When Shared Hosting Isn’t Enough

Perhaps to showcase your portfolio online, or maybe blog about your adventures as an entrepreneur? Well, you're in luck.

Blade servers stacked in a data centre cabinet

So you’re interested in building your first website?  Perhaps to showcase your portfolio online, or maybe blog about your adventures as an entrepreneur?  Well, you’re in luck.  In today’s tech savvy world, companies have made it painlessly easy for the average person to get a website up and running in just a matter of minutes.

If you’re just wanting to showcase a portfolio or do some casual blogging, signing up for a shared hosting account is a no brainer.  They are very affordable, easy to manage, and allow users to take advantage of all the basic web technologies in order for them to build and run most websites.  They are known as the “level one” as far as web hosting goes.

To Share, or Not to Share?

Although shared hosting is great, there are a few notable drawbacks worth mentioning.  When signing up for a shared hosting plan, you’re just 1 out of 100 or more other customers who are being put on the same server.  What does this mean for you?  Well it means that your website is having to share the same  CPU, RAM, storage, and other resources as 100+ other websites on the server.

So lets say customer #24 decides to blog about how he got Facebook to invest in a software idea of his.  What if Mark Zuckerburg were to read it, like it, and link back to the blog post on his Facebook page?  Massive amounts of traffic would start to flood in, crippling not only customer #24’s website (due to lack of resources), but the website of everyone else on the server, including yours.

Not only that, but there are some technical limitations put in place for customers.  For instance, lets say you’re using a CMS (Content Management System) to run your website.  Website administrators typically install themes and extensions to provide advanced functionality to their site.  In order to install an extension, you will typically access the back-end control panel of the CMS, then upload the theme or extension from there.

When on a shared host though, if the extension is over 8mb in file size (although this is the general file size, some hosting companies may impose a smaller limit), you’ll immediately get an error message during the upload process telling you that the upload failed.  This error is occurring simply because for various reasons, most web hosting providers block customers on shared accounts from accessing the main apache configuration file for the server.

VPS to the Rescue!

However not all hope is lost.  Say hello to the “level two” of web hosting.  Where shared hosting falls short, virtual private servers (or VPS for short) pick up the slack.  You can think of virtual private servers as the middle man between shared hosting, and dedicated servers (level three).  When working with a VPS, you don’t have to concern yourself with the fixed limitations of shared hosting anymore.

Upon signing up for a VPS account, you are given dedicated ram, bandwidth, and storage space for all the websites on your account.  Typically the only thing that’s shared among users of a VPS is processing power (the CPU).  Users also have free reign over the system, allowing them to tweak and modify everything to their heart’s content.  Which essentially means no more pesky upload errors in sight, since you’re now able to modify the apache configuration file!  Not only that, but no natter what others do on their system (aside from CPU intensive task), you can feel safe knowing your websites will be unaffected.

Should I Get a VPS?

The short answer to this would be “I have no idea”.  It’s really impossible for us to know everyones unique situation.  However, you can get a general feel for whether or not you need one by answering these questions:

  1. Does your website traffic exceed 5,000 unique visitors per month?
  2. Do you run multiple websites?
  3. Is your website serving mostly dynamic (content that frequently changes) content?
  4. Are you intending to run a SaaS (Software as a Service) business?
  5. Do you ever intend to do more than run a few blogs?

If you answered yes to at least three of those questions, it’s highly likely that you should get in touch with Chillybin, we have a number of VPS packages available for you, either in Australia or Singapore, and allow us to provide you with the web hosting your site needs.  While they typically cost a little more than shared hosting, virtual private servers are very cost effective, and well worth the investment for anyone serious about running websites.

Shaan Nicol

I help business owners increase profits by bringing their vision to life with a world-class website and gold-standard website support. Let’s connect!