Web Hosting Types – Which to Choose?
The following is information that I have found to be true in my web development but is by no means an absolute in what might work for you instead. It is intended to be used for informational purposes only. There has been such an onslaught of questions regarding this topic that I thought I would expound a little.
Shared Hosting (static type hosting)
It’s exactly what it implies, “shared.” You will be sharing just about everything with however many users happen to be on that particular shared server. I would never recommend any type of online commerce reside on a shared hosting server but too often there is no way around it. Budgets at times soar low, and people have to make due with what they have. Shared hosting is shared by many users; this is a benefit for users who do not want to deal with it, but a hindrance to power users who want more control. In general shared hosting will be inappropriate for users who require extensive software development outside what the hosting provider supports.
Shared hosting typically uses a web-based control panel system such as cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk, InterWorx, H-Sphere or one of many other control panel products. Most of the large hosting companies use their own custom developed control panel. Control panels and web interfaces can cause controversy however, since web hosting companies sometimes sell the right to use their control panel system to others. Attempting to recreate the functionality of a specific control panel is common, which leads to many lawsuits over patent infringement. Another point: If any one of the users makes an error in scripting, all users on the shared server are affected. Therefore to lower the chance of this happening, users that are subscribed to Shared Hosting services are not authorized to run their own programs.
If you must choose a shared hosting plan then go with WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Many developers have their opinions on what is good and what is bad I know that I do for sure. Just remember one thing: You are sharing with thousands if not millions of other users and your website will reflect that in areas of performance. Eventually, if your business grows you will find a way to offset the cost of a VPS/Dedicated with the profits you are making. Also, OpenCart is really good about providing extensions that will help boost performance on a shared hosting server if you can’t afford a more expensive set up. Those are mentioned below.
Final thoughts about shared hosting:
For session security and also possible file access violations shared hosting isn’t a solution for anyone serious about their shopping carts. And for those that didn’t know this: the average shared server has at least one Apache web server running on it. It also contains the PHP programming language or executable CGI scripts. That copy of Apache maintains all incoming HTTP requests for each site functioning on the server. In order to serve your website to the world, Apache must be able to interpret your HTML and CSS files, PHP scripts, images and so forth. Web-based applications such as blogging software and content management systems also require write access to the directories of your website.
Read and write access is typically granted by configuring group permissions on a specific file or directory. Each user account and the Apache server are essentially members of the same group. An FTP daemon is often set up by default to ensure the group’s ability to read access to all files uploaded to the server, enabling Apache to the serve the websites. Still want a shared hosting account? Perhaps all you can afford to start then you do what you have to. This won’t be an article on who’s best, and who’s worst. There are plenty of those articles in this forum if you search.
Cloud Hosting (dynamic type hosting)
Currently there seems to be an over abundance of hype and confusion about Cloud Hosting that can be found scattered all about the internet. Some of this confusion is brought on by the fact that most large Cloud Hosting companies really don’t want you to understand what it is that you’re actually paying for, or why you have to re-write the code for your entire application. With ambiguous marketing efforts and huge advertising budgets, it’s no wonder there are many misconceptions. The truth is, Cloud Hosting is very much the next level of Web Hosting, and it doesn’t have to be much more complex than that.
Myth: Cloud hosting is identical to shared hosting
The truth is that Cloud Hosting offering is in a lot of ways like Shared Web Hosting, but only with the way you manage your applications, as it should be. The underlying technology used to serve Web Applications on a Cloud Platform is exponentially more complex than Shared Web Hosting. There are significant financial and time investments made by any company who is capable of engineering their own Cloud Hosting platform. For the customer, it simply means better Uptime, Reliability, Redundancy, and Scalability. Cloud Server Hosting refers to a group of linked servers and web hosting service which is offered via the cloud. Cloud hosting is typically based on a subscription fee and the payment usually is comprised of a standard fee for restricted resources or tailored fee per feature which you intend to use for example storage, network, memory and CPU. The merchant can control the website on his own and the administration end of the website is carried out via the hosting provider’s website. Cloud Hosting resembles regular web hosting and is usually considered a type of infrastructure – encapsulation and abstraction. It is simpler to consider it as ‘hardware-as-a-service.’ Moreover, specific features of the service are depicted to offer an outline of the price and performance (typically known as utilization statistics).
How to choose a cloud server:
When finding the best cloud solution for you, consider the basic types of cloud computing service providers:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
There is in no way enough space to write about the different types and what they are. Cloud service providers such as Rackspace are full of wonderful information on how to choose the right one.
Virtual And Dedicated Hosting (static type hosting)
With so many different choices out there when it comes to web hosting, it can be a tough decision to choose between them. One of these tough decisions comes when people are unsure of the differences between a VPS and a dedicated server. These two types of web hosting are very similar, and confusion is inevitable. Today, we will focus on these two services, and decide the major differences. Take the time to decide which best fits your needs.
The cheaper of the two is the Virtual Private Server, also known as a VPS. For those that have not yet been informed, a VPS is a shared server that has many of the same functions as dedicated hosting. Unlike regular shared hosting, VPS allows the user to have a separate operating system, as well as root access. VPS customers also are given certain performance guarantees that are normally associated with dedicated hosting. Although there are multiple users on the same server, each user has their own personal settings. To paint a clear picture, here is an example. The VPS is like an apartment complex. Everyone has their own living space, front door and lock. They are partitioned apart, although the whole of the building is together. Many common spots are shared, but each section has its own space. This is how VPS functions.
Dedicated hosting on the other hand holds the top spot for web hosting. With dedicated hosting, you are renting out your own server personally. Renting the server enables you to use it total control, as you are the only customer that is using it. This personal server allows for much more memory intensive scripts to be run smoothly. For large websites with large volumes of traffic, a dedicated server is the perfect solution. Unlike a VPS, you have no worries that the other users on your server might be taking up too much bandwidth. Never again will your load time and up-time suffer at the whim of others. Functionality is much like a VPS, with root access, the ability to run your own operating system, separate firewall, and many other similarities.
So how do the two powerhouses stack up against each other? Price wise, the dedicated server is more expensive. It also has more bandwidth capacity, a faster CPU, and more freedom when choosing a script. The VPS has many of the same features, but lacks the ability to run more advanced scripts. Although the server is separated equally between users, at some point you will be limited as not to disrupt the other users’ websites. This can be ignored for a time, because many websites don’t need the full power of a dedicated server all the time.
When it comes down to the choice between them, the main thing to keep in mind is your needs. Price should never be the main deciding factor. If your traffic pattern is constant and of a high volume, then you may be in need a dedicated server. However, if you have erratic traffic that is not yet overwhelming, VPS can offer all the security and functionality of a dedicated server, within reason, for a fraction of the price. The decision should be easy with all the facts presented.
How to pick a VPS Hosting
A VPS (Virtual private server) will be the right type of hosting platform for those who are looking for a hosting server which is reliable and stable to support their growing and expanding business. VPS hosting is not only more stable, but it is also being allocated with a larger amount of resources such as the disk space, bandwidth, data speed for its clients as compared to a shared web hosting with limited resources.
Let us review what are the key elements when which we need to focus on when it comes to choosing the right VPS hosting provider.
- Hard Disk space – this will largely depends on the purpose of the site that you are running. If you are a teacher whom often need to record and broadcasting short documentaries to your students, then you will need a lot of hard disk space. However, if the site is used for internal forum between a team of 10 personnel on anything related to career, then the hard disk required does not need to be a lot.
- Control panel – there are many types of control panels available in the market today, citing some as examples here ; cPanel is the most well known control panel. cPanel is very user friendly and came with a lot of useful features. Anyway, cost is not the only criteria to consider when you choose your control panel, select the one which you are most familiar with and found ease to be using with. Other panels popular to OpenCart users are PLESK and WHM
- Price – VPS is averagely affordable. One can easily get a VPS hosting service ranging from USD50 – USD100 per month. Furthermore there should not be any setup cost which you need to pay for when you are enrolling for your VPS hosting service.
- Server Up-time – Don’t settle for any server with lesser than 99.5% up-time because with the wide varieties that you are entitled to select from, please take your time to carefully select the right hosting provider which are capable to offer for the best customer experience with great reliability and support. It is also important for us to seek for the online web hosting review forum where reviews and comments from users across the world are shared. With these reviews, you will have some good idea as of how each of these web hosts performed and how satisfied their customers were with their plan and offer. SOME WILL CLAIM TO HAVE 99.9% up time but unhappy customers tell a different story.
- Allocated memory – Don’t even consider for anything lesser than 512MB, because one will need to have adequate memory to enhance the performance of your server. The higher the RAM size your account is equipped with, the faster your site will be loaded with the necessary information and data and also processing jobs will be running faster with increased efficiency.
- Security protection – Check out if there are any types of security control which are offered by the web host to protect the VPS server as well as the accounts of their clients. A reliable and highly committed web host offer 24 hours protection and support to their clients. Assigned technical engineers will be on shift duty around the clock to provide real time assistance to their clients should there are any unexpected downtime due to computer hackers attack or DDOS attack. With these on-going monitoring and protection in place, many a times, the down-time can be significantly reduced or eliminated all the way.
How to pick a Dedicated Server
The signs of online business success, such as a high number of customers and high transaction volumes, may signal that it’s time to consider moving to a dedicated server. Perfect for large businesses and e-commerce websites, dedicated web servers offer a powerful solution for your online business’ needs. A dedicated server provides an unparalleled, robust hosting environment for your complex websites and critical e-commerce applications.
With dedicated server hosting, you get optimum performance, fast data access, and your high traffic volumes are easily accommodated. If you want complete control over your online presence, with total reliability and flawless performance, then you need dedicated server web hosting.
How to ensure you choose the best dedicated server hosting
With dedicated server hosting you will experience more reliability, flexibility, security, and the highest level of website performance. Choosing a dedicated server solution for your OpenCart Shop is a considerable decision that requires careful planning on your part. It is very important to choose a superior quality dedicated server web host to handle your e-commerce website and ensure the best experience for your target audience.
Here are some tips you must keep in mind while choosing dedicated server hosting services for your business:
- Choose the operating system for your dedicated server. You have the option of choosing between a Linux or Windows dedicated server. While a Linux dedicated server can be more difficult to manage than a Windows dedicated server, your dedicated server host’s support team can help you manage your dedicated Linux server and offer professional advice for your dedicated hosting solution. OpenCart recommends a LAMP set up which is LINUX/ APACHE/ MYSQL/ PHP
- If you want to run a resource-rich website, make sure you choose the fastest and most powerful processor you can afford. You might even need multiple processors to handle everything. Determine your processing needs and choose accordingly. Ask for help from your dedicated server hosting provider when needed as they can help you choose the operating system that will work best for your website.
- Look for a dedicated server web host that offers 24/7 customer support. You will need someone to always be available to help if you have any problems with your server. The response time needs to be quick, so try calling or emailing the dedicated hosting provider to test out their customer support.
- You may also want to consider your budget. Can you afford a custom dedicated server? There are many costs associated with dedicated server services: server cost, setup fees, bandwidth fees, software licenses, upgrades, security, etc. You may also need a faster processor and more memory as your business continues to grow. Whatever you do, never compromise on quality to save money. Put your OpenCart Shop needs before your budget.