Building and maintaining a website requires several major decisions â€“ what will the site look like, who’s the audience and what should it do? One important question that’s sometimes saved until too late, though, is what kind of hosting plan is right for the site? That answer isn’t always as easy as it seems â€“ some sites do just fine on a shared hosting plan, while others will need too many resources for that environment. But does that mean that your site needs a dedicated server? Not anymore, since there’s another option that’s sometimes the perfect fit â€“ VPS web hosting , or Virtual Private Server hosting, can be a great middle ground for a growing website.
Hereâ€™s a list of 5 questions you should ask yourself if youâ€™re considering VPS hosting as a solution for your website.
1. Do you need SSH/Root access? This is a common reasons to opt out of a shared hosting plan. This and other needs might be called â€œserver-level customization.â€ Since no hosting company is going to let you customize and modify the server if you have a shared hosting plan, you’re out of luck unless you want a dedicated server, right? Actually, on a VPS your site is separated from others, and that allows you to customize your server with the tools you need to run your site the way you want.
2. Do you expect to grow? Scalability â€“ Shared hosting is usually plenty for those who are just starting off online â€“ it usually has enough resources, and the managed support can help you learn as you go. But usually the goal of any site is to grow, either by increasing traffic or by adding additional sites, and that’s when shared hosting can be a little confining. Whether your site is a blog, portfolio or an e-commerce hub, a VPS can give you the room your site needs.
3. Do you expect traffic spikes? What may start out as a blogger’s dream can end up a nightmare without a good hosting plan. A link to your site from a site like Digg can cripple a shared server pretty quickly. A VPS, however, can stand up to extraordinary traffic events because many have â€œburstable memory,â€ which is basically a pool of memory to call on when needed, such as during a traffic spike.
4. Are you planning to set Up an E-Commerce site? If you make your money through your website, then you definitely don’t want your income hinging on whether someone else is only using his fair share of resources. You run this risk when you’re using shared hosting, but it’s not as likely with VPS hosting, since your site doesn’t rely on the same resources as others on the same machine.
5. Do you want to save money? A VPS is such an attractive option not only because of what it can do, but also because of what it won’t do â€“ drain your wallet. Before VPS hosting came along, shared platforms and dedicated servers were the only options; now that VPS is out there, you can get many of the best features of dedicated hosting at a fraction of the cost with a VPS.
Do you think there are other considerations that should be made before choosing a host? If so, please use the comments form below.
Image via torkildrâ€™s flickr page.