When you’re building a website, one of the first things you need to do is obtain hosting. So you sit down, hop over to your favorite hosting company and purchase the cheapest hosting available because you don’t want to over commit yourself. Right?

Think about what you just did. Do you know what you got for your money? There are different types of hosting packages and you want to make sure what you’re purchasing will best fit your needs. One of the first choices to make is whether you want to go with shared hosting or dedicated hosting. Choose wisely. Your wallet and your web designer will thank you.

Shared Hosting

This is a very popular type of hosting package sold by the biggest names in hosting. First, you need to know that every website’s files sit on a a server somewhere in the world, and every server has an IP address that your domain name is tied to. Shared hosting is when you place multiple websites onto one physical server.

This means the websites all share the same IP address, and it means your network bandwidth (speed) is also shared. This doesn’t mean your site is slow at all times, because the server allocates its resources to the site that is being viewed the most at that given moment. If no other site on the server needs a large portion of the server resources and yours does, then you will probably be all right.

However, when other sites are utilizing the server’s resources and your traffic picks up in that given moment, then everyone’s bandwidth slows down. Typically, small business sites attract low traffic and this isn’t that big of a deal. But if you’re a large corporation, hosting online games or streaming live video broadcasts from your site where millions of people are hitting your site at any moment, this might be a problem for you.

The upside to sharing your website’s space is that shared hosting is the most affordable hosting package and is sufficient for most small business needs. Shared hosting packages range from $1-10 a month.

Dedicated Hosting

In dedicated hosting, only one website resides on a server and you are the only one with control. These severs come with an abundance of resources to handle the demands of a high-traffic site. Dedicated servers have substantially more storage space and bandwidth ready and waiting for when your traffic soars through the roof.

Another benefit of dedicated hosting is security. Since you are the only site on the server, no one else’s traffic or bad behavior affects you. This means you don’t have the risk of someone else’s hacking problem or virus causing downtime to your site.

These plans can cost anywhere from $75- 150 a month which might stretch your budget. So unless you have a real need for web hosting like this, the opportunity cost of a dedicated server doesn’t make sense for most small businesses.

Which type of hosting plan does your business website have? Make sure you’re in control. Check to see if you’re paying for more than you need or whether it’s time to pay extra for more power.

Have questions about your current website or thinking about starting a new one? Get in touch, we’d love to talk.

photo credit: MightyBoyBrian via photopin cc