Shared Hosting vs. Virtual Private Server (VPS)

August 6, 2013 | Posted in Technology and tagged , , ,

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You’ve hired a design and development firm to build your e-commerce website. You’ve spent thousands of dollars and countless hours gathering content, making design decisions, finding the perfect SEO terms, and putting together your marketing plan. All testing is done and your website ready to launch. Files and database tables get moved to your hosting service. Then you finally type your domain name into your browser and you wait…and wait…and wait…wait for it…wait…YES, my Home page! Well kind of; it’s still loading, but I can see the top 3rd!

And you say to yourself, the site was fast when I viewed it pre-launch on the test server. What happened between then and now? I’ll tell you, but it’s going to cost you. Yep, you’re running your high-powered website on a “shared” hosting server. After all, “it’s only $4.99 per month, and that’s a great deal!” Here’s some advice, don’t do it. A robust e-commerce website should be running on a VPS, and here’s why:

  1. Control – You can choose which operating system, RAM, disk space, bandwidth and control panel you want to use, and it’s dedicated to your website only. For example, you might start out small with a Cent OS-based system, 1GB RAM, 30GB disk space, and 1TB/month traffic bandwidth. Then as you get more customers onto your site, you may find that you’d like to add more capacity or increase your RAM and Bandwidth, which you can do with most VPS plans hassle-free. With a shared server, you’re stuck “sharing” resources, so while that 8GB RAM they claim is “more than you’ll ever need” it’s actually spread across hundreds of websites running on the same server, each taking a bite out of the CPU as well.
  2. Security & Compliance – These days, security is at the top of the list so that your website is less “hack-able” and it is in compliance with your payment processor and banking system. With Firewall software installed, you can block open ports, essentially “holes” in the software that you would plug up. Regular updates to your database software, operating system, and version of PHP. If you take credit card payments on your website then this is imperative, as most banks would have you meet PCI DSS Compliance specifications. Shared servers do NOT let you do any of this and most are not PCI DSS Compliant.
  3. Cost – So this might not be a benefit, but it far outweighs the cost of losing customers due to a slow, non-secure site. With a VPS, an SSL Certificate, and PCI DSS Compliance fee, Expect to pay a minimum of $50 per month, depending on the level of services you require.

About Scott Weiss

Scott Weiss is the founder of Somethumb, a creative services agency focused on web design and development. "Like" us on Facebook, "Follow" us on Twitter, "Plus-One" us on Google+, "Connect" with us on LinkedIn, and view our portfolio on Somethumb.com.

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