Posted on Feb 27, 2015

How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Plan for your Site

Getting the right hosting plan for your website means getting the right features and enough capacity, while at the same time keeping your costs as low as possible. You can choose from several options. But how do you know which one is right for you? Here are some tips on how to choose the best web hosting plan for your site, from a business and a technical perspective.

Looking at hosting plans can often feel like reading The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer in its original form. It is English. But it is 14th century English – which is challenging to understand. Similarly, many hosting companies think that it’s okay to talk in technical mumbo-jumbo.

So what does the tech speak actually mean, and what are the options?


The Basic Level

Shared hosting is the starting point for most hosting plans. On this service your website will reside on a server (a physical computer) along with many other websites – you share the space. The main benefit of this type of hosting is that the costs are low. The downside is that you share resources as well as space: things like memory and the processor, which can have a direct affect on the performance of your website. For example, if one of the hundreds of websites that are on the server alongside yours starts getting loads of traffic, your website might slow down or even go offline for a period of time.

But for the vast majority of small business websites on the internet shared hosting delivers what they need. This particularly applies if you have a brochure-style website, a blog, a small online shop, or a combination of these things. If your website is bigger though, or it is starting to grow, you will need to consider moving up to the next stages of hosting.


We Need More Power!

You will know this is happening when your IT guys starts to sound like Scotty in Star Trek demanding more power from his ship. You have two main options:

  1. VPS Cloud Servers
  2. Dedicated Servers

VPS cloud servers are the next step up from shared hosting. With this solution your website will still be on a server alongside lots of other websites. But it will have its own specific allocation of resources. You do not get all of the space, memory and processing speed of the server. But you get more than you do when on a shared hosting plan. In addition, it is less likely that a website on the same server as you will cause your website to go offline.

On a dedicated server you get everything as you are the only website on the machine. As a result you get the maximum possible amount of space and performance. Dedicated servers deliver the most benefits, but two main downsides exist:

  • They’re the most expensive option
  • They’re the most difficult to set up and maintain – the maintenance and setup that comes as standard on shared or VPS servers either has to be done by you, or you have to pay more to your host

VPS cloud servers offer a good middle-of-the-road option.


Here’s a Summary

  • Shared hosting – suitable for smaller websites with moderate amounts of traffic, which in reality means quite a lot of the websites on the internet
  • VPS cloud servers – if you run a bigger website, or want to reduce the possibility of your website going offline
  • Dedicated hosting – if you run a really big website, or want more control over how its configured

Other Considerations

But what if you want to use your server to store files that are not part of your website so that employees can access them and collaborate? You can do this on a VPS or dedicated server, but you can’t on a shared plan. On a shared plan you would need to get a separate option for offline files, such as Google Apps for Work.

Also, if you are building a WordPress website, you have another option in addition to the main three. Customized WordPress hosting makes it easy to set up, optimize, secure and test WordPress websites.

Setting up a strong foundation for your website means making sure it performs well – and that it stays secure. Tech speak simplified.