I have worked in the web hosting industry for about 10 years now professionally. But I have used the products for over 20 years. I am by no means an expert. But I am good at what I do know and can normally fix most issues brought to me.
What I can’t fix is poor planning.
Let’s use this scenario. Your entire business model depends on your web presence. Your income, business revenue, everything comes through your website. Email. Orders for products or services. Sales leads. Everything. Why, would you go to the lowest bidder? Or, why would you not build some sort of redundancy into your web presence, even if manual?
In the “Budget” web hosting industry, there are generally 3 types of hosting offered. Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers, Dedicated Servers. People in the industry know we can get more granular than that but those are the basic levels.
For people that don’t know, I will break down the levels of hosting real quick.
Shared – You share the server (computer) with other accounts. Each account can have 1 to unlimited domains on it with accompanying websites. Let’s use 10 as an easy number to use mathematically. And these numbers do not represent any particular policy for any particular company. Shared server number EC01 has 100 accounts on it. Each account has 10 websites. That’s 1000 websites all being presented to the world. Potentially at the same time.
If any one of those sites is compromised (hacked) and is doing “stuff” that requires a lot of the server’s processing resources, CPU, memory, hard drive space… it absolutely WILL affect the other 999 websites. It will slow them down, stop the flow of email or even cause them to not be available. This type of hosting is what made websites affordable for nearly everyone in the world. I personally have a shared account that costs $12.00 per year.
Think of shared hosting as living in an apartment building.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) – VPS hosting is similar but a little more segregated. Your account is assigned a specific amount of resources. CPU processors, memory, hard drive space. No one else can encroach on those resources. However, it is still one server, one machine, one computer, sliced up into private sections. Far fewer accounts typically and far less likely to be affected by other users on the machine. Not totally immune from cross effects but far less likely. The web server this article was originally published on was a VPS.
Think of VPS hosting as living in a townhouse or row house.
Dedicated Server – Just exactly what the name implies. You have the machine all to yourself. No aspect of it is shared with anyone else. Unless you get a sketchy provider that is actually provisioning large VPSs and selling them as dedicated.
Think of dedicated hosting as living in a single family home.
The one thing that all 3 of those platforms have in common is that they are ONE SERVER. One machine. One computer. One point of failure. Just like your laptop, desktop or even your phone/tablet, they are a single machine. If you drop your phone in the lake and it dies, you are generally out of a phone. If you pour coffee on your laptop you are generally out of a laptop. This is no different.
Why would you put your absolute life blood in the hands of a third party without a back up plan? It’s YOUR revenue stream. Your income. And when it fails, you blame the web hosting provider. When in fact, the failure is yours.
BACK UP YOUR WEBSITE! BACK UP YOUR EMAILS! Have a contingency plan in case of a catastrophic failure of your ONE server. I personally back up my sites daily OFF SERVER and have a duplicate server standing by to bring my sites back up with in minutes in case of a failure. I do this and I DON’T depend on my servers for my revenue stream. Total cost? $30 a month. How much is your income worth?
I can fix servers. I can not fix poor planning.