For start-up e-commerce sites, virtual private servers beat shared hosting

You started your e-commerce business with an inexpensive shared Web hosting service. Now that your business has begun expanding, you’ve come to realise that there’s a limit to the quality of service shared hosting can offer, but you are unsure about the best next step to take. Do you stay with your shared hosting package or upgrade to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) package?

Your decision on this matter isn’t something that should be taken with levity, especially because the hosting service you settle on can make the difference between your online business growing into a monumental success or fizzling out like a lost cause.

Below are a few reasons to break up with your shared hosting provider so that you can start a new relationship with a VPS hosting provider that offers a brighter future.

Shared hosting 

Most of the companies currently offering shared hosting services tend to make lofty promises; they’ll assure you that they can provide unlimited resources for your website, as well as offer a platform capable of running several programs which are installable with a single click. All these promises will come alongside low prices for shared hosting or even a free hosting service. However, no matter how tempting the offer, it doesn’t change the fact that when your e-commerce site starts to receive significant Internet traffic, the shortcomings of shared hosting will become blindingly evident.

Shared Web hosting can only be considered appropriate for an e-commerce site in one of the following situations:
·         Shared hosting is used to test run a prototype of your e-commerce site before the opening of the original one.
·         You are opening a niche website with an already familiar name that’s trusted by established customers who won’t mind slow-loading page speeds.

Sharing an SSL certificate

A fair number of shared hosting providers reduce their costs of operation to be able to offer you hosting services at lowest prices by providing a shared SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate. SSL is necessary for creating a secure connection between servers and clients. If you’re sharing an SSL certificate with other websites, the security purpose of the protocol is defeated. Not only that, customers on an e-commerce site are less likely to have confidence in your business if they see any warning signs concerning the integrity of your website’s SSL certificate such as when an SSL certificate doesn’t match a site’s domain name.

Virtual private server

Every business tries to ensure its profitability by cutting costs and reducing expenses. So it’s understandable why you might opt for shared hosting due to its cheap nature — but the limited resources that come with shared hosting don’t bode well for your business’s prosperity.

Thus, be sure only to use a hosting provider that can support your business into the future and offer all the scalability you need; don’t run the risk of having to interrupt your business services midstream to change to a better server. Dedicated hosting, or colocation, are excellent hosting services you could opt for, but they cost more than most upcoming businesses can afford. Fortunately, VPS can offer all the benefits you need at a fair and affordable price.

How does VPS work?

VPS operates by splitting a physical server into several virtual servers. The splitting, or partitioning, of the server, is accomplished with virtualisation software. The amount of resources your website will have access to when hosted on a VPS is dependent on the hardware setup you purchase. The separated virtual partition allotted solely to your site will provide a specified amount of RAM, bandwidth, disk space, CPU, and so on.

Advantages of VPS

·         Activities of websites hosted on VPS are isolated from neighbouring website activities

When a neighbouring website on the VPS is experiencing a surge in traffic or experiencing problems, your website on the same server will not be affected. The only scenario in which your site will suffer a fault on the server is if the virtual machine itself crashes.

·         Website loading speed is guaranteed

Regardless of how much activity your adjacent websites have on the server, or whatever else is happening on the machine, the speed of your site is guaranteed. If your hosting service states that two CPUs have been allotted to your site, nothing will change this arrangement during the duration of your service. The same thing applies to the amount of RAM allocated to your website on a VPS, which will remain unchanged regardless of the activities of other websites on the server machine. These arrangements are unlike shared hosting where the activities of other websites can negatively affect your site’s loading speeds, or eat into the server resources allotted to you.

·         Stability is more or less assured

The instability and inconsistencies that are inherent in shared hosting services don’t occur on VPS. These hiccups are absent thanks to the virtualisation software on a VPS which dedicatedly shares resources among users and guarantees your e-commerce site gets all the resources it needs when it needs it. Also, VPS hosting promises efficient backup and data recovery from all your platforms and devices so that your business can run efficiently. There’s a virtual demo of what an unstable data backup looks like at https://cloud-backup.umbrellar.nz.

·         Guaranteed memory space

Shared hosting companies who claim that they can provide unlimited disk space are often running a con. What you’ll likely get from such an arrangement is limited disk space which is shared too thinly among too many users. This predicament doesn’t happen with VPS hosting as the agreed upon amount of disk space that you have paid for is reserved exclusively for the use of your website. Whether the disk space is actively used or unused by your site, it is reserved exclusively for your usage.

With these advantages, VPS is unquestionably the way to go if you are serious about running an e-commerce website and are looking to do so in a cost-effective manner. Shared hosting might be cheaper, but it can’t provide the sort of security, reliability, and resources a VPS plan can offer.

James Cummings, business psychologist and serial entrepreneur
Image Credit: Scanrail1 / Shutterstock