So then, three different technologies all capable of powering your website and email. Which one is right for you? That is a question we are often asked from people wanting to start their web presence, so the first of our guides will expand on this.
To answer the question, it’s important to understand the basic principles behind them.
This is where your services are hosted on a system shared with other users. You will have your own user account and a chunk of webspace/allocation of mailboxes and all the system resources are shared between you and the other users
As it is shared resources and hardware, the costs are generally lower. You won’t be able to make changes to the system itself, meaning you don’t have to worry about the overall platform security, hardware or performance. Our own system administrators take care of this.
Sometimes a customer needs to make system wide changes (such as wanting a particular scripting language). As the platform is shared with other users, we could not allow a change that would affect everyone else as well.
Likewise if a site is very busy or needs a large amount of resources, then the shared allocation may not be enough to go around, so a dedicated allocation is needed instead (e.g. VPS or Dedicated)
This is similar to shared Hosting where there is an overall backend system, however you have your own specific environment (often virtualised) and you have specific allocations of resource, so other users would not affect you.
As you have your own environment, you are free to make changes at the root or administrator level if you need a customisable setup (e.g. install root level applications, have a specific version of PHP) without impacting other customers. You can also have a more bespoke initial build (such as choosing your Operating System)
As you have a much higher level of control and access, you are also responsible for the performance within your own environment. Therefore it’s important you have a general knowledge of maintaining a server environment (and the time to do so).
Our own system administrators still handle the hardware side of the overall host, but everything that goes on inside that environment is down to you (making sure process are running and optimising your settings).
Remember though that all our VPS come with optional user control panels like Plesk and CPanel, which make general patching and updating a lot more straight forward
This is the top-end option. Your own physical machine with multiple options for customisation.
Your own server, so 100% hardware and other resources. Nothing shared. Options to have clustered solutions, fail-overs, load balancers and other technology
The technical level required is higher than a VPS, so it’s essential you know your way around log files, error reports, server processes etc.
For us, it is all about finding the balance between your resource requirements, your budget and your level of experience. We want you to have a long term solution to suit your needs with options for growth as and when you require it, not a short term goal
For that reason, if you come to us looking for a solution to host your online shop that has a few hundred hits a week and you just need an out-of-the-box solution, then we’re not going to try and sell you a Dedicated Server! From our perspective, it’s not in anyone’s interests to do so – not just because it’s way above your requirements but also as chances are you won’t be experienced enough to maintain it and a Dedicated Server (or VPS) that it not properly administered and secured is at risk from being exploited and used for sending ‘Spam’ email or other nasties – something we definitely don’t want on our network.
At the same time, if you have a ticket selling website that is expected to have hundreds of thousands of hits in the space of a few hours, we’re not going to suggest an entry level Shared Hosting account. If a site is too big for shared hosting, then it’s not going to run properly and there will be performance issues affecting all users on that platform.
Q. Does Shared Hosting mean I’m at the mercy of other users who can ‘hog’ all the resources?
A. Not to that extent, no. Our Shared platforms are very resilient and we have a lot of technology behind them. We also ensure that there is a good balance on the platforms so we have always have redundant amount of resource for any busy peaks or similar. The platforms are monitored 24/7 so if we see a particular user that is needing a consistently higer level of resources, then we address that straight away before there are noticeable affects to anyone else on the platform.
In many cases it may just be a website that is not optimised properly so is using resources inefficiently and just needs some maintenance. In other cases it can be that a site has just outgrown Shared Hosting and we need to work on a migration path to get the customer onto the next tier up.
Q. Should I be hosting my business on Shared Hosting
A. It’s more about the resources your website needs than the purpose of it. We host many business sites on our Shared Hosting accounts and our overall uptime is over 99% availability with consistently high performance.
A question to ask yourself, is how dependent you are on your online presence for your business? Over 99% uptime is more than enough for many, but for some customers that 1% or less could mean losing hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds. In these circumstances, it is about how much you invest in your business. If you could lose £100 an hour in the event of unavailability, you will want to be looking at spending more that £10 or £20 a year on your website. You will need reassurances, failover solutions and bespoke Service Level Agreements to name but a few.
We supply solutions to everyone, from home users all the way to large corporations
If in doubt, contact us, tell us your requirements and we can go through the different options so we can get you on the right platform and manage your expectations from the outset and avoid any unwanted surprises down the line.