Irish consumers love to shop online so much that they are more likely to buy from an international website than physically go to a local store. We spent 2.7 billion on foreign websites last year alone.
This can be a golden opportunity for your local business though as e-commerce websites in Ireland have seen revenue grow by 45%. By going where the shoppers are, you can get a competitive edge over other local businesses.
One of the first things you will need to consider with your new website is cloud hosting vs shared hosting. Which one you choose will depend on your experience level, website size, and amount of traffic.
Not sure which one is best for your website? No problem, we will explain what each one is and how they work.
Hosting services are essentially making space available for rent. This space is where your website’s data lives.
Your site files are what your website visitors actually see when they visit your website. So the building block of your website, the HTML, and images or video files are all site files.
When you look for website services, you will see both domain and hosting services. You need both to have your website up and fully functional.
The cheapest and most popular way for people to host their website is with shared hosting. Your website data gets housed on a single server with other companies website data.
Each user then gets a certain amount of bandwidth. But each user can also put an unlimited number of websites on their account.
So there could be one server for a handful of accounts. But there could be thousands of websites managed by those accounts.
This setup has a set amount of resources that get utilised by everyone on that server.
This is the most desirable method of hosting for sites that are quite large. Instead of limiting your site to a single server, it uses the resources of multiple servers.
A cluster of servers works together to keep a website running. So a website that gets heavy traffic can utilise the team of servers to prevent one from getting overwhelmed and crashing your site.
Just like the technology in your home, servers have a certain amount of processing power. Beyond that amount, they start to freeze up and fail.
With shared hosting, those resources are now divided up by everyone using that server. Now don’t get nervous, hosting providers actively managers the users on a particular server. This helps balance the demand on each of the servers.
It’s in their best interest to make sure that you are happy, so that means your website needs to work. So they balance resources demand among their customers to make sure their servers work properly.
Your hosting service will take care of all of the maintenance for the server. This includes physical maintenance, system updates, and security improvements.
With cloud hosting, you get the processing power of multiple servers working together. This gives the accounts using that network a lot more resources to use.
It is also easy to allocate even more resources if the hosting service finds that more resources are needed. You will find that these services offer upgraded hardware, root access, and managed maintenance tasks.
While it is important to know what your website requires today, you also need to think about what your website will need in the future. You will want a hosting service that can scale up with you.
When you use shared hosting, your service provider will give you a certain amount of storage space, bandwidth, and processing capabilities. If you find that you need more, you will have to upgrade your plan.
This means that you will have to pay more for your hosting service. Be careful when you see a hosting service claiming to give you anything “unlimited”.
Often what happens is that you are given a certain amount, based on what the service thinks is fair to everyone sharing the server.
Then if you go over that “fair amount limit”, you will get penalised. This could be with extra fees or a slow down in your website’s performance.
Think of this working a lot like “unlimited” data plans for your cell phone. In reality, the cell phone company gives you a limit based on their customer’s average usage.
Then when you pass that limit your cell phone’s performance slows or your fees increase. Technically, your use isn’t limited, but you’ll pay in one way or another for the overage.
You will immediately notice that there are different hosting levels for shared hosting. Depending on the level, you get more with your service.
This typically includes things like domain registration, free transfer from another hosting service, and email setup. They can even offer tools to help you get ranked on search engine results pages.
Cloud hosting has a big advantage over shared when it comes to scalability. Because this set up is already a bunch of servers together, it’s easy to scale up and down the number of servers that are working.
If the hosting service finds that they need more resources, a few clicks and they’ve addressed the problem. If they find that they have more resources than necessary, they can take some away put them to work somewhere else.
On a basic level, more servers are like having more “horsepower”. So it’s easy to assume that cloud hosting outperforms shared hosting, but this isn’t always the case.
Performance should be a key factor when deciding on a hosting service, and the hosting method. About 80% of shoppers won’t come back to your website if they find that it is too slow.
This doesn’t mean that shared hosting isn’t worth it though. Look for a quality hosting service and you shouldn’t have any problems with the load time of your website.
Bloggers, developers, and small businesses tend to go with shared hosting. This service works well for their needs.
To maximize your performance, look for a service that says they have solid state drives. The solid drives use flash memory chips and embedded processors. These drives can be up 20 times faster than a traditional hard disk drive.
With cloud hosting, you pay for the ability to customise your configurations. This sounds great but is really only useful if you understand and know what the optimal configurations need to be.
Often e-commerce websites choose to go with a cloud service. This is because their websites tend to greater amounts of security and performance.
With either hosting service, you’ll want your hosting service to be up on their server maintenance. Hosting providers have a big interest in making sure their servers are secure.
Ask your hosting service about an SSL certificate. This certificate tells your website visitors that the information travelling between your website and server gets encrypted.
This SSL certificate is even more important these days. Google has stated that those websites with proper encryption will receive more favour when it comes to ranking.
You will also want to ask your hosting service about DDoS protection and anti-virus and spam services. These are key to helping your website not become susceptible to others who don’t have good intentions.
If you want more control and customisation of your security then cloud hosting is probably the way you want to go. Your hosting provider will still take steps to provide anti-virus services.
They will also provide the same level of encryption services that you get with shared servers. The difference is that you’ll need to take an active role to install and configure your security settings.
If you are not knowledgeable about securing a website, it is best to select a cloud hosting plan that will help you with this.
When shopping around for hosting services, you will find that the pricing and pricing structure can vary widely. The key is to look at what’s provided for the cost.
You will often see these plans priced on a month to month basis. If you want to save money though, ask about longer plan terms.
You can save money by paying in advance for service for a year or more. Sometimes you can pay for hosting service for three years in advance.
Shared hosting is the cheapest option in the hosting market. You will see one price that includes all the features. Then you will have the option to pay an additional fee for add-ons.
You might be able to find standardised monthly plans for cloud hosting services. Though most services will charge you for the resources that you use.
This is something to think about when comparing different cloud hosting plans. You can better budget your spend by having one steady monthly price.
You might be able to save money though if you have some months high traffic and others low. This would depend on your business, such as if you sell Christmas items, your traffic might be heavily seasonal. Then a use-based plan might work better.
So far we’ve talked about how to these two hosting services differ, but they also have a few similarities. You should expect to see these features offered no matter which type of hosting you choose.
Your hosting service should be able to guarantee your website is live and available for visitors for a certain amount of time. If they can’t, they should refund you the portion that the guarantee wasn’t fulfilled.
Usually, cloud hosting will have slightly higher uptime guarantees because of the server set up. However, shared hosting usually comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Your hosting service should want you to be happy. This means they should provide you with 24/7 customer support.
Since your website is live 24/7, that means that something can go wrong at any time. The worst thing that can happen is your website goes down at 6:30, but your hosting service closed at 5. Now you are dead in the water until they open the day.
Any worthwhile hosting service will provide you with options for contacting them. Those could include live chat, email tickets, or phone calls.
If you work with a reputable shared server hosting company they will have one-click software that you can install to enhance your website. This could include a blog platform, content management, web mail services, or even an online store.
You will find this type of software for cloud-based hosting, but it will be less common. Most hosting services expect you to know how to install your applications manually.
When deciding between cloud hosting vs shared hosting service options you need to look at the size and traffic volume of your website. If you have a small business that doesn’t have millions of visitors a month, then shared hosting will work great for you.
If you have an extensive website with high traffic volume then you should lean toward cloud hosting. This will ensure that your website continues to run smoothly.
There is nothing stopping you from buying a cloud hosting service if you have a smaller website. But you may be paying for more hosting service than what you need.
However, if you have a large website, you may find that your website doesn’t function well on the shared hosting. At this point, your website is too large for the server’s capabilities.
If you are still unsure of which service is best for your business, give us a call and let us help you.