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Choosing Your Hosting
How big? How much?
Many people already appreciate the difference between shared and dedicated hosting. Some might know when "hosting in the cloud" is best and just as importantly, when it is not. But what about the other questions? How big a server do you need? How much bandwidth? Multiple servers or just one? How about the increased resilience of a standby server, or a cluster? Load-balancing? And perhaps most importantly of all, what about managing the server? This article aims to demystify the topic to allow you to make an informed decision based on what's right for your needs. It's a big subject so there is lots of material but we've also published some simple recommendations.
A couple of notes before we dive in.
To make this article as useful as possible, we've included indicative prices. These aren't the prices of our services, rather they are an indication of what you might expect to pay. As we're based in the UK the prices are in Pounds; click the amount for a conversion to other currencies. Hosting in the US used to be cheaper than the UK, but the gap is closing and in many cases is zero.
Imagine this scenario: Lucy goes to your home page at 9 o'clock. At 9:04 she goes to another page on your site. At 9:02, Jack comes along and visits your home page. At 9:01 you have 1 active user (Lucy), at 9:02 you have 2 (Jack and Lucy), at 9:07 you still have 2 (Jack and Lucy), but at 9:08 you only have 1 again (Lucy, since she clicked most recently at 9:04, so you're still inside the five minute window, whereas Jack doesn't count any more because he hasn't clicked since 9:02). With that clear, let's define traffic levels
- Very light - 20 active users
- Light - 100 active users
- Medium - 500 active users
- Heavy - 2000 active users
- Very heavy - 5000 active users
This is a big topic, so we've broken the information down in to sections.
- The basic types of hosting
- Managed versus un-managed servers
- Cloud hosting
- How big a server do I need?