Website Hosting, Website Maintenance… What’s the difference?

August 26, 2019

Hosting can be a hugely confusing area, different levels of support, pricing, speed and reliability. What does your business need? We’ll start by breaking all these items down about our company and the hosting and maintenance services that we provide. Below we’ll include what we’ve changed to provide a better level of service and support for our clients. Not all hosting is created equally. Would you trust your high-performance sports car to the cheapest mechanic?

Traditionally all websites were hosted on a single rack-mounted computer server in a data centre. Most websites would never need power beyond a single piece of hardware. Over the years, technology has changed how we work with websites, such as Facebook. These have evolved into multi-server configurations in multiple datacentres around the world.

Also, traditional hosting has changed to use of virtualised machines. Single dedicated computers in a data centre can be sub divided into smaller virtual machines. They give the user the same control as a full box, but the resources are split between several customers on one piece of hardware.
This style of hosting has moved further where different pieces of different computers in different datacentres can interact as one unit. This is a fundamental way of describing how modern cloud computing works and how it has evolved from the traditional hosting environment.

The hosting/maintenance we want to talk about today includes…

  • Shared Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • VPS / Cloud Hosting

From this there are two further options:

  • Baremetal Hosting
  • Managed Hosting

And finally, Website Maintenance Hosting.

Shared Hosting

Hosting companies typically rented single dedicated servers at a time, and shared resources amongst tens of thousands of users. Their plan to make money was simple, one unique operating system and control panel software to manage the accounts.

Typically their clients are looking for cheap price hosting, and don’t expect all the frills. In the past, they hosted static HTML pages, and there was no need for CMS based systems such as WordPress to modify content. This worked as the single server didn’t need high CPU power to process the WordPress pages as they only showed static HTML pages and images.

However, as goalposts move, and the majority of clients demand a basic CMS system to manage and update website content themselves, the likes of Joomla, WordPress and CS-Cart became essential to making a userfriendly connection between database and pages.

The requirements to run a CMS brought with it new sets of problems. The CMS typically used programming languages such as PHP. Software on the servers was not managed and maintained, and hackers exploited the vulnerabilities to get control of the server.

The main issue here is not that a single website on the server is affected, but that once one account is compromised, all website accounts on the server can be affected. It’s typical that in this scenario that you wouldn’t be informed or even see anything has changed.
Malware could be affecting your website, targeting your customers, ruining your SEO and the reputation of your business. Also worth mentioning that these oversold servers run incredibly slow.

Shared Hosting is the cheapest hosting available, but if I can give you any advice about hosting, its to avoid shared hosting at all costs if the reputation of your business means anything.

Dedicated Hosting

Similar to a shared hosting setup, except you get the entire run of the server yourself. There are no weaker third-party accounts on the server to drag the performance of your website down. Weaker older websites that are not a threat to your website as they are not on the same server.
There will be an incredible boost to speed and performance to your website on a dedicated server, as well as the ability to handle more traffic and scale your business.

But, the cost will be an awful lot more for your business, and unless your pretty decent size online operation its more than likely gonna be overkill for what you need.

VPS Hosting

For the majority of clients, VPS works best as it combines all the advantages of a dedicated hosting account, but it divides the hosting amongst several clients to bring the price down to a more competitive level. VPS Hosting runs a virtualised operating system fully independent for each user.
If a VPS account is compromised and a website is compromised, all other VPS accounts are totally independent and safe. The hosting company gives you a percentage of the resources of the server. So if another account hogs the CPU or memory, it will not pull other accounts offline.
If your website gets busier and needs more resources, your hosting provider can change your plan to increase memory, space, CPU etc. without the need to take your website offline or rebuild the hosting environment again from scratch.

From these three types of hosting, there are a further three management options to choose from…

Bare Metal Hosting

The cheapest way to rent a VPS or dedicated server is to rent bare metal. This is just an empty box and a choice of the Operation System. Some setups include the easy facility to configure Control Panel software in the setup configuration. But most are just a command-line interface and SSH connection and are incredibly technical.

Getting the basics can be picked up handy enough, but when problems start to happen it up to you to figure them out. Also, the responsibility is on you to update any system software, bug patches, maintenance etc.

I’d avoid this at all costs unless you are confident in your ability in system administration. Let’s be honest if your reading this article, your not going to have this ability.

Servers not being maintained will lead to vulnerabilities on your server being exploited, as well as not having the support needed should something happen beyond your control.

Managed Hosting

Similar to bare metal above, but you pay a premium to have a limited number of hours for the hosting company to make changes to your setup. They’ll typically setup and configure the best possible setup for your website, as well as monitor servers and perform daily weekly and monthly maintenance tasks. Usually, there is a set amount of time set aside for these tasks, and another fixed amount of time bundled to fix other hosting related problems you may have.

Website Maintenance

Here at Snazzy Digital, we use to offer hosting only plans in the past. We also use to let customers host their own websites on the host of their choice. Now we only work with clients on Website Maintenance plans, because we want to offer the best level of support to our customers.

Your website goes offline or stops working. What do you do?
Do you call or mail the company that built your website?

Now if the hosting company are the problem, should you not deal directly with them?
What if it is their poor practices that are at fault?

Hosting companies won’t fix problems with your website; they’ll only fix the hosting environment.

But what if the actual website that’s broken? It’s not been updated with the latest CMS software patches? Do I need to change some photos?

At Snazzy Digital we’ve combined hosting and support to be come one all inclusive plan – Website Maintenance

Your business benefits from all the advantages of a managed hosting plan, as well as software updates, security scans, uptime monitoring, and also an amount of hours for us to make changes and offer direct support in relation to your website.

You want to change an image? Update text? Add a new page?
Its all included!

From the past 15 years making websites, the most successful clients have been the ones who constantly monitored and adapted their website to an ever changing environment. Making sure websites were up to date with the latest patches to software, as well as the latest content from the client helped push them forward.

Whens the last time you looked at your website? We’ve found websites that have been offline for months and clients we not aware. Software has broken, hardware has failed.

In an ever-competitive world online, its more important than ever to make sure your web presence is given the best possible chance to win customers against your competitors. Website Maintenance plans ensure you have an all-inclusive package that covers everything leaving you with less to worry about.

If you are interested in finding out how a website maintenance plan can benefit your business reach out to us and we can look into the problems your currently having and how we can improve the functionality of your online presence.

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eCommerce Devlopment Consultant - Snazzy Digital

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