Have you decided to start your own business (or already own one) and want to get it a beautiful new website? Congratulations! Of course, as you already imagine, hosting is very important for it. After all, a quick website means happier visitors, which in turn means more money. You need the best web hosting for small business to make that happen. Check out our article on Best WordPress Hosting Starting From only $3 per year.
web hosting for small business
A faster website means faster Google rankings. The search giant ranks websites not only by their content but also by their speed. We all look for a superior provider that is going to offer the best services. There are plenty of offers.
In this blog post, I won’t recommend any specific providers (to find out the best providers you can get, click here to check out the rankings). Here I will explain the difference between the three main types of hosting: VPS, Shared and Dedicated. If you don’t know what is web hosting or have little knowledge in the difference of the technologies, this article is going to give you a basic understanding.
Dedicated, Shared and VPS hosting technologies are all different, have varying price points and some other things. So let’s jump right in and see what’s what.
Three Different Technologies as web hosting for small business
If you want to get a good look at what is web hosting, it would be good to imagine it as…
A place you live in. After all, this is your home on the Internet!
Think of shared hosting as a college dorm. It is big and has many people using its kitchen, bathrooms and other facilities. That is, of course, until some guy from the third floor clogs the shower and it becomes difficult for everyone. That’s similar to shared hosting.
The parent company, for example, hosting company, runs a big server. That serves houses a huge amount of pages who share the server’s capabilities. The server starts running slower when there’s a lot of bandwidth.
Unless stated otherwise by the provider or bought separately, there is also a chance that IPs of you and some other website will be the same. That may not sound like a big deal but it could be that your website would share an IP with some problematic or even criminal website. That would negatively affect your business in search rankings. So if you are looking for the best web hosting for small business, always consider getting a separate IP. This can also be done with shared hosting, you’ll just need to contact your would-be provider to find out more.
That’s what is web hosting, or to be exact – shared web hosting. It is difficult to say whether it’s the best web hosting for small business – it may be, if you’re not expecting many visitors and are prepared to get a separate IP.
VPS hosting is best compared to owning a semi-house (or to be exactly precise, renting it!) It’s big and you have a full control over many of the aspects. The neighbours are not as annoying anymore. You decide how many resources you need, what speed suits your needs and have more control over everything. It’s the best web hosting for small business if you need more than a regular user and already know what is web hosting.
Root access to the server allows you to dedicate the server to the need you want it to fulfill. However, you don’t need to physically own a server machine: that is still done by the service provider. It still has its limitations, however, as you are still on a server with other websites and any problems happening with the provider will affect you as well. And yet, compared with shared hosting, this is a superior solution as far as independence goes. Moreover, VPS hosting requires more knowledge to manage it, as you will most likely need to log in to a command line and work with SSH, which gives you more powers, but in the same place requires more skill.
Is it the same as cloud hosting?
Both yes and no. If you are looking up hosting options, often you will see “cloud hosting” offered next to “VPS hosting”. Those are very similar. Cloud hosting can also be VPS hosting and share the same qualities mentioned just above. Cloud hosting, however, uses different infrastructure.
In regular VPS hosting, one dedicated server is partitioned (divided) in multiple servers and they all work like separate servers. If a server fails, every VPS in that specific server fails as well.
In Cloud VPS hosting, you rent a specified amount of space and speed in a huge network of machines spread all around the world. You also get a partition of that network you can use for your needs. There is no “your” server that can fail because your information is stored on multiple servers at once. If something happens in one server, information gets stored elsewhere. This is one of the main advantages of this. The second one is scalability, as you can have more resources with just a few clicks.
There is also Cloud Shared hosting, which works the same as shared hosting but uses cloud servers, making it more efficient and reliable.
Of course, all of this comes with a price premium. Compared to shared hosting, VPS or its supercharged Cloud cousin costs up to a few times more. Instead of paying a few dollars a month, you could be paying 10, 20 or even a bit more. But it’s likely to be the best web hosting for small business.
However, there’s one more contender…
Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated hosting is the equivalent of owning a house entirely. It costs a lot – in the region of hundreds of dollars a month. However, for that, you will get a lot of extra freedom. You’ll own the server, control its data center and do literally everything yourself. That means you have to hire people doing it for you or do it yourself – and will no longer depend on services of the provider, so its problems won’t bother you anymore. Everything is in your hands. And it works the way you want it to.
The negatives are the fact you will need to control everything. So you better know what you’re doing! Managing this requires a lot of knowledge, data center providers usually do not provide any help with dedicated servers. The only thing given by the data center is electricity, colocation costs, the internet line and its speed. Everything else is up to you.
There is a way to avoid actually hiring people. You can choose managed dedicated hosting. It is going to cost you extra but experts of your chosen provider will be able to install scripts and software. But if you don’t know what is web hosting and just look for a simple solution, it may be a bit of an overkill.
Shared vs. VPS vs. Dedicated: Security
Cybercrime is a serious thing – there is plenty of important, profitable information that can be stolen from servers and no one wants to be affected by that. It can negatively affect or even ruin a reputation of a business. So it is important to know the differences between those three before you choose.
Shared hosting means that everything depends on your service provider. The entire security is in its hands. If they lose information, it’s game over for you. Sometimes, a provider may leave a backdoor to take the files stored outside of the web root (which is a directory that holds things that are actually displayed on your website). What is stored outside a web root? Passwords – that one thing you wouldn’t want to get stolen from your business.
Now, to avoid such problems, you can buy an SSL certificate, which encrypts all the information sent between the computers. It’s incredibly vital for a business and makes sure to get one for your website as well. But even with that, the security is never ideal. Some say that if you haven’t been hacked – you soon will be and nearly every big hosting company on the planet has had its security compromised at some point.
In fact, if you’ve been using one email account to register to multiple websites, there is a big chance a website you’ve used has been “pwned” at some point. A handy tool allows you to write your email address and an username to see whether your information has been leaked. Here’s mine: turns out security is vital.
Of course, companies know that the criminals are always on their backs. So they work hard to defend themselves. Make sure to pick a service provider which cares about security and makes that promise as clear as possible. And even then, while using shared hosting, do your own backups or purchase a service that does them for you. This is the way to keep all your stuff in despite any problems.
As far as VPS and cloud hosting go, they’re as secure as you make them be. As I’ve already established, you get a separate partition of a server you can use for your needs. Generally speaking though, VPS hosting security level is superior to share but it’s not ultimate. You have to be wary of the risks and understand the basic ideas of security. Either that or have someone in your business who does. Or simply purchase an even better VPS plan with security measures already preinstalled. It is a common mistake to think nothing bad can happen to you if you have a VPS. But hacks can still happen.
It’s just a bit trickier for the hackers if you use the tools correctly. You should still create your own backups all the time. These are snapshots. It’s a copy of your server at a specific time (and you don’t have to reboot your server to do it). If something bad happens to your server, you can use a snapshot to restore it to its past state.
Most of the VPS providers offer snapshots of the whole VPS, so you can later restore them to an exact state of what it was before. But it is a good idea to store your backups somewhere else. That will help avoid future problems if anything arises.
Dedicated hosting is an ultimate tool. Hacker attacks have no effect on you unless they are directed straight at you. However, each and every single security concern is in your hands. Keep them secure and your sysadmins well fed because if something happens, it’s up to them to get you out of trouble. However, there is one thing worth mentioning: if you are a company that is not widely known for possessing interesting information, not many will be bothered by hacking you into oblivion. So, by default, being relatively unknown and having a dedicated server would mean that you’re completely safe, right? Not really – be cautious.
There are plenty of automated bots scanning networks and trying to log in to your server root or brute-force your password. Make sure to never use simple passwords for sensitive data. I always use randomly generated passwords. It is close to impossible for hackers to brute-force them. You can use to check the strength of your password and use a service like 1Password or LastPassword to encrypt them even more.
Shared vs. VPS vs. Dedicated: Speed
What is web hosting capable of doing to your website’s load speed? A lot. Some believe it is only down to the speed of the Internet connection but hosting is also incredibly important.
Shared hosting can be very quick if done well. It may sometimes be slow but good companies manage to balance everything out just right, so many don’t notice any drops in speed. A badly-maintained hosting increases the response speed and it affects the ratings search engines will give to your business. Generally, a high quality shared hosting is a cheap and reasonably good option for beginners. Read about Best VPS Hosting .
VPS hosting is quicker and the lines your visitors have to wait can be considerably shorter. The performance is clearly superior…I’ve mentioned this about 35 times already, so why not make it 36 – VPS hosting is as good as you make it. Of course, this comes together with a higher price point. But if you rely heavily on high speed and a top notch user experience, setting up a VPS is definitely a way to go. Just go set up a basic set of programs recommended by your provider to replicate a shared hosting. A bit trickier and more expensive? Perhaps. But it is most definitely quicker.
Dedicated hosting, by no doubt, has potential to be strikingly quick. You having full control means every single one of your visitors can be the first thing the server cares for, resulting in lightning quick speeds.A badly maintained server could not perform any better than a VPS. If you don’t know what is web hosting (or just don’t have enough experience), there’s a solid chance you won’t be able to make it quick without a lot of help.
Which One Is Right as Web Hosting for Small Business?
By the end of this article, you probably have a general idea on which one of the hosting types is best for your projects. However, just to sum up, here is a general breakdown of the options available.
Shared hosting is for….
Personal projects and small companies who have no experience of using a hosting service. It offers the best price out of three and is the simplest one to use. That’s the best web hosting for small business if you’re not expecting a huge amount of people to visit your website from day 1. Surely a good first step to learn more about the technology, and what is web hosting. Just make sure to pick a provider that allows you to upgrade to a better plan once you’re ready.
VPS hosting is for…
Medium-sized companies with big goals. It is slightly more expensive but makes up for the price with superior features. If an increased user experience is your goal and you have enough enthusiasm and interest in offering that – awesome! A VPS hosting would offer you great tools to make that happen It is most likely the best web hosting for small business – but it’s worth remembering, that compared to shared hosting, this comes with a price premium.
Dedicated hosting is for…
Companies and projects who are too big to fail. If you are ready to dedicate time, work and money for superior quality – it’s great. You won’t depend on the possible failures of the providers, this is the best there is. However, picking this without the correct people and experience would not make sense. For smaller projects and companies, a VPS or shared hosting would do. This is not the best web hosting for small business, as it requires way more money and a lot of work. Perhaps one day, when you’re running a huge corporation. Altough check out best dedicated VPS Hosting.
So, if you’re running a business and look for a hosting plan, make sure to pick one which serves your current needs.