Having a website is imperative if your business is to be successful. In fact, online comes before physical for many companies these days, and with good reason – consumers in the UK alone spent £114 billion online in 2015, and the figure’s rising.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get started in the world of e-retail, but there are a couple of decisions you need to make. Your website will have to be hosted somewhere, but which route will you choose: shared or dedicated?
The not-so-subtle title above might give you an idea of our answer, but let’s not go any further without explaining both options properly.
Shared hosting is when a service provider uses a single server to host multiple customers’ websites at once. Although each will have its own domain name, they share one server’s resources. This is a budget-friendly way to get your site off the ground, and it’s a widely available option, but it’s not a great solution for the long term; we’ll come to the reasons for that shortly.
Dedicated hosting, as you might have guessed, is when an entire server is committed to one website or customer, allowing for more power and functionality. This option is more expensive, but pick the right partner and you will get what you pay for: more capabilities, greater power and improved flexibility.
Sure, shared hosting has its benefits – price being the most cited – but there are a few reasons why dedicated hosting comes up trumps whenever you compare the two. Below are some of the biggest.
Dedicated server = dedicated resources
In the simplest terms, a server is a hugely powerful computer or computer program that stores and delivers web pages to users. Its power isn’t endless, however, and by adding more sites, pages, applications and processes, you’re only diluting the muscle it does have.
This is what can happen when you share servers with other companies and their sites – the CPU and RAM get clogged, and your site suffers to keep up with growing demand. Have a dedicated server, however, and the power’s all yours for when you need it most. That could be to deal with traffic spikes, or for running big applications such as Magento.
Opt for shared hosting and you’ll need to purchase the maximum hosting you require for the year ahead, just to make sure you don’t fall short. With dedicated cloud storage, however, you can scale your hosting to your requirements as they change.
You may start small and increase your hosting capacity as the business grows, or scale down if the company goes through a tough period. Some advanced dedicated cloud hosting can even be configured to scale automatically, so you needn’t lift a finger. Here at Frooition, we serve millions of eBay listings a day with auto-scaling servers. At peak times we often double or even triple our server power automatically, with zero downtime, in a matter of minutes.
Access to a shared server will understandably be limited – after all, you’d be pretty annoyed were your site and all its data to be left open to another customer, wouldn’t you? What this means is that there’s less you can do with it.
Pick a dedicated server and it’s all yours to tinker with how you wish. The set-up can be configured to meet your needs – not those of another customer, and you can chop and change whenever it suits. Launching a new sister brand? Host it from the same server. Flexibility is a big selling point here.
Sure, limited access will help keep your data safe, but having a server all to yourself is the only way to guarantee you’re not sharing space with a malicious site or spammer.
In an age where hackers are everywhere and data is valuable, the importance of security – and thus the value of this benefit – cannot be overstated. Having information stolen is not just an inconvenience anymore; it could turn your customers and wider audience against you, and have long-term effects on reputation and profits.
This one’ll be particularly prominent if you’re handling sensitive data, but it applies to every site owner.
Getting what you pay for
Shared cloud hosting will be cheaper, but this is one part of running a business that you really shouldn’t be scrimping on. Products and services aside, your website is by far your biggest and most powerful weapon, so don’t let price be an inhibitor. If your company grows, your site needs to be there and ready to handle it.
Thanks to the cloud, it’s possible to reap all the great rewards that come with having a dedicated server – like those listed above – without having to spend a fortune on new hardware. Make the most of that opportunity!