Most personal websites and internet startups use shared hosting, which is the cheapest form of hosting. This usually provides a perfectly satisfactory level of performance for small online businesses where traffic volumes are quite low, and cost is a major consideration. However, shared hosting does have some drawbacks, which mean it may not be the optimal solution for small businesses looking to expand their online offerings – or for those planning ahead to cope with an anticipated increase in traffic. The ideal solution is a virtual private server, but how does a VPS work, and what does it offer?
Shortfalls of shared hosting
Shared hosting involves several users being hosted on a single physical server. In simple terms, this means each online business is sharing available server resources with all the other businesses hosted on the same server, hence the low costs. However, this may mean all the users on the server are using the same IP address. That could cause performance issues; if another website is blocked or goes down for any reason, all the users on the server will experience interrupted service. Also, even if each site has its own IP address, when traffic on one user’s website goes up, that site will draw additional resources. Page response times on other sites sharing the server may slow down.
Neither of these outcomes is going to inspire confidence among new or existing customers. Coupled with the fact that many businesses are looking at measures to increase website traffic (such as a new product launch), continuing to use a shared hosting offering be prove problematic. If you’re serious about providing a reliable always‐on customer service, scaling your business while potentially already experiencing website performance issues, it could be time to upgrade your hosting offering from a shared hosting option to a virtual private server, or VPS.
How does a VPS work?
Moving to a VPS hosting plan will cost more than shared hosting, but it does offer added value. Online businesses that decide to use a VPS still share a single physical server with other users. However, the users on this single server are all separated from each other by their hosting company through the implementation of software on the server called a hypervisor. This enables all the websites on the server to operate as completely standalone entities.
Having examined how does a VPS work, it’s now time to consider the benefits. Downtime on one site won’t affect any others, and neither will spikes in website traffic. In fact, a VPS hosting plan will almost always result in faster response times on your site, as your customers are no longer queuing with other users’ customers as they would be if you were still using shared hosting. Apart from improved reliability of service and faster website response times, a VPS plan will also offer improved security – of particular importance to businesses facilitating online transactions. Users will also have access to more server capacity, so accommodating any current and future growth of your online business (such as adding the backend processes to facilitate ecommerce) will be possible.
All of these benefits will reflect positively on your online brand, which is an increasingly important consideration as competition among web‐based businesses continues to increase. In addition, if you do run into performance issues, your VPS provider is almost certain to offer more support than you might have received on a shared hosting plan. Get in touch with UK2’s sister site, VPS.net, to find out more about its VPS offerings and which one would be best for your online business.