Every business absolutely needs a website, even freshly opened startups. In fact, this may be one of the most important times to have a web presence because an effectively crafted and managed website can help you get your name out and start building a consistent client or customer base.
As you start thinking about your website, one of the main decisions you’ll need to make is what type of web host to use. Because shared hosting can be unreliable, two of the most popular options are virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated servers. Consider several factors to help you decide between the two.
Cost: Pinching Pennies
In almost all cases, VPS hosting will be less expensive than dedicated hosting. This is because the hosting company doesn’t have to maintain an entirely separate server for you, and therefore you get to share some of the costs with other customers. Given that you probably don’t want to be spending loads of money on hosting right from the beginning, VPS hosting is generally a better bet for startups.
Flexibility: Making Your Site Work
You will have the most flexibility with a dedicated server, which is yours to use as you wish. You can install any type of software on it and have full control over rebooting your server anytime. With a VPS, the hosting company may have restrictions on these activities; although you still generally have quite a bit of freedom to use whatever OS you would like and install most software. Another question you’ll need to ask either type of hosting company is whether you can upgrade to more server space down the road without downtime.
Performance: User Experience
Your website’s performance depends largely on what resources your server offers, in terms of bandwidth and processing speed. A dedicated server gives you full access to the resources included in your server whenever you want them. With a VPS, you’ll have a certain performance level guaranteed, plus you may also get bursts of better performance when other sites on the server have low activity levels. You should always check with a VPS whether your storage and memory are in one large chunk or are divided into smaller chunks, which could impair performance.
Ease of Use: Managing Your Time
Setting up and running your website isn’t the only thing you’ll be working on, so it’s critical to choose a hosting service that will be easy to use. Both VPS and dedicated hosting companies offer technical support at varying levels, so you’ll need to research what each company you’re looking into provides. Look for 24/7 support, and if you don’t know much about setting up a server, you’ll want a hosting company that provides assistance with that as well. Rackspace VPS options come with a high level of customer support.
The Bottom Line
Both VPS and dedicated web hosts offer high levels of performance for the typical business. The perks of a dedicated server are likely to only be relevant if you’ll be using a lot of highly specialized tools on your server and need to have full control over your server and resources. Otherwise, most businesses will find that a VPS meets their needs perfectly well, and of course, the lower cost is helpful when you’re getting started and haven’t established much cash flow yet.