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Hosting Solutions for Startups – Shared, Dedicated and Cloud Platforms Compared

Hosting Solutions for Startups – Shared, Dedicated and Cloud Platforms Compared

There are so many different types of hosting that you don’t know where to start. For a startup company, you know that your hosting decisions are crucial for the future of the business, but there are so many articles fuelled by affiliate fervor that it is nearly impossible to get an unbiased picture of what you need.

This article thus contains no affiliate links, and we will give you independent advice on the best way to meet your startup’s hosting needs.

There are a few factors to consider when choosing your web hosting solution:

  • Speed
  • Security
  • Up-Time
  • Cost

Speed is an important factor in ensuring an excellent user experience and search-ability.

Security can never be total. Rather, there are degrees of security. It depends on the risks you are prepared to take.

Up-Time will never be 100%. However, you can get very close to 100% up-time if you use the right hosting choices.

Cost will always be a factor. A business will need to consider not only outright costs, but also total cost of ownership, and whether costs can be factored in as capital or operational expenses. Sometimes, higher initial costs pay for themselves with better performance and profitability, but this is not always the case.

Shared Hosting

This is the simplest and least expensive option for most small businesses. However, shared hosting means your site will be much slower and will share a server with scores, even hundreds, of other websites. If any one of the other site owners does something they shouldn’t be doing, you could find your server crashing.

One way to think of shared hosting is to imagine your favorite football stadium as an emergency accommodation center, covered with small tents. Each tent represents one website.

Shared hosting appears cheap, but is totally unsuitable except for the most basic business website that doesn’t expect much in terms of traffic and availability. For an already-profitable company, or for a startup looking to launch a product, it is not even cheap when you add in costs of down-time and potential hacker attacks. Downtime is a killer. Forget it.

Speed: 1/10, Security: 1/10, Up-time: 3/10, Cost: High (when downtime costs are included)

Dedicated Server Hosting

With a dedicated server you get your own server and your own IP address along with a much faster website. This is the minimum level of hosting that a startup should be looking into when already launching a minimum viable product (MVP) intended for public use or to demonstrate to investors. However, the limiting factor is the capability of the dedicated server. Because the infrastructure can be brought down with only a single point of failure or overload, your traffic and usage can only go as high as the server can let you.

Dedicated hosting can be compared to a house on its own very small plot of land. It is private, not affected by neighbors but there is no yard, so expansion is not possible.

Speed: 6/10, Security: 5/10, Up-time: 6/10, Cost: Medium

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting has one massive advantage: It is almost infinitely scalable.

It can also save your startup significant amounts of money. If you only expect to need massive server resources during rare instances, then it is cheaper to pay as you go, with a cloud service, rather than to run one high-spec dedicated or virtual server.

You could compare cloud hosting to an apartment in a city of empty apartment blocks. You have total privacy and all those other apartments to expand into if necessary, but you only pay rent on them if you need them.

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