Most CSPs offer customers three web hosting options. Each choice is designed to address different business objectives and requirements. Organizations should consider the various pros and cons of each option when selecting a web hosting solution.
Shared servers offer the least expensive method of hosting a website. In a shared server implementation, multiple customers have their websites hosted on the same physical machine. They share resources like CPU, memory, storage, and bandwidth. This option relies on the technical resources of the CSP and offers the fastest way to get a website up and running.
Performance can be inconsistent in a shared server environment due to the fluctuating requirements of multiple websites. There may be limitations on the kind of software that can be run and security may be affected by neighbors using the same hardware. A shared server is best used by small companies and those whose business does not rely too heavily on website performance.
Dedicated servers eliminate most of the problems associated with shared servers. With a dedicated server, a CSP allocates a complete physical machine to an individual customer. There is no jockeying for bandwidth or CPU time with neighboring websites. The absence of other tenants results in more consistency in performance and enhanced security.
In a dedicated server environment, customers have the freedom to install the operating system and applications of their choice. The tradeoff involves putting more of the responsibility for the configuration and maintenance of the server on the customer’s technical team.
The superior performance and strengthened security of a dedicated server costs substantially more than a shared server. Dedicated servers are the best choice for larger organizations that run business-critical websites and cannot afford inconsistent performance. Companies processing sensitive data also benefit from the security of a dedicated server.
Virtual Private Servers
Virtual private servers (VPS) offer customers a web hosting alternative that falls firmly between the shared and dedicated options. A virtual private server provides a cost-efficient method of achieving many of the benefits of a dedicated server.
In a virtual private server environment, a CSP uses virtualization to carve up a physical server into multiple partitions which are operated independently of each other. Resources are allocated to a specific website, not shared among the various customers’ systems residing on the same hardware.
This results in better security and more consistent performance than with shared servers. Customers are not affected by spikes in resource demand from competing websites. A well-managed VPS comes close to providing the security and performance of a dedicated server at a greatly reduced price. Companies that are looking for an improved web hosting solution without breaking the bank should strongly consider going with a VPS.
Every business has unique requirements and objectives it hopes to meet by hosting a website. Choosing the hosting option that fits its needs is the first step toward creating an attractive online platform for its customers.