There are few things that are as beneficial to a small business as a website. Web traffic can increase the visibility and effectiveness of a business and for small businesses it can be the difference between success and failure. There are several choices for the novice webmaster in data hosting. Some larger businesses choose to have dedicated servers, but for the smaller businesses shared hosting is usually the best, and cheapest route. Shared hosting is when two or more websites utilize the same server, sharing bandwidth and resources. This can be seen on many of the free website builders and then in more secure small business solution servers.
Advantages of Shared Web Hosting Services
The biggest advantage of shared web hosting is also one of its downsides. While it is advantageous to not pay for such a large bandwidth server if you aren’t going to utilize it, it also means that you cannot exceed a certain amount of traffic or data stored. However if you plan on having a small to moderate amount of traffic at any one time on your website, shared hosting can be the perfect solution. Also of help to the novice user is that many of the shared sites come with website “builders”, programs that help you set up, design and fill your website with whatever data you need. Shared hosting is usually cheaper as well. With many shared hosting sites being free (although they provide many less options than paid sites) and others still being cheaper than dedicated servers, for the more frugal or those with less capital, a shared host is the perfect compromise.
The ease of use in shared sites is not to be overlooked as well. While many dedicated servers offer technical support, shared hosts usually are built for those who may not have a webmaster who knows all the ins and outs of programing handy. Many of the free hosting sites offer builder programs and forums that fellow website builders can share tips and help through.
Alternatives to Shared Web Hosting Services
Despite its benefits, shared web hosting services are not right for everyone or every website. Some businesses and organizations require more space, memory and other specifications than are available through a shared web hosting service plan. These alternatives should be considered before making a final decision as to what form of web hosting would be most appropriate for your particular situation.
- One such alternative is a dedicated server. This is exactly what it sounds like, a server that is exclusively dedicated to your use. A server is the computer that provides the interpretation of commands and distribution of the resulting information that allows visitors to find, see, and use your website. With a shared web hosting plan one server computer is used to support multiple users’ websites. This divides up the capacity of the server, however, which places restrictions on the users. A dedicated server, on the other hand, does not divide its resources. The actual physical machine is leased to users, who are then able to modify and utilize it in whatever way they need to get the most out of their websites. This allows a huge amount of flexibility, customization and expansion. Dedicated servers are ideal options for those sites that expect a great amount of traffic or for users who anticipate major expansion in the future.
- Another alternative is VPS web hosting. This stands for Virtual Private Servers, which are similar to dedicated servers. Instead of an actual computer being leased to the user, the service of a VPS computer is offered. A VPS is a very large computer that behaves as multiple individual dedicated servers. Each user can modify and function independently of the others using the computer. There is very little to differentiate an actual dedicated server and a VPS.
The web hosting service that you choose for your website can make a massive difference in the success and functionality of your site. Shared web hosting services are perfect for many small businesses and organizations, but if there are alternatives. For large businesses, or ones that intend to expand in the near future, a dedicated server or VPS service may be more appropriate.