Help is on the way…
Shared web hosting is the ideal option for small businesses and sole traders. The cost savings and relative simplicity of sharing resources among several clients can be valuable to startup ventures who know that every penny counts. If all a company needs is web hosting and email services, it may not matter where that data is stored or supplied from, or indeed whether ten other clients are simultaneously pulling data off the same server.
However, some enterprises expand to a point where a dedicated server is needed to provide sufficient power and resources. That decision may be made to optimise performance of content-rich websites, to prevent interference from other server users or to avoid being locked into proprietary server performance monitoring and technical support, which can become ever-more expensive over time.
That’s not to say dedicated servers don’t bring their own issues. A qualified IT professional can be required to manage a dedicated server as a company grows, and it’s often difficult to identify when or why a site isn’t performing well. These are some of the factors that may indicate a webmaster or company owner needs help with their server maintenance:
1. Performance drops.
If analytics software begins to identify slow page loading times or a loss of web traffic, it could be due to a drop in server performance. This might be for a number of reasons, from recently-installed plugins to security issues, but those reasons must be identified and resolved immediately. If the root cause of a site’s performance slowdown can’t be tackled, professional help will be required.
2. In-house management becomes a drain on resources.
Many companies will make a straight choice between cloud-based shared hosting and a dedicated in-house server, entirely overlooking the managed dedicated server option. Owning the hardware and keeping it on-site provides optimal control but does require troubleshooting, upgrading and regular monitoring. This becomes time-consuming and stressful for anyone whose core skills lie away from IT, particularly since server performance monitoring is really a round-the-clock activity.
3. Security flaws arise.
A largely invisible army of hackers, spammers and coders are constantly attempting to interrupt and corrupt online activity for their own malevolent ends. Security loopholes or weaknesses may be hugely damaging to a company’s operations and profitability, so it’s essential to preventatively monitor traffic and events for attacks or vulnerabilities. Keeping ahead of the latest viruses and software flaws can exercise the most IT-literate webmaster, whereas managed hosting providers will be proactively responsible for patches and updates.
4. Updates require downtime.
Any website should be accessible at any time, from any location, under any load level. Spending two hours offline while a server reboots or updates is clearly unacceptable, yet a dedicated in-house server may necessitate this periodically. In such circumstances, a dependable backup will be required to avoid driving traffic into the welcoming arms of competitors.
5. The language becomes too complex.
A dedicated server is a complex piece of hardware requiring fairly detailed technical knowledge to operate and maintain, as does its associated software. Even an unmanaged server from an online provider will demand a degree of setup and maintenance, while an unmanaged in-house installation will immerse its owners in a world of technical jargon and abbreviations. When this second language becomes unduly complex, it’s time to call in the experts.
When the time comes to invest in some server management, check out Managed Support from UK2.