Hosting is the service that makes your websites, your videos, your online content ‘live’ on the Internet. Without a hosting service, you wouldn’t have an online business, period. Hosting service however isn’t the same for everyone as every business has different needs. Some businesses, or entrepreneurs, are just starting out in the online world and only require the minimum. Some businesses are more seasoned or more advanced and require a more advanced setup. That’s why it’s a good time to discuss the 3 different type of hosting services that are available today.
The first type of hosting service is a ‘shared’ hosting service, which is the most popular type today. It’s a safe bet that most entrepreneurs and most businesses start off in this type of service. The service is exactly what it says… a shared service where you share a server with other people. When you share the server, you also share the cost, which is why you can usually get hosting service starting at $4.99 and up. You can pay a little more per month for unlimited domains, dedicated IP addresses, business functionality, etc, but for the most part, you won’t pay more than about $10/mo for reliable hosting service.
What’s important to understand is that each server machine can only handle a certain amount of bandwidth, or traffic to a site. When you share a server, you’re also sharing bandwidth. If your site or another site on the same server gets a lot of traffic, or gets a big ‘bump’ in traffic, the speed of your site will slow down. Furthermore, people are impatient and will NOT wait a long time for a website to load, so monitoring the speed of your site with a shared hosting service is very important. If your speed is dramatically lowered, you might want to consider spreading your websites around to different servers (if you have more than one website), or moving your site to a different server altogether.
The second type of hosting service is dedicated hosting. At some point in your business, as your traffic increases to very profitable amounts, you can move off a shared hosting service to a dedicated hosting service. A dedicated server is 100% dedicated to your sites and no one else. The cost of dedicated servers usually start around the $150/mo range and only go up. As your sites get even bigger with more traffic, you’ll probably have to invest in more servers to handle the traffic load. Don’t fret about this happening because when it does, it’s a good problem to have (assuming your business is profitable).
The last type of hosting service is buying your own server machines. Unless you’re a ‘techie’ person who completely understands what you’re doing, this won’t be a viable option. The plus of this setup is there’s no monthly cost. It’s only a 1-time cost for the equipment. The downside is if, and when, the equipment goes out, you have to buy more equipment. Once again, unless you know what you’re doing with this, don’t go this route.
Bottom line is there’s a hosting solution for everyone at every level. If you go the route of paying for hosting service with a hosting provider, make sure you go with a company that has competitive rates and a great track record of reliability and customer satisfaction. The most popular hosting company today is probably HostGator, which is who I use and recommend to my clients. However, there are lots of great hosting companies out there, so do your due diligence.