A modern view on web hosting

Hosting website has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Here's an up to date view on what your options are in 2017.

Web hosting has changed a lot in the last 5-10 years. When I first started building sites 10 years ago, hosting was pretty expensive, and each site typically sat on a server somewhere managed by a company, along with dozens of other websites. You never knew which other sites yours shared a server with, and depending on what those other sites were doing, they could affect the performance of your own. Those days are thankfully gone, and there are other much more attractive options. Let's give them a look.

Shared hosting

This is the kind I mentioned just now. You site is on a server with lots of other websites. It's very cheap, and you usually have some kind of access to your website via a control panel. Popular sites for this kind of hosting are GoDaddy and 123reg. I cannot recommend this kind of hosting to anyone under any circumstances today (even ignoring how often they get hacked). Although it's cheap, the performance of shared hosting is slow, downtime is frequent and data breaches are common. Your website is probably the largest public-facing entity in your business; why host it on the cheapest possible option?

Managed Hosting

Similar to shared hosting, you can also get an IT support company to host your site and provide a support contract. In this case, your hosting is likely to still be on a server with a number of other sites, and you're limited to the subset of services they provide (for example PHP of MySQL versions). When you need something installing you'll need to file a support ticket, and you may or may not be able to have whatever you need installed.

VPS Hosting

Over the last few years, VPS hosting (Virutal Private Server) has really taken off. Companies like DigitalOcean and Amazon AWS provide servers, which you pay to rent each month, and you can do whatever you like with them, typically installing a Linux distribution and using it as a web server. Hosting your site this way has a large number of benefits:

  • Keep the server up to date yourself with security patches
  • Install anything you need without waiting for the hosting company to make it available (optimisation libraries, PHP versions)
  • Customise the server for the website you're building, cut out what you don't need, and spend your money on the things you do.
  • Only pay for the resources you need (typically things like CPU, memory, hard drive space etc.)
  • You can use the server for things other than web hosting (email server, file storage)
  • Choose where the server is located, making it closer to the people who will be using it most.

While the performance of VPS hosting far outweighs the cheaper options, it has one downside - you need to know what you're doing.

Where does that leave us?

It's clear that VPS hosting is the way forward, but actually setting it up and getting it running requires some advanced knowledge of servers, scripting and DNS; which where we come in. The hosting we provide for clients combines the benefits of VPS hosting with the knowledge required to get the most out of it. You get your own server for your site safe in the knowledge that no one else is hosting their sites on the same server, and you have a contact to keep it up to date, make any changes you need and to help you get the most out of it.

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Starting a website project can sometimes be a daunting task. If you've got questions about how it works, or if you've got all your plans laid out in front of you and just need someone to build it; I'd love to talk to you.

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