One of the first decisions you will make when starting a business is how to give your business an appealing presence on the Internet. Depending on your budget and your data needs, you will need to either rent space on a server, or purchase your own server.
Virtual Hosting refers to a situation in which many websites are hosted on the same physical hardware. Two options for Virtual Hosting are Shared Virtual Hosting, and a Virtual Private Server.
Shared Virtual Hosting is popular for small businesses, because of its low cost. For around $50 per month on average, you can have your web site hosted by a hosting company with an administrator to deal with settings, server software, and maintenance. In Shared Virtual Hosting, a file directory is set up for your domain and for all the other domains housed on the server. Each domain shares a web server, mail server, and other software. While this may suit a business owner who doesn’t have the time or the skills to take care of a dedicated server, there are also disadvantages to Shared Virtual Hosting.
One disadvantage is that in a shared hosting environment, one domain can dominate usage of the CPU, memory, or disk space. That means that fewer data crunching resources are available for other domain accounts on the server. Additionally, with shared web and mail software, a technical glitch on one domain could cause a system crash, causing your domain to crash as well.
Security is less robust in shared hosting. Each domain is protected by file-level passwords, which may not be secure enough for some business applications. Additionally, configuration settings at the hardware level are also shared, which limits your ability to configure the hosting environment for only your account.
A Virtual Private Server uses special software to mimic a full, dedicated server for each account. To the account holder, it is as if a server is dedicated exclusively to his or her web domain. This eliminates many of the disadvantages of Shared Virtual Hosting. There are also other advantages to using a Virtual Private Server.
One advantage is that each Virtual Private Server, or VPS, is partitioned from all other VPSs. The VPS is also independent from the physical hardware, meaning you can move a VPS “container” from one physical server to another easily. That means that a crash on somebody else’s VPS will not affect your VPS.
Each VPS has its own assigned portion of CPU, memory, and disk space, so that one VPS is not allowed to dominate any of these resources. Plus, each VPS has the same security as if it were a “real” dedicated server, meaning there is no contamination of one virtual server’s data by another. Each VPS has its own set of virtual controls that allow you to administer your domain yourself.
While VPS service costs more than Shared Virtual Hosting, it still costs much less than non-virtual, or “real” Private Hosting. Hosting companies generally provide an array of VPS options based on your performance and security needs. These plans usually range from $20 per month to $200 per month. Shared Virtual Hosting usually costs between $5 and $30 per month.