The challenges of ensuring website content is always available often get overlooked. There’s an understandable focus on tangible aspects like page design and SEO, but the mechanics of reliably streaming information to user devices frequently appears as an afterthought. Yet web hosting is more important than any aesthetic or ranking factors. Without it, there wouldn’t be an internet to browse and interact with.
To server and protect
The task of making HTML code, media files and interactive databases available to the public is undertaken by servers. These huge disk drives are stored in climate-controlled data centers, with military-grade security. Their job is to host every aspect of public-facing websites in a secure and easily accessible manner, offering sufficient internet bandwidth to distribute content to anyone who requests it. That’s fairly easy under normal traffic levels, but servers have to cope with spikes in traffic volumes – such as when a company is referenced on TV, or at midnight on Boxing Day when sales begin.
There are two main types of network servers. Dedicated servers are used exclusively by one client, whereas shared servers are sub-divided among several users. With shared servers, each client has exclusive access to a partitioned section of the server’s hard drive. There’s no way of knowing how many other firms also have a presence; the only indication a server is shared comes on invoices and other documentation. Conscientious web hosting firms (like us) will divide each server between clients in different industries and time zones, to ensure an even spread of demand throughout each 24-hour period.
From a small business perspective, shared servers provide some compelling advantages:
Less technical knowledge is required.
Shared servers are maintained by service providers like WestHost. It’s our responsibility to handle server admin and disk management, ensuring each device is performing optimally.
Costs are lower.
A server shared between six different companies will result in far lower charges for each client, since hardware costs and maintenance expenses can also be split equally. This can help bring superior hardware within budget.
Clients still enjoy complete freedom.
Each user receives a custom CMS login, a dedicated IP address and full control over uploaded content. In normal daily operations, shared and dedicated servers are indistinguishable.
Security is taken care of.
We mentioned above how web servers occupy dedicated premises with round-the-clock security. On-site IT experts are constantly repelling online threats including DDoS attacks, comment spam, and malware.
Companies with multiple websites are catered for.
Many firms have sub-brands or spin-offs requiring a separate online presence. A shared server could support several components of a single parent company, with unique web addresses and databases.
Small-to-medium-sized businesses rarely need the resources of a dedicated server, so shared servers represent an ideal starting point for a modestly-sized enterprise. If data needs increase over time, a larger proportion of the server can be acquired. And if the firm becomes a runaway success, upgrading to dedicated hosting is always an option…