Small businesses today have many more options for web hosting than we used to. Of course, you have to make the decision about what is best for your situation, but here are a few alternatives to consider.
- Shared Hosting – This is basic web hosting. The downside to shared hosting is that it is the least secure and least expensive kind of hosting. Most small businesses will do fine with shared hosting, but it isn’t for every one. If you feel that you may need more space or tighter security then you should discuss your options with a hosting expert.
Dedicated Hosting – Dedicated hosting is more secure. You can opt for managed or unmanaged hosting. If you go with unmanaged hosting you’ll have to provide the resources to manage the servers. That will save you money, but if you don’t have an IT department, network administrator, or access to personnel to manage your servers for you then you should go with a managed hosting service.
Dedicated hosting is more expensive than shared hosting. Managed is more expensive than unmanaged hosting. But the security is much, much tighter.
Cloud Computing – Many companies are now starting to use cloud computing, which is essentially a decentralized way of storing data. Small businesses can benefit from this type of computing, but it too has its disadvantages.
One of the main advantages to cloud computing is that it opens up opportunities for small businesses to take advantage of some of the same resources that large companies have enjoyed for a long time with minimal cost. You pay as you go for the services that you use. This way you don’t have to pay for huge packages of services that you have no need of. It can be less expensive than dedicated hosting or more expensive depending on the services you need. Security is often not as tight as it is with a dedicated server, but if you shop around you can find an adequate service provider with excellent security on its servers.
There are other options as well, but I’ll leave a discussion of cluster server environments for another time. These are perhaps the best options for most small businesses. If you think you may need more options beyond your basic shared hosting plan then call an expert and get a professional opinion.