One of the many advantages of the World Wide Web is that it offers a well-suited ecosystem where you can create, develop and scale any type of web project. The barriers to entry to owning a website have become more and more surmountable over the years. So much so that today more than 1.7 billion sites exist, inhabiting their small part of the Internet. This is largely thanks to web hosting.
Web hosting in a nutshell
Hosting is an integral service for any webmaster, experienced or not. You essentially rent server space and system resources to create and feed various web projects. Plus, since you share the server with many other users, everyone shares the costs equally, making service a great first step when you’re on a tight budget.
Initially, many people choose Shared hosting as the most affordable solution with enough features to meet the needs of a simple website. This isn’t much of a surprise, considering that most sites can easily fit on a small account, in terms of space.
Yet, when you run a business, you want to establish and maintain a flawless branding image. With shared hosting comes with inherent issues, it’s rarely the most optimal solution for businesses, at least in the long run.
Here are some of the ways shared hosting can kill your business.
Bad neighbors and overselling
Shared hosting users often suffer from two very common effects of shared hosting: bad neighbors and oversold servers.
When you opt for such a service, your account gets a certain amount of CPU power, RAM, disk space, bandwidth, etc. The problem is that these resources are not constant.
Each client that lands on the same server uses the same pool of system resources as you. If another user starts draining a lot more CPU and RAM than previously allocated, all other accounts will become slower.
Now imagine that you are not sharing the same server with only 5-10 people but more than 100 – performance issues and break time are just around the corner. The process of filling a server with as many users as it can handle is called overselling and quite common among shared hosting providers these days.
Sharing your system resources
When you take a look at the typical shared hosting architecture, this poses problems right off the bat.
You have a server which, even with heavy optimizations, has some limitations. Hosts are like banks. They are built on the idea that even if you put 100 projects on the same server, their needs can easily be met under normal circumstances. This is true to some extent, as the majority of client websites are quite lightweight.
But what happens outside of normal circumstances?
Let’s say a user decides to run a marketing promotion and receives a sudden influx of new visitors. The same happens with another website on the same server, becoming more popular after a successful ad campaign. Even those two are enough to cause serious problems for a hundred other websites, even though their projects have kept the same demand for resources.
Shared hosting and stellar performance just don’t match …
Room for growth
As we mentioned, starting with shared services will work for pretty much any new project. However, any successful entrepreneur knows that you should always plan for the future. So what works for you today may be far from perfect once you start to gain traction.
Of course, you can find various shared plans with different capacities and resource allocations, but even the most powerful are often insufficient for medium to high traffic businesses.
Since client accounts in a shared environment are not really isolated from each other, server changes are a very delicate thing. Even the smallest change will affect all users on the same server, which is why root access is prohibited on shared accounts.
Whenever you see that you are reaching a limit, you will need to contact the support team to see if they can increase it. Unfortunately, most of the time these caps are predetermined and set by the host, so raising the bar would often require upgrading to another hosting package.
Impact on cybersecurity
Another underlying issue with shared servers is the extent of security precautions you can take. Cyber attacks are becoming more and more persistent and creating all kinds of problems for webmasters.
Say you are prepared for it. You have taken all known steps and secured your website to perfection. But then again, you still have your neighbors. Many people still neglect their own security, exposing the entire server to various vulnerabilities. An intrusion into a neighbor account is as effective as accessing your own premises online.
Shared hosting alternatives
So what can we do about it? What else is there besides shared hosting?
VPS hosting – Virtual Private Server (VPS) solutions solve many fundamental issues associated with shared hosting. All accounts are in an isolated environment and receive their share of dedicated resources. Services are also often very scalable, allowing you to adjust resources based on your current usage.
Then you have the personalization aspect. Unmanaged virtual server solutions give you full root access so you can change every detail of your account and website.
Naturally, some web hosts offer better VPS services than others. Companies like Scala accommodation include management and security solutions tailored to each client, making transactions more profitable than ever.
Application-based hosting – If you intend to use specific software to build your website, you can take another route. Some web hosts offer application-optimized packages for users of various CMS solutions, like WordPress, Joomla, or Magento. These accounts are specifically optimized for the smooth performance and enhanced security of particular software.
Application-based hosting is not a different type of service per se, as it can use shared, VPS, and dedicated services.
Dedicated servers – this step might be a bit of a stretch for new businesses, especially given the huge price hike for shared hosting. Still, some businesses are growing by leaps and bounds, so an upgrade to a dedicated server is not unheard of.
As the name suggests, Dedicated Services give you full control over an entire physical server to function the way you want it to. There are no other clients to interfere with your performance and virtually no limit to your freedom of customization.
Worth the upgrade
To sum up, there is nothing wrong with opting for shared hosting for your first online experience. The service is quite user-friendly, offers enough features for beginners, and costs only a few dollars per month.
But while hosting issues aren’t that critical when hosting personal projects, enduring sub-par performance and security on a commercial website can easily ruin a business. Upgrading as early as possible might be your only option.