If you’re a Shared Hosting customer (with Namecheap or another provider), take a moment to answer the following questions:
- Is your website gaining traffic?
- Is your website speed slowing down?
- Is your website facing downtime?
- Is your website an e-commerce one?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, chances are it’s time to move on up, hosting-wise. Remember that entry-level Shared Hosting typically suits 1-3 websites and provides just enough resources to establish and maintain your small business/project’s online presence.
The main reason for limiting the number of websites on Shared Hosting is what we call the Noisy Neighbor problem — or the fact that when one Shared Hosting customer makes a mistake or experiences a technical difficulty, it’ll likely impact other sites because you are all sharing space on the same machine.
As your business grows, you might consider other hosting options, As with any investment, choose wisely. You don’t want to lose out on potential growth or suffer a business loss due to a lack of resources needed for proper hosting of your website.
In terms of cost, Shared Hosting is definitely the most affordable option, VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting sits comfortably in the middle, and Dedicated Server Hosting is the priciest of the bunch.
To help make your decision, let’s break down some of the top signs that you’ve outgrown your current Shared Hosting plan as well as walk you through the different types of hosting out there and how they compare to one another.
Is Everything Optimized?
First and foremost, check to see if there are any issues with optimization, both on your server and your respective website(s). How? By analyzing their respective performance.
This simply means recognizing when your server is slow and investigating any errors or warnings that appear on your server logs. This might just be the result of a poorly-optimized service such as MySQL. Although it’s possible for you to check this yourself, a hosting provider’s support team can help to make sure.
If you’ve also started to add more content (files and pages) to your website and you’ve noticed an increase in user traffic, this is the perfect time to test your website’s ability to handle concurrent users. Our recommendations? The handy k6 tool and PageSpeed Insights from Google.
When to Upgrade within Shared Hosting
Let’s say you’re a relatively happy Shared Hosting customer but you’re beginning to notice the following signs:
- Your databases and files are exceeding their specific set limits
- Your outgoing emails to your customers/website visitors take longer to be delivered
- Your CPU and other resources (Virtual Memory or Entry Processes) are running out
As the name suggests, Shared Hosting means that you’re sharing resources with other users. If you’re not quite ready to make the leap to VPS or Dedicated Server Hosting, this is the perfect time to explore other options within Shared Hosting. Although this differs from hosting provider to provider, many offer several plans with additional resources under the Shared Hosting blanket.
Namecheap, for example, features three plans: Stellar, Stellar Plus, and Stellar Business. With premium Shared Hosting plans (Stellar Plus and Stellar Business), additional resources include, but are not limited to, free automatic backups, priority support, IP deny manager, higher LVE limits such as CPU and EP as well as PCI compliance.
Stellar Business from Namecheap, in particular, provides you with much higher resource levels. It also operates on powerful cloud storage, meaning that even though you’re still technically sharing other resources, your website’s performance is unlikely to be affected by increased traffic levels.
You may also find that as your business grows, you’ll need more email accounts. As a result, some premium Shared Hosting plans, including Namecheap’s, offer more email accounts. Stellar Plus and Stellar Business from Namecheap Shared Hosting not only offer additional email accounts but also an increase in the number of emails that get sent per hour (ranging from 200 all the way up to 10,000).
Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting
As we mentioned before, when you’re using Shared Hosting, you’re sharing key resources (CPU, bandwidth, RAM, disk space) with potentially hundreds of other users. While Shared Hosting does save you money, be prepared for fewer resources at your disposal.
This is where VPS Hosting starts to look pretty enticing. Certainly a more premium option than Shared Hosting, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) gives you far more flexibility and greater customization options in terms of those key resources needed to grow your business. Because your website is hosted in its own “virtual” space, you don’t have to be concerned with “noisy neighbors,” as you would with Shared Hosting.
One of the main reasons why people switch from Shared Hosting to VPS Hosting is for scalability. This basically means that if your website suddenly grows in a short period of time, a VPS can adapt quickly and easily to meet these unexpected demands. Some providers offer additional resources that can be purchased separately, without the need to upgrade to a different plan.
If you’re concerned about protecting personal user data on your website, a VPS is preferred over Shared Hosting. Why? A VPS provides you root access, which gives you or expert support the ability to implement advanced security measures in your server environment.
Keep in mind that security breaches can happen with any type of hosting. What matters most is who is ultimately responsible for taking the appropriate measures to keep your website safe. This either means you or your hosting provider’s dedicated technicians.
In terms of email, a VPS gives you full control over outgoing emails while letting you set up advanced filters. For those of you who handle database servers, now’s the time to consider a VPS for more security and optimized resource usage.
For a more in-depth look at all the reasons to choose VPS Hosting, check out one of my previous articles.
VPS Hosting vs. Dedicated Server Hosting
While VPS Hosting means your resources are partitioned off from other customers, Dedicated Server Hosting means you have a separate machine to yourself.
A Dedicated Server, in essence, is a physical machine with all the resources (bandwidth, RAM, CPU, etc.) available at your disposal. Ideal for tech-savvy individuals and resource-intensive online businesses, Dedicated Server Hosting offers you airtight security and customized control. Be aware: Although there’s a much higher degree of self-management and power, it also comes at a much higher cost.
Here are just a few reasons why someone would prefer Dedicated Server Hosting over VPS Hosting:
- Your website requires the best of the best in terms of resources, e.g. the most RAM, the most CPU, the most bandwidth.
- Your website is very content-heavy, e.g. content streaming.
- Your website requires special hosting needs that are best met with a configured environment, e.g. app development, sandbox, ERP.
- Your website needs the utmost in security measures, e.g. you’re a medical organization that houses sensitive data.
You might wonder, can I upgrade my Dedicated Server after I’ve purchased it? Technically yes, but you’re looking at purchasing a new one with even more bells and whistles. Here, the better question would be: do I need to upgrade my Dedicated Server?
The answer to this is simple — only if your current one is somehow out of bandwidth and/or disk space. Sometimes, hardware specifications such as HDD versus SSD can be a reason to purchase a new one, too.
Given that Dedicated Server Hosting is the most powerful option of the bunch, remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Opting for a Dedicated Server means taking full responsibility for the setup and management of your website. If this sounds like an ideal scenario, you know what to choose.
If you feel as though your business or project is growing and you foresee your hosting needs growing in the immediate future, it might not be a bad idea to bypass VPS Hosting entirely and upgrade to a Dedicated Server.
Ultimately, figuring out what type of hosting you need for your website is an important decision and not to be taken lightly. For a majority of websites, a Shared Hosting plan should suit just fine. But if you’re anticipating serious growth, it’s definitely time to consider the higher-end of hosting (a VPS or Dedicated Server).
As a quick recap, here are some questions to ask yourself as a Shared Hosting customer:
- Make a pro/con list of your Shared Hosting experience thus far
- Pinpoint the reasons you think it might be time to upgrade
- Compare costs (and yes, providers) to inform your decision
- Look into the future — do you think business will boom? How long do you think that will approximately take?
Jotting down your answers can only help, letting you figure out the next step to take, if any. If you’re a Namecheap Shared Hosting customer, our 24/7 Live Chat is available for any and all of your questions.
We’d love to hear how your experience with Namecheap Hosting is going. Let us know in the comments below!