The vast majority of internet users, including bloggers, really don’t know the difference between one server and the next. They think “cloud hosting” is when you have a dinner party in heaven, “Apache” is an Army attack helicopter, and “Heroku” is a sushi dish. “Python” is what you watch out for in the jungle, “C++” is so close to a B minus, and “Ruby on Rails Hosting” is when Julia Roberts drives Robert Gere around in the Lotus in Pretty Woman.
What you don’t know about your blog’s host, however, could hurt you. This is especially true when your blog becomes more popular. Small blogs, in which stay-at-home moms write about their trip to the park with Junior, don’t really need to worry about things like bandwidth, disk space, and other limits that could slow a blog’s growth. Hugely popular blogs, however, with bandwidth intensive media, many subscribers, or ecommerce elements will need a web host that’s robust enough to handle the traffic without crashing.
A Primer on Servers
When you’re choosing a host for your blog, start by taking a look at what kind of web servers they use. Web servers matter. For starters, you may decide you need to get a dedicated server, which means you will lease from your web host an entire server to have just to yourself. By comparison, a shared FTP hosting service does not give you as much control over the server.
A virtual private server, or VPS, is another option in which a single server is partitioned to create two or more servers. Also called a VDS, or virtual dedicated server, turning servers into multiple virtual servers is a commonplace practice amongst web hosts. Although VPS and VDSs are sufficient for most websites, if you have a truly large website, or if your VPS is showing some signs of strain, you may wish to make the switch to a dedicated server.
Then there’s cloud hosting, which has become quite the talked-about new technology lately. In a nutshell, a “cloud” refers to multiple, interconnected servers. Whereas both shared hosting and dedicated hosting relies upon a single server, cloud hosting gives the website access to numerous servers. According to Web Hosting Secret Revealed, this makes the processing power nearly unlimited, and scalability is extremely easy.
However, while cloud hosting is “all the rage” in the hosting world, even cloud hosting has its disadvantages. For starters, it’s more expensive – it’s that whole darn “supply and demand” law. Right now, it’s still expensive for web hosts to invest in and develop cloud hosting, so they pass those costs along to customers.
The biggest problem with cloud hosting is security. According to Host Wisely, with physical servers all interconnected and running on one operating system, websites hosted in the cloud are more vulnerable to hackers. All a hacker needs to do is gain access to one machine, and suddenly all the other machines are unlocked for him. Therefore, if you’re dealing with a lot of sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, then cloud hosting is probably not for you – at least, not for now. In a few more years, some of these cloud hosting issues will be ironed out, and it will be both cheaper and safer.
Talk to Potential Web Hosts
To make a good decision about which web host you should choose for your blog, do your homework first. Talk to some potential web hosts and tell them what you’re trying to do with your blog. They’ll be in a good position to steer you to what kind of server technology will be right for your application. After you’ve talked to a few different hosts, you should be able to come away with a clear idea as to which server technologies will work, and which technologies you should stay away from.