For a new small business, money is often tight. One way that many new businesses keep startup costs under control is by choosing shared web hosting for their business website. With shared web hosting, the company’s website is hosted on a server shared by multiple businesses. Providers like GoDaddy, HostGator and Yahoo offer hosting services for a low monthly fee. For businesses without the budget or skills to manage dedicated servers, shared hosting is adequate.
That is, until the site slows down because of high server traffic. Or when the provider experiences a DDOS attack (such as the one launched on GoDaddy in 2012), taking all of the hosted sites offline. Or when the actions of one of the other hosted sites leads to penalties on the IP address from Google, effectively undoing all of the hard work that your business has done to maximize its SEO.
While shared hosting has its advantages (mostly in terms of cost) and works for some businesses, companies that are committed to providing top-notch customer service, dedicated hosting is a better choice.
Private Hosting Equals Better Security
One of the major drawbacks to shared hosting is that it’s shared. Your company is not the only one accessing the server. While most shared hosting providers do an admirable job maintaining the security of their servers, you cannot discount the sense of security that comes from knowing that your company is the only one with access to the server. There is less risk of your business becoming the victim of a hacker targeting someone else on the server, or the provider itself.
Not to mention, if you are collecting certain types of data on your site, including customer financial data, you must meet specific security guidelines as mandated by law. When you have your own dedicated server, you control the security and are sure that the latest industry standards and protocols are being met. You know where your data is, and what’s being done to protect it — information you might not have on a shared server. This allows you to provide your customers with greater assurance that you’re doing everything you can to protect their information.
Private Hosting Equals Less Downtime and Faster Page Loading
You decide to run a flash sale on your most popular products — the exact same day as one of the other businesses using the shared server. If the shared server isn’t equipped to handle the sudden increase in traffic, then your customers could experience slow-loading pages, errors or even be unable to access the site at all. Since studies show that users give pages literally seconds to load before clicking away to another site, you simply cannot afford to have your site slow down due to an overloaded server. Your customers expect that your site is going to work when they want it, and a dedicated server will help ensure that happens.
Private Hosting Means Less Spam
One of the biggest complaints about shared hosting is that shared servers tend to collect more spam than private sites. Shared hosting services usually run high-powered spam filters, but when you have your own private server, you have more control over firewall configuration to better manage traffic — and block spambots that wreak havoc on your site and drive customers away.
Private Hosting is More Reliable
Not only does private hosting help prevent the site slowdowns associated with heavy traffic on a shared server, it also helps prevent the site downtime that can occur if the host’s server goes down or another site on the server causes trouble.
That’s not to say that privately hosted sites never go down, but when you’re in control of your own server, you can solve the problem more quickly or move to a backup to get back up and running sooner, without waiting for tech support that may or may not make your site a priority.
Private Hosting May Help with SEO
No one really knows for sure, but there is some speculation that a site’s IP address could be a factor in determining search result rankings. It’s possible that private IP addresses could rank higher; some even suspect that sites that share servers with known spam or adult content sites could be penalized in search results. While no one outside of Google knows for sure, if SEO is a major priority, it might be best to invest in private hosting to avoid trouble and attract customers who are looking for your product or service.
Private web hosting isn’t perfect, but for businesses that need to provide the best online experience for their customers, it’s a more perfect solution than shared hosting. Compare the costs of private hosting with the costs of losing customers, and chances are you’ll see that it’s a worthwhile investment.