When you’re creating a new web site, one of the most critical decisions you need to make is which hosting plan to choose. If by this point in the series you feel overwhelmed by how many choices you have to make about your new website, relax. Web hosting is easy to understand, and it’s relatively painless to decide which plan to pick. Here’s our brief guide to choosing a hosting plan, based on your website budget alone.
If you’re not spending a lot on a web site, you probably don’t expect to do a lot with it, at least not at first. You might get a few hundred visitors a month, and you host your images and other large files elsewhere.
A shared hosting plan, where you share space on a server, or computer, with a thousand or so other websites, is an inexpensive and reliable solution for your hosting needs. If your site gets a little bigger, it’s easy to add more capacity, and you’ll probably be set for months, even a year, with your starter plan.
With a slightly larger budget, you’re probably close to maxing out what you can do with a shared plan. In the past, you would have to make a giant leap to a dedicated server, which was significantly more expensive. But now it’s easy to use a cloud-based Virtual Private Server, which is effectively a “virtual computer”—like the one you make to access Windows on a Mac, or vice-versa—that relies on the resources of several servers bound together in the “cloud.”
Cloud VPSs offer the low prices of shared hosting, but with the power of your own dedicated server. In addition to choosing how much storage space you need, you can also specify your processing power needs. For example, if you run an online store, you can order up a more powerful computer to ensure that it works as quickly as any of your online competitors.
You’ve already decided to make a major investment in creating your new website. By choosing a dedicated server, you can be certain that you’ll be able to do anything you want on your site. For example, your web developer can install and set up custom software, and you can add any security or speed applications you desire. While a dedicated server can be more expensive, the annual costs are around a fifth of your startup budget.
If you aren’t quite ready for a dedicated server, you might consider a hybrid server, which combines the flexibility of a dedicated server with the cost savings of a Cloud VPS. Either way, starting out at the top will ensure that you have the flexibility you need for your web site to meet the uptick in traffic that will surely come as soon as you launch your web site.
For anyone starting a new web site, there’s a lot that seems daunting, from choosing a content management system to hiring a web designer. Fortunately, selecting a hosting plan is one of the easier decisions you have to make. As a full-service hosting company, A Small Orange can handle any type of website, from the smallest personal website to the most complex corporate website. As soon as you start down the path of creating a web site, go ahead and pick your hosting plan, so you can build your website as you go.
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Photo by Michael Johnson