Hosting: What Is It?

As your business expands, you’ll need a place to host your presence online. A place to house your website, keep people engaged, and manage increased traffic.  To make your websites accessible across the Internet, you’ll need to choose a web hosting provider. Some well known providers are GoDaddy, DreamHost and Hostgator, which are used by thousands of sites across the web. We hope this brief overview provides some guidance as you navigate servers and hosting.

Continue reading for Sparkfactor’s tips about web hosting and what it does, by using examples from our clients who have come to us for help.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting means shared server.  You are renting space on a server that other people are using as well.  It’s like renting an apartment in a building with many units. All of this shared pay goes to the shared hosting provider, who keeps the server running smoothly. This is implemented by IP and name based hosting.

IP-based hosting:

IP-based virtual hosting is when each host has their own IP address, and uses the address that the client connects to in order to figure out which website to send them to.

Name based virtual hosting:

Name based virtual hosting is when multiple websites are listed on one host with one IP address, such as a web browser.

Shared hosting is the least expensive option, so it is ideal for a business just starting out. You also won’t have to worry about having amazing technical prowess when you are using shared hosting. All of the maintenance, security and administration is handled by the shared hosting provider. This simplifies working on the server, and gives you less to worry about.


With a shared hosting server, you are limited to how much bandwidth and data you can use. Since there are other people using the server alongside your business, you must keep to a certain amount. It’s like the utilities in the apartment. If you exceed that certain amount within a timeframe, you can be charged extra or penalized for how much you go over. Because you have to share space with others on the server, there are times where things get crowded. Another company’s website may be very popular at certain times of the day, or it may have gained a lot of traffic recently. This can cause the shared server to not run optimally as it covers the higher amount of people coming to that company’s website. When it doesn’t run as fast, it can lead to slower response and load times on your site’s end, which can be very frustrating to everyone.

That’s why there are other options as your business grows. If shared hosting isn’t a right fit, there are VPS and dedicated hosting instead.


VPS Hosting

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server or Virtual dedicated server (VDS). It acts just like a dedicated server without the large price point. A VPS is emulated to customers as a dedicated server through an operating system, though it is actually a shared physical server.  VPS hosting providers use software to break up the server and give access to multiple customers to make customizations as if it were private or dedicated. This level of access to the server settings is unrestricted allowing customers to uniquely set up the server to meet their exact needs.  

While this is a great solution for smaller organizations, it is not dedicated.  This means the performance is lacking in comparison to an actual dedicated server.  The other disadvantage is the security issue that comes into play when you are housed with other customers.  It’s a perfect middle ground for businesses looking to expand, but aren’t ready for the dedicated server bill.   


Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting or a dedicated server the server is used exclusively by your organization. It is more stable, secure, and provides more storage and bandwidth than shared hosting or VPS.  The price goes up based on memory. Usually hosting providers who offer dedicated servers have four levels of memory: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB. Dedicated servers require skill to set up.  It is empty when you rent the space. All of the components a shared server comes with are not present and must be installed.

The beauty of this for a developer is they have ultimate control to make your site function exactly how it needs to.  When is this necessary? An example is a ecommerce store that has a lot of traffic, or a site that hosts tools to help clients shop or plan a project.  An example of a company like this that Sparkfactor moved on a dedicated server is Vistaview CableTec .  Their Plan My Project tool which is integrated into WooCommerce is housed with a dedicated server to ensure a fast and secure connection to assist their clients.


Growing Business leads to upgrading servers

Your website’s content determines your website server needs.  If your business is an online rapidly growing ecommerce store and you begin receiving customer complaints about server errors,  it may be a good time to upgrade. Don’t wait for functionality failure to start thinking about upgrading. If you are a new business and plan on growing online, consult a developer and have a plan for growth.  There is nothing more frustrating for an online business whose server lacks the resources to maintain site’s traffic and sales.


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