What type of hosting suits your online shop?

As explained in the previous topic 'forms of Online Shop Hosting exist', there are four basic types of web hosting: free hosting, shared hosting, dedicated hosting and collocated hosting. This article will help you decide which type is best for your business.


Free hosting. Who's it good for?


A start-up on a tight budget can save a little money. Free hosting might suit, say, a tradesperson (electrician, plumber, etc) who simply wants people in the local community to see what the tradesperson does and how to get in touch.


Who isn't it so good for?

Free hosting is rarely good for proper ecommerce applications (webshops). What you save on hosting fees is usually outweighed by other (hidden) costs, e.g. customers who go elsewhere because they don't like the advertising or get tired of waiting for pages to load. In most cases, you will also miss out on the provider's top-end services, such as 24/7 support, webshop software, database support and advanced security features.


Shared hosting. Who's it good for?


Compared with dedicated and collated hosting, shared hosting's big plus point is cost. The downside is performance. So it suits enterprises with smaller budgets and less exacting technical requirements. Most start-ups are fine with shared hosting. This option is also good for established webshops that don't generate high traffic levels (tens or hundreds of visitors per day, not thousands) and don't use bandwidth-greedy content (mainly video).


Who isn't it so good for?

For webshops that have consistently high traffic, or very high traffic peaks, shared hosting is probably inadequate. What you save in hosting charges, you more than lose in trade that goes elsewhere. Visitors move on if a site won't load pages or interactive content. Sharing can also bring security risks, which bigger businesses can't afford. Finally, the hoster may impose limits on disk space or bandwidth that don't suit a big operation.


Dedicated hosting. Who's it good for?


Dedicated hosting suits webshops that require a lot of system resources, or need a higher level of security. That means shops with complex offerings – large product ranges, interactive features (e.g. product demos) and database requirements (e.g. customer account functionalities). It also means sites that attract high levels of traffic, especially if that traffic is concentrated in peaks, when large numbers of users require content at the same time.


Who isn't it so good for?

Dedicated hosting can be pricy. Any business whose turnover makes the price hard to justify is probably better off with a shared option. It's usually assumed that a dedicated hosting customer is a large organisation with a skilled site administrator. If you don't have that kind of expertise in house, this option may not be for you.

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