Websites and their hosting needs, or a guide to shared hosting and beyond
When you create a website, you need to keep in mind its future as well,
not just its present - how big it will grow, how many users it will need to
serve simultaneously, and how much data these users are going to request from
it. With each different website type comes a specific need for server power and
space. In this guide I will try to describe the basics.
1. Personal / small business website
Usually these are the smallest, and the least visited website types. A
personal homepage or blog does not usually need a very large space and huge
bandwidth, as its visitors are also few and rarely do they download anything
except a few images and text files. There can be surges of visitors, but rarely
- in case a photo goes viral, or something similar.
A small business website or a personal website / blog can usually be
hosted on the smallest hosting plan offered by companies, that usually cost up
to $5 a month.
2. Niche blog / news site
These websites represent the next step when it comes to space and
bandwidth needs. Niche blogs and news websites are targeted to a specific,
restricted audience, and they usually have relatively small traffic. These, too
are fit to be hosted on cheap plans (these come with more than enough space and
bandwidth for a few thousands or even tens of thousands of visitors a month).
3. Popular blogs and forums
The scripts themselves take up a small space, but in time - with more
users registering and with more content added - they can grow to a considerable
size. For a successful, popular blog or forum you need a shared hosting plan, or
even better, a VPS (virtual private server) with loads of space, bandwidth and
computing power, as your site / forum needs to serve a series of users
simultaneously posting, browsing and uploading content.
4. Video / audio sharing websites, gaming sites
These websites need a serious amount of space, and a considerable amount of
computing power, considering the large number of simultaneous requests and the
loads of content to be hosted on the server.
online casino websites or local YouTube clones can be easily hosted on a VPS
in the beginning, but if they grow larger in time, they might need a co-location
5. Social networks
If you plan to launch the next Facebook, you can't settle for a shared
hosting plan, and neither a VPS - you need your own scalable hardware to work
on. Successful social networks have a large user base, sometimes receiving
thousands, or even tens of thousands of requests simultaneously, so a very
serious hardware is necessary. Also, users upload their own content, so you also
need loads of space.
When creating a new website, you need to think scalable, otherwise your
audience might choke your service invariably.