Developing the product, defining your target market and building the website often seem like the most crucial pillars of setting up an ecommerce business. While these are all certainly important, the success of your online business greatly hinges upon the hosting plan you settle for.
There are different types of hosting plans to choose from but realistically, your options are likely to come down to two—shared hosting and virtual private server (VPS) hosting. Of course, you can always switch to either one somewhere along the line if you feel dissatisfied with the option you chose. However, you’ll save time, money and resources if you get it right from the get-go.
So which one should you go for? Here’s a look at the parameters to base your decision on and how shared hosting and VPS hosting compare.
Shared or VPS Hosting
Shared hosting is a lot like living in an apartment complex. In an apartment, you have to contend with noisy neighbors, parking slot disputes, thieving neighbors, queues at the gym and a host of other problems that come with shared living spaces. Similarly, when you sign up for shared hosting, the activities, errors and traffic on other websites sharing the same resources can affect the performance of your own site.
These problems are largely non-existent with VPS hosting since you have all the allocated resources at your disposal. While VPS plans aren’t immune from performance and security challenges, they are a lot more predictable and manageable.
Building on the predictable performance of a VPS hosting plan is the greater degree of control it affords you. If you want the ability to calibrate your hosting settings in detail, then VPS would be more suitable for your ecommerce site than shared hosting. You get server root access and have the freedom to install your own OS and applications to optimize performance and security.
With shared hosting you are limited to a rigid, standardized setup.
You may view the greater server control of VPS hosting as an advantage. However, it’s only an advantage if you have the technical knowledge or have the ability to hire someone with the said knowledge.
With shared hosting, it’s up to the host to worry about setting up the server, installing the required software, applying patches and upgrades as needed, and monitoring server uptime. It’s therefore suitable if you are looking to launch an ecommerce site but don’t want to get bogged down by server administration.
Both shared hosting and VPS hosting are scalable but it’s the ease and degree of scaling that differs. Cheap and quality VPS hosting has a distinct advantage in this regard. The scalability of shared hosting could be sufficient in the short-term and as long as growth isn’t that dramatic.
In the medium to long term though and if your site’s traffic, users, data and applications grow rapidly, VPS hosting will be the better option. Since the performance factors are firmly in your control, it’s easier to predict future use and therefore plan and execute scaling.
There’s no question that shared hosting is substantially cheaper than VPS hosting. If you are starting off your ecommerce business on a shoestring budget, aren’t sure about the existence of a market for your product or want to retain the ability to cut your losses quickly if things go belly up, then shared hosting will work for you.
That being said, you get what you pay for. Opting for shared hosting means foregoing all the advantages VPS hosting provides. If you want robust performance, scalability, security and control from the start, then the higher cost of VPS hosting should be more than worth it.
Both shared hosting and VPS hosting have advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, neither hosting plan would be appropriate for all ecommerce sites. The ideal hosting plan for you is dependent on your need. Before settling on a plan, take time to map out the short-, medium- and long-term goals of your site and determine the plan that will most efficiently get you there.
Keep an open mind and be prepared to change path if a couple of weeks, months or years in, your choice no longer serves the intended purpose.
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Marketing Fundamentals Ltd is a B2B Content Marketing Agency in London that creates Content and manages Social Media for Professional Services firms. We hope you find this information useful.
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