides space for websites, so that they can work.
Online shopping had developed a lot and people prefer to shop from their phone, rather than wasting time in going to the shops; the need of hosting for the companies had turned into something vital like electricity or water. If you don’t have a website, you waste the opportunity to communicate with a lot of potential customers for your service and this leads to waste of sales. That is why you need webhosting – so that you can have a website and make sales.
In this article I want to explain the opportunities you have on the hosting market. Some of them are good, others – not so much. That is why it is important to know what you want to achieve with your website, how important it is for you. What hosting solution would be the most suitable and effective one for your needs depends on that. Choosing the wrong hosting plan will lead to difficulties in managing the website, as well as your online business.
The hosting services are mainly separated into two types:
- Shared hosting
- Hosting on your own server
Each one of these hosting types has its purpose. Later in the article I will describe in detail the two types of hosting: their advantages and disadvantages. This will give you the opportunity to make the right choice, when it comes to the moment when you need to choose the right solution for your website. Don’t worry if you make a wrong choice, you can always change the hosting provider and this procedure isn’t complicated, meaning that the wrong choice can be changed. This doesn’t mean that you should make a wrong choice, of course. The best thing is not to make wrong choices, and to choose the right hosting solution for your website, so that you can save your time, nerves and effort. Continue reading to understand what each of the above mentioned types of hosting service means. Each one of them has their own purpose and their own place under the sun.
First, I want to mention that the shared hosting also has its types. Each one of them has their own purpose, advantages and disadvantages. I will explain in detail what each one of them is, so that it can be clear for you which one to choose, in case you want to use shared hosting.
Traditional shared hosting
This is a hosting solution in which many clients and websites use the resources of one server. This means that each of these websites gets a certain amount of resources and traffic. That way the server is shared among all the websites. This is the most popular hosting solution in the world and most of the websites use it. The reason is only one – the price.
The shared hosting allows hosting companies to add many websites on one server, so that they can get a lot of money. Often companies add more websites than the server can handle. This leads to overusing the server resources and slow loading speed for the websites. With shared hosting you need to know that your website is on the same server with thousands of other websites, and it will depend on them. By “depend” I mean that anytime one of the other websites can disturb the server performance and this will affect your own website. I won’t tell you any other details regarding the pros and cons of shared hosting because at the beginning I want to explain each of these types of hosting plans, so that you can understand how do they work and in the end I will explain the advantages and disadvantages of this type of hosting.
The traditional shared hosting allows each standard website to be functional without any specific requirements. It is suitable only for small websites which are not that popular or important. The shared hosting is not a good choice for important websites because of the downsides of the technology, as well as its way of work. Nevertheless you get cheap hosting solution which includes the management of the server, which is handled by the service provider; he is responsible for checking the server and helping you, in case there is a problem with the service.
With traditional shared hosting you get access to a certain control panel from where you can manage your account. From there, you can add or delete emails, domains, subdomains, databases and to check the website visitors statistics.
Shared hosting is NOT suitable for you if:
- You have high requirements for the security and information that you keep
- You want a guarantee that all of the emails sent by you, will be delivered
- You want your website to load fast 24 hours per day
- You have a website which is popular and it needs a lot of server resources in order to work properly
- You want a certain software to be installed
The reseller hosting is a service which has the same technical functions as the traditional shared hosting. All of the things that I mentioned for the shared hosting apply to the reseller hosting. The only difference is the purpose of usage.
The purpose of this type of hosting is to resell webhosting and to manage easily more hosting accounts. Reseller hosting works in the following way: the reseller hosting allows each person to start their own hosting business without investing a lot of money. The price of reseller plans start from $6.95 per month and you can make ten times more than that, just by reselling hosting plans to 3rd parties. There are a lot of small hosting companies that sell services by using reseller hosting packages. When they fill in one reseller plan, they purchase another and activate the new shared plans on it until they fill this reseller package, and they purchase another one.
With reseller hosting you get access to the administrative control panel from where you manage the service. From there, you can create hosting plans and you can decide what amount of resources each one of them to get – space, traffic, amount of domains hosted, emails and databases. Once you have done this, you can choose different prices for your plans, depending on the amount of resources they get and you can start selling them. From the administrative panel you can manage the accounts of your clients, and they get separate control panel from where they can manage their own accounts.
The other important usage of reseller hosting is for easier management of many websites. It is used mostly by web designers and companies for website development. The reseller hosting allows them to offer complex service to their clients – from creating the website to its management and hosting. That way the client gets everything in one place, pays one provider and the web designer company can make more profit.
Shared cloud hosting
The shared cloud hosting is a service that is available on the market for a couple of years now, and it is the newest type of hosting service. Its appearance came shortly after the appearance of cloud services and cloud servers. The shared cloud hosting has almost the same features as the regular shared hosting, with a few exceptions. The exceptions come from the type of the server on which the service is hosted, as well as its way of operating. The shared cloud hosting is more reliable due to the fact that it uses cloud servers. Usually the cloud servers are a part of one big cloud cluster with many servers, which is configured to provide high stability. This means that every level of cloud server has a double level of security, so that if a component breaks the service can continue functioning. There are, however, hosting services that are not reliable and the providers of such services often hide that fact. That is why it is important to ask if the hosting solution that you are about to purchase is a cloud service with a lot of stability, which has double security level – disk spaces, power supply, connectivity, and the opportunity to start a cloud server from another server in the cluster, in just a few minutes (hot-migrate).
One of the important things that you should look for in a cloud service, is if it uses SSD. This is essential for the speed of the server and the loading time of the website. With cloud hosting the data is saved in the central data storages which are maintained via fast data network (SAN – Storage Area Network). There, the density is really strong, and that is why it is really important for the disks to be fast enough, otherwise the whole cloud will run slowly. You need to know that if your website is loading slowly, your visitors will not stay long on it, they will leave your website and you will lose sales.
Shared cloud hosting is a bit more expensive than the regular one, but you get more reliability for your money. Speed is questionable because choosing a SSD cloud hosting plan does not mean that your website will have faster loading time. It can load fast on SATA disk shared hosting, as well as on SSD cloud hosting, in case the website is developed well and the server is not overloaded. If you want to know more about this, please check my article “Why is your website loading slowly?”
Hosting on your own server
I won’t hide that using your own server is the best solution known to mankind, at this stage of the internet development. Just like with the shared hosting, there are also some types of hosting on your own server. I will explain in detail each one of them and then I will describe the advantages and disadvantages of this hosting solution. In the world only a smaller part of the websites are hosted on a privately owned server, these are the big and popular websites whose owners won’t compromise with their security or quality.
Hosting on a dedicated server
This is a type of hosting solution, where the owner of the website hires a server and pays a rent for using it. The hosting company that provides the server manages the hardware of the server and changes every component when it turns out to be faulty. The user can hire a managed server so that the hosting provider will take care of the hardware, as well as the software which is installed on the server, the provider will also monitor the server 24/7 and will act fast if there is an issue. The dedicated server will allow you to use all of its resources, you are the only user and no one else can affect the performance of the server. And here comes the biggest disadvantage – the price. This is the most expensive hosting solution because you pay for the whole server and you get all of the resources, no matter how much you actually use. With a dedicated server you get the whole physical server and you can use it however you prefer.
The choice of a dedicated server and its configuration are really important. In order to choose the right server configuration, you would need an advice from the hosting provider from which you are going to hire the server. Depending on the visits of the website, they can offer a suitable configuration which can maintain the bandwidth and it can guarantee reliable server performance, without disk burn issues – the last one is really important. I wouldn’t recommend getting a server without RAID, as it will allow the server to keep working without data loss, when some of the disks gets broken. The disks are the most easily broken components of the dedicated servers, and that is why having RAID is a must.
Collocation is a service which allows you to hire a space in a datacenter so that you can use it to collocate an equipment (one or more servers, network equipment). The equipment that you collocate in the datacenter is purchased and owned by you. With this decision, the datacenter is responsible for the building, conditioning, the continuity of the power supply and, in some cases, the continuity of the network. This depends on your contract with the datacenter. With this kind of service you are responsible for the management of the servers: both the hardware and the software. This means that if one of the components is faulty, you would need to change it and pay for it. This means having certain components in stock – disks, supplies, etc. They are easily broken, however it is possible that a processor or a motherboard can get broken too. That is why the best solution would be to have a backup server with which you can replace the broken one, if needed. This makes this work model unprofitable, especially if you only have 1-2 servers. Financially this model starts to get profitable if you have more than 5-8 servers.
The collocation is a hosting solution which is used from bigger companies with a lot of servers. The hosting companies, especially the bigger ones, use this method because it is the most effective one for them – cheaper than hiring servers or building their own datacenter, where the initial investment is a big one.
Hosting on a virtual private server (VPS)
The virtual servers became really popular in the last 8-10 years. With every year the prices of the virtual servers go down and they become more affordable to the users. VPS hosting is the best solution for every website because it provides the security and functionality of the dedicated server, but at a much lower price. That is because with this hosting the resources are shared among a couple of virtual servers, so the user pays as much resources as he needs. The VPS allows full access to the OS, just like with the dedicated server. This allows the user to setup the server software according to his own requirements, so that he can manage and protect the data saved on it. The VPS resembles the shared hosting because the resources of a server are used simultaneously by a couple of users, but there is one major difference. With the shared hosting the separation of the resources happens within one OS whereas with the VPS each user can get a separate OS with separate resources just for it. There is a big difference because in one OS the resources among the users cannot be separated effectively. There is always the moment when a user affects the performance of the whole server and disturbs its work which affects all other websites. This cannot happen with VPS with correctly setup virtualization software. Virtualization such as KVM allows the resources to be effectively separated, so that one VPS cannot disturb another one, despite using the same physical machine.
The virtual servers can also be separated into types:
Traditional virtual servers without high reliability – with this type of servers one physical machine is used on which depends the delivery of all system resources to the virtual servers which are started on it. If the disk array is faulty all of the virtual servers will stop working until the problem gets resolved. This can take from a few hours to 1-2 days, depending on the data that needs to be restored.
Virtual servers with high reliability – these are virtual servers, part of the cloud infrastructure, in which the disk resources are delivered to the physical servers (hypervisors) via a separate network used only for disk operations (SAN – Storage Area Network). The central disk storages or SAN servers differentiate with double security on each level, so that if a defect occurs, there will be no disturbance of the service. The virtual servers with high reliability are the most modern and reliable solution which you can choose nowadays for the hosting of your website. If a hardware problem occurs, with the physical machine from which you get hardware resources, the virtual server may be started literally within minutes, from another physical machine. This is possible thanks to the central disk storages which are available for every physical server in the cloud cluster. This technology is used by some of the most popular sites and companies in the whole world. They are associated not only with security and reliability, but also with its efficiency because it allows you to pay for as much resources as you use, and in the meantime to be able to upgrade/downgrade the system resources of your virtual server anytime of the day. Adding more resources to the dedicated server requires physical work. With cloud hosting this process is automatic.
The virtual servers, and most importantly the cloud virtual servers, became really popular and they are the most used hosting solution to which users migrate constantly. They are the newest and most effective discovery of humankind in the sphere of hosting services. All of the big hosting companies use partially or fully cloud services.
Advantages and disadvantages:
This is the final part where we will weigh up the pros and cons of the different types of hosting services. We will mention the cases in which they are suitable and the cases in which they are not suitable. They will be useful when it comes to choosing a hosting solution for your website. I will empathize on the main advantages and disadvantages, so that it will be easier to make the right decision.
- Low price
- Management of the server is included
- No need to manage the hardware
Lack of high level of security – with the shared hosting on a single server there are thousands of websites. Each one of them can be compromised due to the usage of an easy to guess password and due to not up-to-date scripts. This provides the hacker with an easy access to the server on which your data is stored. With local access to the server it is easier for the hacker to compromise sites on it, rather than doing it remotely. By using shared hosting server the security of your website and information depend on the security of the other websites that are using your server.
Risk of blocking your communication – with shared hosting all of the websites on the server use the same IP to send emails. When one of the websites is compromised and used to send spam, the IP of the server gets into the spam filters and your messages are blocked. Because of this, they get either in the spam folders of the recipients or they don’t get delivered at all.
Lack of guaranteed resources – shared hosting can guarantee a small amount of system resources which will always be available for your website. Anytime one of the sites on the server can overuse it and disturb its performance. Thanks to this your website will start loading slowly or not loading at all.
Shared hosting is the cheapest hosting solution for websites for which security is not that important. The service can be used for hosting of blogs, forums, and sites that don’t contain personal information – names, emails, credit card details, etc. The shared hosting is a solution which is reliable for hosting smaller websites. For bigger websites you need your own server.
Dedicated server hosting
High level of security – this is the hosting solution which will bring the highest level of security for your website and the information that you keep. The dedicated server will let you setup and configure it, according to your requirements and especially for your website. Additionally, you will be the only user using its resources. The security of your website depends solely on you. No one else can make any harm with his activity or inactivity. If every website had its own server, the internet would be a much safer place with less spam and compromised websites.
Guaranteed email delivery – by using your own server you will get your own IP address from which the emails will be sent. That way your IP will never get blocked and your emails will always be delivered to their recipients.
Guaranteed system resources – the dedicated server guarantees that anytime you want, you can always use its capacity by 100%. This means that your website will load equally fast 24 hours. This is very important, especially when you have a website by which you make sales, because it is established that most of the visitors quit the websites when they load for more than 3 seconds. With a dedicated server you have the guarantee that the resources which you hired will always be available.
No limits – with shared hosting the sites have limitations regarding different indicators, such as processor time, operative memory, number of files, size of files, database size, etc. With a dedicated server there are no limits and the user can use the whole amount of resources without any limitations.
More expensive than the shared hosting
The dedicated server is the best hosting solution for your website. With a dedicated server you can have everything you want for your website. It can be setup and configured according to your websites needs. It guarantees that your website will load fast 24/7 and no one else will have the chance to stop this from happening. With shared hosting you depend on thousands of other websites and they can disturb the performance of your website anytime, or to lead to having your IP blocked. You will lose visitors and sales.
How can I have my own server at a reasonable price?
In the past having your own server was luxury. That is why most of the websites use shared hosting and just some of them are running on their own servers. The difference in the price was so big that the users couldn’t afford their own server. That has changed. From 2 years on, Scala Hosting is working on creating a service that can allow each owner of a website to have his own SSD cloud server, with full management included, control panel and daily backups, at a reasonable price – close to the one of the shared hosting. On 24th of May 2018 the service was announced globally.
Scala Hosting takes care of the management and security of the server 24/7. The user takes care only of his website. In order to save the users $30 for a control panel, we created our own control panel Scala panel, which is fully compatible with cPanel, and we included it for free with every server. That way every website which works on a server with cPanel will also work on a server with Scala panel. More about Scala Hosting and the launch of this new service can be read at https://www.hostingadvice.com/blog/scala-ssd-cloud-servers-deliver-site-security-and-simple-management where the CEO of Scala Hosting, Vince Robison, was interviewed by Sean Garrity from HostingAdvice.
Below you can see pictures of the control panel, so that you can see how it looks like.
Don’t risk the security of your information. Switch to your own server.