When it comes to putting your website on the internet for the world to see (and for customers to find you) choosing a good hosting plan is the final critical step.
Your online business visibility is now tightly aligned with your hosting, because it is critical in the success or failure of a website.
If you’re not technically minded, the choice can be daunting.
Why the correct hosting matters for your business
Nobody likes a website that is slow to load. How many times have you abandoned a website because the loading experience has been painfully slow or unreliable?
Fast loading and reliable websites prevent potential customers from leaving and going elsewhere (such as to your competitors).
They also improve the customer experience – they stick around longer and are more likely to buy compared to a slower running website.
Finally, faster websites are rewarded by Google – meaning that your organic position on the Google search results pages is likely to be higher*
Recent changes to Google’s algorithm (the automated way that Google decides to rank your website on the search results) have once again placed emphasis on the need for websites to perform well if you want to increase your chances of ranking visibility.
*Organic page position is also affected by many other things (well over 200!) and faster websites are just one of the elements taken into consideration.
Choosing a host provider
Before deciding on the type of hosting, it is essential that you choose a provider.
A hosting provider is a company that sells you server space for you to put your website files on. This means it can be accessed on the internet when someone visits your website address (basically, a server is just a computer with extra software that “serves” files to other computers that make a request from them over the internet).
Hosting providers also sell other services and products – like domain name registration so that you can pick out the perfect name for your website.
Now let’s look at what the types of hosting mean and how to choose….
Dedicated v shared hosting
What is shared hosting?
Shared hosting involves numerous websites hosted on the same server space.
This sharing of hardware resources reduces costs that are passed on to the consumer. This makes shared servers much cheaper than dedicated hosting.
The downside of shared hosting is that you have less control of performance because another user (with their website files) could impact your website performance.
What is dedicated hosting?
Dedicated hosting is when your website files are the only ones stored on the server. This allows you to have more control over the server settings. These server settings enable you to maximise performance of your website.
Another benefit to dedicated hosting is security.
The security of your website is not compromised by other websites since yours will be the only one hosted on that server.
This type of hosting is more expensive compared to shared – regardless of the hosting company you go with go with, but it is worth it for the gains you will notice in your website performance.
Dedicated hosting packages can be offered that are managed or unmanaged.
With unmanaged hosting, you (the business owner) can manage the server configuration.
This full control of the server means you get to optimise all the details for performance that matches your specific needs.
It does, however, pose a threat if you don’t know what you are doing. There is a need to have skilled technical experience to prevent unintentionally affecting performance or even crashing the server.
If you do have the technical experience or employ someone who does, then unmanaged hosting is perfect.
Having managed dedicated servers enables you to have all the benefits without having to worry about the deep technical stuff.
The word managed can confuse people. Managed refers to that fact that you don’t have to do anything – the hosting provider takes care of the server management for you.
The biggest benefit of this option is that if anything goes wrong with the server, it is handled (managed) for you.
The managed option is best if you are a small business without the time and/or skill committed to doing this yourself, but this may come at an increased cost depending on the hosting provider you go with.
There’s also a third option..
The third option – Virtual private server (VPS)
A virtual private server (VPS) is one that has physical components that separate the different parts of one server.
This barrier creates many smaller servers that operate independently from each other (like a dedicated one) whilst still being on one physical server.
A VPS has the advantages of a dedicated server (more control, flexible and better performance) but without the disadvantages of a shared server.
The main advantage of a VPS is that you get the benefit of a ‘virtual’ dedicated server without the larger price tag.
VPS hosting can also be managed or unmanaged.
Whilst having a physical barrier, any security or performance issues on a different part of the server are still able to affect those on another part of it – as in a shared server environment.
Table 1: The key differences between Shared, VPS and dedicated hosting.
Multiple websites (business)
on one server
|Physical separation on|
one server for multiple Websites
|One website hosted on|
Lower bandwidths, disk space and resources
Higher bandwidths, disk space and resources
Higher bandwidths, disk space and resources
|Lower costs||Higher costs than shared|
but less costly then dedicated
|Higher costs than VPS|
|Managed||Managed or unmanaged||Managed or unmanaged|
|Low flexibility||Higher flexibility||Higher flexibility|
|Does not scale well as|
your business grows
|Scales well with business growth||Scales well with business growth|
|Security threats from other|
websites on the server
|Security threats from other websites on the server||Better security – no threats from other websites on the server|
How to choose
Clearly, dedicated servers offer the best performance for a business website, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be the best choice for you.
There are times when a shared server might be a better option, as shown in Table 2.
When dedicated hosting is not suitable for your business
The situations when dedicated hosting is not suitable are when you have small business website that does not intend to grow.
Shared hosting in this case is best as it provides all you need to run a website with expected low traffic volume and transactions. An example of this would be a local business such as plumber, dentist, small café or similar.
When shared hosting is not suitable for your business
Some business websites are simply not suited to shared hosting.
Depending on the business and your plans to grow your online presence, the importance of ranking visibility and how busy you expect your site to be, dedicated hosting might be far more appropriate.
Table 2: The most suitable hosting type depending on your business.
Business stage / cycle
Suitable Hosting Choice
Start up, small website.
Expected low traffic
|Shared hosting most suitable|
Growing business, medium website.
Moderate amounts of traffic
|VPS hosting or dedicated server|
Large website, app development.
Large traffic volumes
We hope you’ve found this article useful.
Equity Digital provide a range of choices in respect of hosting, including a solution that is a blend of a shared server and dedicated server. We have our own dedicated server on which we host a very small number of client sites – whereas most shared hosting platforms will host thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of websites.
We offer this service at an extremely cost effective price because the performance of client websites is of paramount importance to us.