You know the drill. You want to set up a website, you get all excited about the ideas and the concepts and are really happy you managed to get the domain name you were after. But now what? It’s time to check out where and how you are going to host your new website.
Thankfully web hosting is much cheaper than it used to be several years ago, so as far as price is concerned, there isn’t an awful lot of difference. However, performance counts when it comes to trying to get your site to rank.
The three kinds of hosting are shared, dedicated and VPS. Let’s take a look at the hosting options in more detail:
This is your everyday hosting, and what most people tend to use. It’s ideal for personal sites/blogs like this or smaller scale sites, for example – about pirates hat (it’s a US guys – www.mlb.com/pirates) and other stuff.
It simply means your website is hosted on the same server as a bunch of other sites and if that server goes down, all sites hosted on it do.
This is more for heavy duty websites or sites where the company wants to keep everything separate and have more control.
Think of it like having a computer in the office that is there purely to house your website and uploaded files.
Everything is kept on here for your site(s) only, so if you have trouble with this, it is only your site(s) affected. This server can be based anywhere in the world, but companies sometimes prefer to have it on site.
What happens if you need something in between? Need just that bit more than shared hosting, but don’t want the commitment of a dedicated server? Then a VPS is likely to be a good solution for you.
This is a great middle ground, as some elements (such as RAM and Disk space) are dedicated to you but you share the CPU. This means it is very flexible and allows for quick expansion if you’re expecting a sudden rush of traffic (viral activity, PR, National news coverage etc).
Well, it now affects you more than it used to, so it pays to consider this step of getting your website online very carefully.
There are two main reasons it affects you.
One reason is the search engine spiders will be crawling your site regularly and they need to be able to read what you have. The last thing you want is for your site to be down. You may get away with this once, but if it starts to happen regularly, you can be sure that your rankings will start to take a hit.
Your hosting must be able to allow your site to be visible as much as possible (i.e. 99.9%) I have seen rankings drop quite heavily for sites that are regularly down. If that spider comes knocking at that time – expect it to be disappointed.
This is a relatively new factor that Google pays attention to (not heard if Yahoo and Bing tend to yet) and this is that if your site loads faster, Google prefers this and it has even been mentioned it is considered enough to affect ranking.
As to how much weight is put to this, it’s not really clear, but the more streamlined you can make your site the better. Now, of course, this isn’t just down to your hosting. You need to help out here by optimizing your images and compressing as much as you can. Having clean code will also help.
You just don’t want to go to all that trouble and then you have a dog of a host/server that takes ages to load your site.
You need to make sure your site is in tip-top shape when it comes to performance, and your hosting choice does have an impact on this so be sure to choose something substantial for your needs.
Like I say – most sites, shared hosting should be fine – just make sure your bandwidth (amount of traffic you can receive) is enough!