Manage Your Hosting Plan: When To Switch to Dedicated HostingAuthor: Danny Ong
Seeing your website grow in popularity is a great experience. However, the typical growing pains can cause considerable problems if your bandwidth does not grow accordingly. For websites that have grown beyond the limits of their original hosting plan, dedicated servers are an ideal option. This is essentially a server dedicated entirely to your website. In contrast, entry-level hosting plans place your website on a server with dozens of other pages. This is perfect for small websites with a modest amount of traffic, but larger sites require their own server sooner or later. The trickiest part can be ascertaining exactly when to make the switch.
The first thing to take into consideration is bandwidth. This is typically the first problem area when a site is too big for its server. The most severe symptom of stretching bandwidth to the limit is a slow website. Websites that take ages to load are not only frustrating for users, but it will result in search engines lowering your site's position in the rankings. No search engine wants to displease their users by sending them to pages that load slowly or not at all. Checking your site's log of error messages can clue you in to how well the site's bandwidth is working. It is also helpful to visit the site yourself at various times of the day. If the site loads slowly during peak traffic hours, it is most likely time to upgrade to a dedicated server.
Dedicated hosting offers many advantages. Your page will load much faster even with huge amounts of traffic. Most dedicated hosting accounts offer additional services as well. Backup and recovery services can be quite helpful for restoring your site to a former state following a catastrophic loss of data. Firewall and anti-spam software keep the site free of viruses and other malicious code. Denial-of-service attacks are another concern for webmasters these days. Fortunately, a dedicated hosting account with DDoS protection and mitigation can dramatically reduce the effect of such attacks. Dedicated hosting accounts can be fully managed, which allows hands-off operation, or they may be self-managed or unmanaged for webmasters who prefer to control every aspect of their software, updates, and patches. Physical security is another advantage; dedicated hosting services often house their servers inside of reinforced buildings with controlled entry.
It is important to make sure you have a genuine need for dedicated hosting before making the switch. The biggest concern is the considerably higher cost of dedicated hosting. Taking on this cost without having the traffic and monetization to match can turn a profitable website into a money pit. It is crucial to have plans to grow your traffic and profits before switching to a dedicated hosting account. When your site begins loading slowly or crashing when it has reached the maximum amount of bandwidth, start shopping around for dedicated hosting. Almost every major hosting company as well as numerous smaller ones offer this service. A wide variety of custom options are always available to meet your needs.
Danny Ong gives valuable tips on web hosting to individuals and businesses. He also writes on dedicated server options and how to choose the best plan for your business.