A little background.
Website hosting across the board traditionally only comes in three(3) basic flavors.
- Shared hosting
- Managed website hosting
- Virtual private server, better known as VPS hosting
A few variations have emerged in attempts to make consumer-viable hosting better, faster, and cheaper. Managed VPS hosting is what I’d like to think was my best find of 2018. .. and I still stand by it in 2024
Now, let’s take a minute to review your options.
1. Shared hosting is not so good. Here’s why!
That super-cheap hosting that you saw in that ad is developed by putting your website and many other people’s websites on the same server. That’s why it’s called Shared Hosting. While it is cost-effective and beneficial for Go Daddy et al, it exposes you to, not a small amount of risk.
Over the years, I have had many clients on shared hosting, and sooner or later, something would happen that would facilitate moving them to a private server. Malware and blacklisting are only two of the issues that could go wrong.
Shared hosting is the apartment of hosting.
Means that you can’t paint the walls because you don’t own them. When you’re out headhunting a digital consultant and the unfortunately named web developer, Dick – let’s call him WDD for brevity – can’t explain clearly where he’s putting your websites, there is a good chance that you’re in for some troubles. Shared hosting has its place, I’m sure, but for the life of me, I can’t come up with a single reason why you should buy it.
2. Managed Website Hosting. We can still do better, Goldilocks.
Managed Website Hosting is essentially a service that I used to offer back in my web developer days by placing client websites on MY private servers and personally administering them. It is not a bad thing, but Andrew Welch at NY Studio 107 had an apt description: it’s like going from an apartment to a condo. It is a step up, but you still lack ownership.
Managed Hosting…is like living in a condominium in that it’s typically a step up from renting an apartment, but you still don’t own the land you live on.Andrew Welch at NY Studio 107
This means that you still don’t have control over what’s installed on the server and you could still be paying way more money for plain old shared hosting – you don’t know what it is your provider is managing, because it’s obscured by a glut of software. Another pitfall is that “management” is a word with a loose definition. Some providers clearly outline what that means, others do not and it’s a crapshoot as to what you’re getting. Some technicians will just do the work for you and others won’t.
3. VPS Hosting is great! We’re getting warmer.
VPS hosting tends to be cheaper, faster, and scale much better. If you’re a tinkerer like myself, it’s like being given the golden ticket.
The pros of a VPS
- Have a lot of ideas/products/businesses? Add a website for all of them!
- Be the master of your own digital destiny – save your videos, photos, and [insert other digital things here] at a relatively low cost.
The cons of a VPS
The key difficulty with an awesomely agile, virtual private server is that it is just too…keyboard reliant [read nerdy]. I love my clients and I don’t want to see them running screaming with their hair in flames from one good look at what passes for a user interface for me, because they decided to log into their hosting service.
4. Enter Managed VPS hosting. Ahhh – just right!
After a bit of research and testing a while back, I started moving my clients to new servers that I set up with Cloudways Managed VPS hosting. Moving to that super fancy Managed VPS was the largest change that I made all of 2018. It allowed me to cut back on my fees by making it viable for each client to have their own servers.
UHH… WHAT’S SO GREAT?
Newer managed VPS services solve the technological issues by providing a Graphical User Interface for a much-improved user experience.
And now it’s time for a breakdown…of features. Cloudways wooed me with this stuff.
- One-click SSL – at no extra cost
If you care about ever having people visit your site in the two-thousand-teens, you will need an SSL. It’s no longer just for websites that are selling something.
- Integrated Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Simply put, a CDN makes copies of your website around the world, so when people request the pages on your site, their computers get sent a copy from a location that’s closer to them, so the site loads faster.
- Integrated caching and optimization options
Caching is your server saving what your website looks like for a while instead of actually checking the files every time, which can also improve your site speed. The other optimizations include compressing your website – like making a zip/archive file of it.
- 24/7 Support
Support teams that are actually helpful are the key argument for whether or not your service can be called “managed”. Let’s just say managing my own server when someone else was supposed to do it made me super comfortable with the command line interface pretty quickly. Thank you, Media Temple! I couldn’t have gotten that merit badge without you.
AND I SHOULD CARE BECAUSE….?
You may have or plan to get a website for your next big thing. When WDD tells you that his one-of-a-kind e-commerce hosting for the low low price of 1 BILLION 🤑 dollars per month is everything you’ll ever want in website hosting, or when you see that GoDaddy commercial on how cheap and easy it is to get off the ground with them, hopefully, you’ll remember some of these fun facts about hosting from me and make a properly informed decision. Where your website is hosted shouldn’t be an afterthought since it is in fact, step 1 to turning your side hustle into your retirement plan.
There’s a difference between “cheap” and “cost-efficient”. At the time of this writing, you can sign up for a server with 25GB of storage for approximately $10 per month which, contrary to what WDD will tell you, is most likely sufficient for your needs even with your products, images, and videos.
UPDATE January 2024
Cloudways pricing now runs at $11/mo for a standard Digital Ocean server.
Visit the Cloudways website to get started (affiliate link).
Have questions about setting up a new server for your business? Message me!
In case you missed it
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