What’s Next After Shared Hosting?

Is It Time To Upgrade?
The large majority of websites are established using a shared hosting plan. A shared server is exactly that and many websites or organizations share the resources that one host computer has to offer. For a lot of websites the shared bandwidth, disk space, and processor speed that this offers is adequate and shared hosting offers exceptional ease for inexperienced Webmasters. However, some websites will eventually outgrow a shared hosting account either because they require more disk space or more bandwidth or because they require less rigid functionality from their host. In these cases there are several logical steps that can be taken.

A New Shared Host?
Upgrading to a larger shared account should be the first option you consider. Most hosting providers have numerous layers of account that each offers different amounts of disk space, bandwidth, and features. If you can stay with the same host it should involve very little work to upgrade your account to the higher level, and usually this will be the most cost efficient method of ensuring that your site remains in tact and receives the upgrade it needs. Alternatively find a proactive host that offers a better package and try to ensure that they help you as much as possible with the transfer.

Reseller Hosting Accounts Generally Offer More
Reseller accounts aren’t necessarily reserved for those looking to resell hosting packages and even the smallest reseller packages generally offer really good cost savings when compared to the equivalent hosting plan. The only potential difficult you might run into is the transfer of your site from your shared plan. Speak to your host and ask how feasible it would be, and if worse comes to worst then try to prepare any site downtime to occur when you are typically at your quietest. Always try to pre-warn regular visitors about downtime by giving some notice on the pages of your site and make the outage as short as possible.

Virtual Private Servers
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is similar to shared hosting in many ways. You will only be one of several people whose websites are served on one host; however, partitions are placed on the host machine. This is a much more stable method of hosting and it also means that you can usually request the amount of disk space and bandwidth that you require at the time. In a lot of cases it is also possible, and easy, to upgrade to a larger share of the host at a future date.

Dedicated Hosting – The Benefits Of A Private Server Without The Cost
Dedicated hosting is more expensive than any of these options. Usually starting at around $100 per month, though, this gives you the resource of an entire server for you and you alone. You are able to dispense with any software you don’t require and install only the applications you need. You also receive a lot more disk space and much greater bandwidth than with all of the above options. It will require a transfer of your site from your existing package to your dedicated server but the hosting provider will usually be able to provide a seamless transition to a large extent. Keep your shared hosting account until your site is ready on your dedicated server and then make the change. This should eliminate or greatly reduce any down time for your visitors.

Colocation Hosting
Colocation hosting is the daddy of all hosting possibilities, apart from running your own server in your own property. This means you buy a host machine but instead of finding the room and setting aside the resource for it in your own property you collocate within a data center belonging to another host or organization. While colocation means you can purchase the precise host machine you want you don’t generally gain any more disk space or bandwidth when compared to a dedicated server plan. The initial outlay of purchasing the host machine as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs make this a very expensive, though flexible, option.

A Private Server
The final choice is a private server. We’ve already discussed the fact that purchasing a server is not cheap but if you intend to keep your own server on your own property it becomes even more cost restrictive. The server room needs to offer optimal conditions to ensure that you get a long life out of your server and that during this time you get the most out of it. You will generally need to provide two power sources from totally different providers. If there is a power cut on one grid you should have a backup source of power to prevent any service downtime. You will also need to provide cabling and connections.

Security is always an issue. Data theft is big business to a lot of people and most data centers offer around the clock protection with CCTV and security guards. Managing your server can be a difficult or costly task. If you do not currently employ anyone within your organization with the appropriate, specialist networking skills then you will need to do so. Again, this is another cost to add to an already mounting bill. As with colocation when your server becomes obsolete or needs upgrading you are the one responsible for any costs incurred. If you need to purchase a new server then you will have to buy it and the depreciation in value that your old server has faced will mean that you are unlikely to get anything back from that one.

Conclusion
There are a lot of options when it comes time to upgrade from your existing shared hosting plan. The most obvious is to move to a better plan with greater bandwidth and larger disk space. However, if you need more then you should consider a virtual private server or a dedicated server. Purchasing your own server is a financial burden that few of us can really afford and a dedicated server is the next best thing.