The following is a Guest Post from Ben of UK2.net Web Hosting. He’s been kind enough to share some insight into the selection of hosting and what level of hosting you need.
One of the hardest parts of being a webmaster is figuring out which type of web hosting you need and when it is time to upgrade. Today I’ll be going over the costs and benefits of shared web hosting,VPS hosting, and dedicated servers. Hopefully this short guide will help you choose the type of hosting you need and explain the pros and cons of each choice a little better.
Shared Web Hosting – $5 to $10 A Month
Shared web hosting is the cheapest option and usually costs around $5 to $10 dollars a month for a basic package. Shared hosting is not designed for websites that are very busy and you have to be careful as you grow to make sure you don’t disrupt the shared environment. For example on a shared hosting server there are usually around 100 people sharing that one server, if one of their sites causes a problem it can cause the entire server to go down. For this reason a hosting provider is pretty careful and if you ever cause a spike in usage they might ask you to upgrade to aVPS or dedicated server. I recommend anyone who is just starting a site to stick with shared web hosting, its an easy way to save some money until you are big enough to justify the cost of aVPS or dedicated server. Many hosts now allow you to host multiple sites which makes it even more cost effective.
VPS Hosting – $25 to $75 A Month
VPS Hosting stands for “Virtual Private Server” and is a cheap way to get dedicated resources for your website. In shared hosting you are sharing the server’s resources with other people but with aVPS you
have your own resources. For the more technically inclined a VPS is like taking one server and dividing it into several virtual servers, you might have four virtual servers running off one physical server. Thebenefits of a VPS are that you have your own resources and don’t have to share with anyone and it is not as expensive as getting a full dedicated server for yourself. The monthly costs of aVPS depend on how powerful you get and range from $25 to $75 or more a month. I recommend you get a VPS if your site is receiving 500 to 1,000 unique visitors a day and using PHP/MySQL or another resource intensive scripting language.
Dedicated Server – $100 to $500 A Month
A dedicated server is the most expensive hosting option and can cost a lot more than what I listed but for a basic server it should cost around $100 to $500 a month. A dedicated server should be used if you have a very busy site or if you are wanting to customize the hosting environment for a site you are making. Right now I have about forty to fifty websites and I put them on a cheap dedicated server just as then I have complete control of the server and know that the only person who could cause a problem on it is me. The main consideration when you get a dedicated servers is whether to get it managed or unmanaged. Managed means the hosting company makes sure its upgrade and running well, while unmanaged means you are responsible for it. I strongly recommend if you are new to get a managed server from a respectable company. It will make it a lot easier in the long run.
How Do I Know When I Should Upgrade?
This is a very hard question to answer and depends on a number of factors. The main factor is the number of visitors to your site and what your site is delivering to them. If you have 1,000 visitors a day to your site and are delivering just static html pages you will be fine on just a shared web hosting package in most cases. If you have 1,000 visitors a day to your site and you are delivering a lot of images, and running it all offPHP and MySQL it might be time to upgrade to a VPS . I will stress that its hard to generalize and often its better to ask in a forum or a hosting company you trust as they can look at your info and tell you their recommendations.
I hope this article will help you find the type of hosting you need and when you should upgrade! I work for the hosting company UK2 and we offer web hosting, ecommerce hosting, and dedicated servers. We are based out of the United Kingdom but also offer servers in the USA.