Why Do Some People Pay More Than Others For Their Hosting (and How You Can Pay Less)?
There is much money being made by hosting companies and consultant companies. Money hard earned by entrepreneurs, which they have to spend because they don't really know what their choices are. Although some consultants are fairly honest about it, only a small bunch of those folks really knows ANYTHING about hosting. So it is actually very difficult for them to make an educated choice regarding the appropriate hosting. In this post its all about being street smart. Hosting is not free, but it doesn't have to be bloody expensive either in order to get a great performance out of it.
E-commerce Hosting: Shared, VPS, Dedicated
This post is about the e-commerce hosting. In fact, it could be about any kind of hosting but we’re going to be concerned more with the e-commerce, namely the web stores that sell because they have some extra features that we have to be concerned with as far as the hosting goes.
Basically, there are three types of hosting. Shared hosting, VPS and dedicated hosting. I’ll tell you the difference between them, you don’t need to know this on a technical level. But first we’re going to talk about the important things to do with hosting.
Knowing the Basic Components
It doesn’t matter to your customer what type of hosting you have. All they want to know is that they can come to your web store, confirm that they can trust you, quickly find something and check out. What is important to them is the speed. How fast is your website working, how well it is working. This will depend on a few things including:
- How the website is made. If it is a quality website done properly, it will work fast. If it is not, it will have internal conflicts and so it’s not going to work properly. It’s not going to work fast.
- How many features you have on your website. Even if it is done properly it might not work as fast because it needs a lot more processing power for making extra calculations, etc. Whatever it is that you want your website to do. So if you have an elaborate website it will require larger resources to get up to speed.
- How much traffic you have because the more people that are coming at the same time and using your website, the more resources it’s going to use. You really don’t need to worry about that until your website is really large. If you’re just starting out, even if you’re sending out some campaigns, some advertisements and bringing in some traffic, people aren’t coming to your website all at the same time. So unless you have people coming and using the website heavily at the same time then you don't have to be concerned with it.
The second is that your website has to be PCI compliant. Some of the hosting options are not able to support a web store. PCI compliance means you’re processing transactions on your website and those transactions have to be encrypted. You need your own IP address and your own SSL certificate which really means it has that HTTPs or green lock in the URL bar. That means it is secure which basically means that the connection to the website is encrypted and nobody can penetrate it and steal credit card information. Google rewards any website that has this feature but it is crucial for websites that sell something.
The third thing that is important for the website and for you is to get proper support. If something goes wrong, who’s going to take care of it? If your website goes offline or something, you want to make sure that the host company gives you proper support or you at least have developers that are able to give proper support.
A lot of people actually use shared hosting. There is a company called Nexcess, it’s very good. I’m not giving you any affiliate links, so go ahead and check it out. They have hosting starting from $19.95/month and all these plans are actually shared. Shared hosting means that your website lives on the same machine, in the same environment with other websites and they share resources between them. If one website is using less resources, it’s available for another one. This company specializes in supporting Magento on a shared hosting (well, not only..) so they make sure that all the traffic and all the usage of the resources of the server is balanced so that you never end up not being able to visit your website or not able to use your website.
Another important hosting level is VPS – virtual private servers. This is one level up and it’s, on the software level, the environment of your website and hosting is separate from others. It’s a little bit better because in the shared hosting you have to really make sure that if something happens to one website it doesn’t affect the other websites which is more likely if that were to happen. With VPS this is more unlikely because it is a separate environment for every website and hosting account.
Then there is a third level which is dedicated. Dedicated means it is your own machine, it’s your own environment and your own server. Everything is your own, even though the physical machine is located somewhere at the data center locations of the hosting company. But nobody else can affect your website because no other website lives on that server. Now some hosting companies actually take a dedicated server and put a lot of websites there just like the hosting. You have to know, even if you’re getting a dedicated hosting, are you really getting your own machine? Obviously dedicated hosting costs a lot more. It can go into the hundreds of dollars a month. Your website really has to produce in order to require this level of hosting.
Now the important thing with VPS and Dedicated servers is that, who is going to do the support for your hosting? Besides your website, if something goes wrong with the operating systems, think of it like if you had a Windows computer – Windows is the operating system and the computer is the machine. So dedicated server is the machine, a computer, and then there’s the operating system, let’s say Linux. And when you’re running your program on your computer it's like you’re running your website on your hosting. In fact you can have this kind of a set up on your own computer, which developers do all the time when they work on your website, they actually run it on their computer. Anyway..
So if something goes wrong with the Windows or with the operating system of the server, who’s going to do the support for it? When you go into the VPS and the dedicated, you really have to think about that. There are some companies out there that do really good support for operating systems, even custom operating systems, for example RackSpace does that and they run their clients' sites for example on Amazon server machines.
There’s a lot of options out there, this is just for you to know. You don’t really have to deal with this kind of stuff if you’re using a competent developer, or a company consultancy as they’ll suggest you the hosting. Just don’t think that you’ll need anything more than shared hosting to begin with. Make sure your hosting is scalable so you can start small and easily upgrade into more advanced options as you need it.
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Remember, it’s absolutely free
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