In the past, small businesses have had to use shared hosting services to host their Web sites or have been forced to take on the financial burden of in-house dedicated hosting. For many, shared hosting was the only answer as the budget did not allow for the purchase of necessary hardware, software and paying an IT professional.
Three new hosting solutions are now available to businesses: virtual dedicated servers, virtual private servers and cloud servers.
Both virtual dedicated servers and virtual private servers are similar with some key differences. Both are great for small businesses that are ready to move out of a shared hosting situation, but do not have the budget for an actual dedicated server. Both solutions do not require Web sites to share resources with others, and both allow you to host as many Web sites as you want without worrying about running out of space and bandwidth. You have total control of a virtual server and can install as many applications as you’d like. Being virtual in nature, they both have centralized hardware and help save on power.
One key difference between the two is that multiple operating systems can be run on a virtual dedicated server. This is not possible with virtual private servers. However, you can work around this by acquiring multiple virtual private servers and running a different operating system on each of them. Virtual dedicated servers are thought to be more powerful than virtual private ones and more robust as well.
The newest Web hosting solution to hit the scene is known as a cloud server. Also a great solution for very small businesses who expect to grow or experience large spikes in Web traffic, this solution is scalable and grows with your business. Perhaps the best advantage of this solution is its cost effectiveness. Businesses are billed monthly only for resources they use. Authorized business associates have access to data at all times—not just while at the office. Your Web site can grow with your business without having to restructure every time you experience a surge in Web activity.
A disadvantage of the cloud server platform is that you cannot install software that is not a Web based application. Furthermore, installing many Web-based applications can prove to be complicated on cloud servers.
Each business has unique hosting needs. The best way to determine which solution is best for you is to consult with peers and other professionals of similar business practice and size who have used one or more of these solutions. Couple this information with nuances about your particular business to make a final decision.