When you are creating a blog, you have to make an important decision about hosting. You can go the traditional route and have your blog hosted on one of the major public hosting servers belonging to a big company. On the other hand, you could try using a virtual private server. There’s also the in-between managed hosting option. It’s not easy to tell which one is the best for your blog, and in addition these choices can make a big difference both in what you pay each month for hosting and the performance of your blog. In this article, we will examine the hosting decision. First, we’ll describe the big options to provide context. Then we’ll discuss when it might make sense to use a VPS for hosting.
The primary advantage of shared hosting is simplicity and ease of use. There are many big-name hosting providers out there. You have probably heard of most of them before. Each of them offers a wide range of hosting plans. In general, you get more capacity when you pay more per month, and you also get features like more domains. The hosting company owns the server on which they store your site. They provide you with support and maintenance if anything goes wrong. With shared hosting, you simply pay your bills each month and let the host take care of any problems. Each site that a company hosts is entitled to a share of space in one of their servers. If traffic heats up for one or more big sites, then that site can suck up some of the server’s resources, leaving the smaller sites with decreased capacity. This will appear in the form of slower load times.
Hosting on a Virtual Private Server
A virtual private server, or VPS, is a virtual share in a hosting server. The main difference between VPS hosting and shared hosting is that with a VPS service, you are guaranteed a certain level of capacity, which can’t be pulled away by another site experiencing heavy traffic. That means you get consistent and smooth performance. That is, provided you stay within the capacity you have paid for. Like shared hosting, VPS hosting involves tiers of subscriptions: pay more to get more capacity. Unlike shared hosting, the responsibility for managing the server and fixing any issues lies with you. Some hosting companies will make an effort to help you through problems, but you cannot expect the same level of support that shared hosting would bring. In general, it is quite easy to scale a VPS hosting plan. If you find that you need more capacity, it is generally easy to add more using the host’s admin panel, and the changes take effect instantly.
Managed hosting is a form of shared hosting, but it is dedicated to a certain kind of website platform. Managed hosting comes with a significant amount of the software for the platform in question and has some specific advantages. These might include a special interface for the platform, automatic updating, optimized performance, and so on. Managed hosting allows for you to get some more speed for your money if you do not want the trouble of a VPS plan and you know for sure that you will be sticking to your current platform. Generally, only the biggest and most popular platforms have a large enough audience for hosts to offer managed hosting for them.
When Hosting On A Private Server Is Best
The tradeoff is already clear: shared hosting involves better support, but the possibility of slowdowns. VPS hosting is more of a DIY solution that gives you precise expectations about how much capacity you will have at any time. Your interest in VPS will depend on how much traffic you get, how that traffic evolves over time, and your skill as a developer. Starting with that last point, if you don’t know much about managing a server it could take extra time to learn how everything works and fix it when things go wrong. Concerning traffic, if you can manage the traffic you have now and it will be steady or growing at a predictable rate, than that is a point in favor of hosting on a private server. If you are just starting out, then shared hosting is fine, but once you are established you cannot risk occasional slowdown alienating your visitors. Furthermore, it is actually possible to overcome the fact that it is cumbersome to work on a VPS. In practice, the main difference between VPS and shared hosting is the lack of an admin panel to give you a useful interface with which to control the server and your site. However, there are some software tools that can give you a panel to use with your VPS hosting. Zpanel is one example: it is free, open source, and quick to install. Even though this will be different from the admin panel that your host normally uses, you will get a panel you can use and it will be much easier than trying to work through the command prompt if you are not used to doing things that way.
The bottom line is that VPS hosting is a better option for serious webmasters. As long as the stakes are low, you can get away with shared hosting. Indeed, if you are a large site, you will be the one taking capacity from other sites, so you won’t experience much slowdown. But for everyone else, VPS hosting provides a better and more stable environment, and you can compensate for the lack of support in other ways. Managed hosting can be useful because you get the support of shared hosting with increased performance like a VPS, but it can be pricey and many of the extra features don’t add value.