Before your website can even launch, you will have to make one very important decision – do you want shared web hosting or VPS web hosting?
What’s the difference?
With shared web hosting, you sign up with a web hosting company and share their server with a bunch of other people. The web hosting company is in charge of maintaining the server, making sure the right updates get installed, and fixing it if something goes wrong. Shared web hosting is the most economical choice, because all of the customers share the cost of maintaining the server. As part of your monthly service, the web hosting company will also provide you with an administrative panel, so that you can check your website’s statistics, or check email addresses on your domain.
While shared web hosting is great for people who do not know how to maintain a server – or simply don’t want to – there are other people out there who want more control over their web hosting. That’s where VPS web hosting comes into play.
VPS stands for virtual private server. With VPS web hosting, one main server is divided into several portions; each portion acts as its own separate server. Under a VPS hosting plan, you are in charge of monitoring and maintaining the server yourself. VPS hosting is a great choice for small and medium-sized businesses who want more control over their technology.
Because you are sharing a server with a few other people, VPS web hosting is cheaper than getting your own individual server; however, VPS hosting can be expensive. In fact, some of the top-tier VPS hosting plans can cost four times as much as shared web hosting plans.
So, is the extra cost worth it?
Many website owners are willing to pay more for VPS hosting because of all the extra control they get. With a VPS web hosting plan, you get more disk space than you would with a shared hosting plan. You also get to choose your own operating system and software.
Plus, VPS hosting is more stable than shared hosting. Since you’re not sharing your server with hundreds (or even thousands!) of other people, you don’t have to worry about other people’s actions affecting your site. VPS plans even come with reserve memory that can kick in during heavy traffic periods, so that your site never slows down.
With web hosting, it all comes down to control. If you want someone to take care of the technical nitty-gritty for you, go with a shared hosting plan. If you want to control your own server, invest in a VPS plan.
Kirsty LaVier is editor for Shopping Cart Reviews, the leading shopping cart software information website.