Understanding the purpose of hosted services can help you choose what is right for your business.
What Are Hosted Services?
With hosted services, a web hosting provider allows you to upload business data onto their servers. Essentially, you are renting the provider’s resources to store data instead of maintaining a hard drive.
Not only can you pay for storage space, but web hosting service options may also include security, support, backups, updates, and maintenance.
Key Terminology To Understand Hosting
Some key terms to know as you review options from hosting providers:
- Domain Name – how customers access your business website over the internet
- Domain Name System – how domain names are translated into IP addresses
- Web Hosting Service – server space you pay a provider to use
- Server – the main computer that hosts and stores your website
- Bandwidth – limited or unlimited amount of data that you can send or receive from the server
- Control Delivery Network – strategically placed servers in various locations to deliver content faster
- Content Management System – where you can create and manage a website
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL) – the place that secures connections between your business and the server and is offered as a free service when you buy a web hosting plan
- Secure File Transfer Protocol – used to support bulk transfers and transferring large files
- Uptime – a guarantee from the hosting service provider of uninterrupted accessibility
- Site backups – regular archiving of data to ensure website restoration if a problem occurs
Types of Hosted Services
There are many types of hosted services to consider for your organization:
Shared Web Hosting
As the name implies, shared web hosting is a single server for different users. Considered the best option for small businesses and startups, this type of hosted service is good for a small amount of web traffic.
However, a business has the option to upgrade as they begin to grow. In the meantime, the business can operate from a leveled playing field. They can showcase products and services with better online exposure.
Typically, shared hosting plans are inexpensive because the website uses the same server as other websites.
Virtual Private Server
This type of service is similar to a shared hosting service. However, the virtual private server acts as a middle ground between shared hosting and a dedicated server, which is discussed below. The primary difference between VPS and shared hosting is how resources are allocated.
Choosing a virtual private server means sharing hardware resources with other businesses that opt for this hosting platform. Still, it might be the better option for your business if providing visitors with a better user experience matters for your core business.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Some consider WordPress web hosting services to offer a better solution for businesses. Essentially, the hosting provider manages the security, backups, and updates on this hosting platform. The cost is worth not worrying about an unmanaged service.
Furthermore, you are free to focus on core business goals since the provider manages the hosting functions. The hosting services provider has the technical resources to protect your business website from cybersecurity threats.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Compared to shared or managed WordPress, the dedicated web hosting service is a more expensive option. But, typically, established businesses can benefit greatly from this hosting solution.
By selecting this option, you have complete control and do not have to share server resources with other businesses. Businesses with an e-commerce store that expects a lot of traffic can use this web hosting service to their advantage.
An example of this is never worrying about a slowdown since you are not sharing resources. What you pay for a dedicated web hosting service depends on specific business requirements.
Possible Downsides to Hosted Services
Considering which hosted service is right for your business depends on how it can fit seamlessly into your overall strategy. After all, the technology environment is there to support your business, not the other way around.
As you narrow your choices, the potential downsides to using hosted web services cannot be overlooked.
Limited Room for Growth
When you use shared hosting services, you will constrain your ability to grow. This is particularly concerning when an opportunity for growth occurs sooner than expected. For instance, you may introduce a new product line that becomes the next viral sensation.
You do not want the limitations of sharing a server to cause you to lose out on a business opportunity. And, even with an unlimited hosting option, you may have to pay penalties for exceeding the allocated threshold.
Lax Data Security
No matter the size of your business, you need to know that your data is secure. This is especially concerning when you entrust this valuable asset to an outside provider. Data breaches can occur within small or large corporations.
Having to store website data, which may include the customers’ personal and financial data, at an offsite location is concerning. Therefore, you need a hosting provider with a trusted reputation.
Costs May Increase
A web hosting provider will typically offer a plan for the first year they provide the service. If you are given an introductory discount, that cost may increase the following year. In addition to discounts, you may pay more as your site grows.
Be sure to plan for increases in your budget, particularly if you anticipate growth over the years.