Pros and Cons of VPS Web Hosting

Posted: Friday December 2nd

Virtual private server (VPS) web hosting is one of the popular types of web hosting these days. VPS web hosting provides fast and efficient performance, giving you the impression that you have your own dedicated server. In reality, you’re sharing memory, disk space, and other hardware resources with the other users whose sites are stored in the same server.

Pros of VPS Web Hosting

There are three basic types of hosting options available: shared server hosting, dedicated server hosting, hosting and VPS hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest of the three but the disk space and bandwidth are often severely limited. With dedicated hosting, you have an entire server dedicated to you alone. This type of hosting gives you unlimited bandwidth and more disk space than you can use. However, it also comes with a very steep price. VPS web hosting, on the other hand, gives you the best of both worlds, so to speak. With this option, you can enjoy much higher bandwidth and a lot more disk space at a slightly higher cost, which is the primary advantage that you can enjoy.

Another important advantage of choosing VPS web hosting is that you can install practically anything you want. On shared hosting, the web host may enforce restrictions, limiting the types of files you can store or post on your site. Since you have root access on a VPS, you won’t need to worry about such restrictions. Furthermore, VPS web hosting allows you to host other sites or other services, including a mail server or an FTP server. Such extras can help make you more organized and efficient in managing your website.

Cons of VPS Web Hosting

There aren’t too many disadvantages when you’re on a virtual private server unless you’re a complete novice in website management. One of the few drawbacks is that with VPS, you have to do your own installations and maintenance, unlike in a shared server where all you practically have to do is upload your files and everything else is done for you. If you’re experienced in website building and management, you shouldn’t have a difficult time being on a VPS.

Another possible disadvantage of VPS web hosting has to do with the growth of your site, when your website has to expand and the disk space and memory allotted to you are no longer enough. After all, you still have to share resources with other websites on a common physical server. This may take some time to happen, though, and when that time comes you can either upgrade to the next VPS hosting plan or move to a dedicated server.

Still on the fence as to whether or not VPS web hosting is a good option for you? You can get a trial package and see for yourself if it’s the right move.

Online Marketing – An Introduction

Posted: Thursday October 20th

Getting a website up and running is only part of the battle when it comes to making a success in the harsh world of online business. Regardless of how good your site is and how much content it contains, you’re still going to need to do a lot of online marketing to truly reach the masses. Forget what you’ve heard from companies and individuals making wild promises about great riches overnight. The only real online marketing strategies are those which take time, patience and dedication.

Internet marketing comprises a broad mix of types, but your objectives are straightforward enough. To make a success in the online world, you need to be able to successfully get your message across to the masses, do your research carefully and provide something of value to your visitors and customers. It won’t be particularly easy and it will take a good deal of time before you have a satisfactory number of visitors to your website.

The most significant type of online marketing is setting up the website itself. Your site will need to provide something of value to your visitors. For traditional businesses, an online marketing component in the form of an official corporate website is essential for helping you reach a far wider audience. There are very few businesses that cannot benefit from having an online presence.

When you are having your website built, it should also be search engine-friendly. One of the most important elements of online marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). This involves using relevant keywords and phrases in your content. This helps to more effectively categorize your website in the search engine indexes. When you consider how many people visit a website straight from a Google link, you’ll quickly realise just how important this is.

Email marketing is another important element of successful online marketing. This is the case for both traditional and online businesses. While email marketing is grossly overused by some companies, using it correctly provides the highest return on investment of any form of advertising. Ethical and successful email marketing should always be permission-based. Sending unsolicited emails will quickly get your company’s contacts in the blacklists and emails sent out will end up straight in the spam folders.

Article marketing is another important element of online marketing. Article marketing takes a lot of time, since you need to have hundreds of articles circulating the web for it to truly make a difference. There are many companies which specialize in providing content containing keywords and links to your website and then posting them to online article directories. While this can be expensive, it helps to expand your online presence and ultimately increase the number of hits on your main website. Similar to article marketing is posting online press releases providing introductions to your company, brand or product.

One of the most important forms of online marketing these days is social media marketing. This refers to using popular social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to market your website. Social bookmarking is the most important aspect of social media marketing. Having social bookmarking buttons on every page of your website allows viewers to share content with just a couple of clicks on their favorite social bookmarking website. With social networking growing all the time, this is perhaps the most effective form of online marketing of all.

Why Use a Content Delivery Network?

Posted: Thursday September 1st

Most business website owners would agree that fast delivery of their website content to visitors’ screens is very important. Hence, they employ various tips and tricks to speed up their web page downloads. Nowadays, much static website content, for example, images, is downloaded from a different domain than the main website.

The reason for this is that a browser can only open a limited amount of connections per URL. When a browser is downloading your website, and the amount of data is very large, delays will be caused by this large amount of information trying to squeeze through the limited connections. By creating a subdomain on your website, for example,, and storing all your website’s images there you can increase the downloading speed of the web pages. Because the browser is now downloading from two URLs, there are more connections available. There is, however, an alternative that optimizes this process even further. That alternative is a content delivery network (CDN).

Benefits and Functionality

The main benefit of using a CDN is that your content is not only hosted on a separate (sub)domain, the content is also served faster, no matter what the location of your website visitor is. For example, when your server is physically located in your country or near your location, and your website visitor is on the other side of the world, it would take this visitor’s browser longer to download the web pages, than let’s say a visitor in your own country. This delay is caused by the large number of “hops” that are needed to deliver the content to the location. In other words, the data is routed through a large number of devices on the network before it finally arrives at its destination. A CDN, on the other hand, duplicates your content and makes it available to multiple datacentre locations, thus ensuring a faster delivery of data.

Amazon Cloudfront and S3 for Small Business

CDNs are not exclusive to large companies. There are also solutions suited to the needs and budgets of smaller businesses. One of the best-known of these solutions is Amazon Cloudfront. The Cloudfront based CDN solution is easy to implement, using two of Amazon’s services. To start you will need an Amazon AWS (Amazon web services) account. Then you can link the two services Amazon Cloudfront and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) to this account. The S3 service handles the hosting of your content, and the Cloudfront service ensures fast delivery of content to different locations.

How To Set Up Amazon Cloudfront and S3

After signing up for these services, you can start right away by adding static content for your website to a S3 “bucket”. When this is done, all you have to do is to link this bucket to Amazon Cloudfront, using the Cloudfront web interface. Simply indicate which bucket you wish to link to a new Cloudfront container. The new container will need a CNAME in order for the content to be available through a subdomain of your website, for example, The CNAME is a record that must be submitted to the DNS (domain name system) database, so that this new domain can be recognized as an alias of your main domain and can be linked to the IP address of your main website. Finally, make sure that the files in the S3 bucket are available publicly by setting the read rights to “other”, instead of “user only”. Now your content is ready to be served from a subdomain on your website.

The most important feature of any IT infrastructure is performance. If your web pages take too long to download, your website visitors will leave, transactions will be canceled, and the whole user-experience will be unsatisfactory. Additionally, a slow loading speed may affect your page ranking in Google, because Google keeps track of web page download speeds and penalizes slow sites. However, by using a content delivery network you can offer a fast service to your website visitors that is not dependent on location or time of visit.

Shared Hosting: What You Need to Know

Posted: Thursday June 16th

If you have decided against using a free all-in-one blogging service, like or, and have realized free hosting services rarely provide a reliable service, you will probably want to look into setting up a shared hosting account.
Shared hosting is the most basic form of paid hosting. This is not to say it is a poor option. The majority of websites you see online will be using shared hosting. And many sites currently using a VPS or dedicated server option will have begun their online journey with a shared hosting account.

So what exactly is shared hosting?

Shared Hosting 101
A web hosting provider will host your website on one of its servers for a monthly charge. The host will also host numerous other websites on the same server as your site. All the websites will share the resources allocated to the hosting server, such as RAM, disk space, and bandwidth. A web host will provide guaranteed resources to you, such as: Email accounts, FTP accounts, MySQL databases, and a shared SSL certificate. The precise allocations will depend on the individual hosting provider and the package you select.

6 Features a Web Host Must Provide
Different web hosts will make a fuss over different features. It is part of a competitive sales strategy. Many of the resources they boast about will either be irrelevant or fairly standard. The web host is relying on you being too new to hosting to realize this. But there are some features you should never be without and these are not always clearly promoted by some web hosts. So before you sign up for an account with a fly-by-night hosting provider, here are 6 important factors any good web host must offer:

1. Positive Reputation
Reputation is crucial. If a web host has a positive reputation you can rightly assume it is both reliable and trustworthy. So how do you discover if a web host is reputable? Unfortunately, there is no magic tell-all. You will have to embark on some old-fashioned research. This may seem a chore but will be time well spent. You do want your website to be visible and usable don’t you? Visit some independent webmaster forums and read the latest news on impartial web hosting review sites. The better your research, the greater the chance you will narrow your options to a few highly-respected web hosting providers.

2. Factual Contact Details
Visit a web host’s homepage and ensure they have clearly visible contact details and/or a simple way of getting hold of the customer services/sales support department. Most web hosts will provide an email address and phone number at the very least. Try calling the number to see if it is legit, and then send an inquiry email to test how long it takes the web host to respond. Some web hosts will have a live chat option and/or a ticket system. Use both, if available, and see how efficient the service is. A reputable host cares about its customers. It should ensure direct contact is a simple process and make every effort to provide a fast and efficient response.

3. 24/7 Efficient Technical Support
Not only should the web host’s support be timely, it needs to be professional and top quality. Your website could have an issue at 2am on a Saturday. The last thing you want to hear is a web host stating its technical support section is only open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday. 24/7 technical support is crucial. Support should be able to respond to, and solve, your issues in rapid fashion. If the problem is complicated you want to know the support team will be keeping you in the loop with regular contact and appraising you with their progress. Check out the hosting forums again for any horror stories about a web host’s technical support.

4. User-Friendly Interface and Installation
An uncomplicated, systematic User Interface (UI) is vital if you are new to shared hosting. The host should provide a practically designed UI that is simplistic enough for a hosting novice. There must be good Help and FAQ sections containing descriptive answers which cover common areas of concern.

Any available software installations should be as straightforward as possible – ideally a one-click installation process. A good installation guide (preferably with video or images) should be available for each software application. Ideally, a web host will be using a cPanel or Plesk control panel interface.

5. Quality Software and Applications
It is now common practice for a web host to provide popular CMS platforms, such as WordPress and Drupal, for customers to install. These should be available with semi-automated installation. One feature many new customers require is a website builder. Not everyone will already have a ready-to-go website. In this case, finding a host that provides a free top-class website creation utility is quite important.
If a website builder is available, be sure to do some online research and find out if the utility is any good. There is no point paying to host a website that looks cheap and unprofessional.

6. Support for Analytics and Website Management
Analytical insight is vital to the improvement and management of a website. Running a successful website means committing to a continuous battle for efficiency and optimization. Analytics plays a massive part in this. You will need to see where your traffic is coming from, what keyword phrases are being used to locate your website, bounce rates, high/low page traffic etc. This task is made easier when a web host provides high-quality analytical tool which displays usable, understandable results from your website. Good feedback is essential for improving site efficency.

Shared Hosting Propaganda: 4 Irrelevant Factors to Ignore

1. Unlimited Disk Space
This is nothing more than a marketing tactic. If you have decided on a shared hosting option, it is likely your website will not require masses of disk space. Even if your website was to expand, it would require additional increased resources (like RAM) to function efficiently. Most average websites don’t really require a lot of disk space and web hosts know this. Unlimited disk space is simply a sales tactic. Never base your hosting decision on this irrelevant feature.

2. Unmetered Bandwidth
As your website will be sharing bandwidth with other websites, the total amount of available bandwidth will also be shared. A sudden bandwidth surge from other sites can affect your own websites performance, if you choose an ill-prepared host. Some web hosts promote the offer of unmetered bandwidth. But if your site received a huge sudden spike in traffic it would be likely to crash or freeze (though the spike would have to be momentous). Unmetered bandwidth would not prevent this. This situation rarely happens and hosting providers know most websites never need unmetered bandwidth.

3. Free Email Accounts and MySQL Databases
Don’t be sucked in by the promise of unlimited email accounts and MySQL databases. Nearly every host will offer more than enough of both. You will only ever need a limited amount. The amount of email storage space you are allocated is more important. If you ever get to the point of using a multitude of resource-hungry databases you will undoubtedly require more RAM and have to upgrade to either a VPS or dedicated server anyway. The RAM factor is more important in terms of large or numerous databases; the actual amount of available databases is immaterial.

4. Lowest Price
Everyone loves a bargain. You may be tempted to click on the web host advertising an incredibly low monthly fee but be careful, all may not be as it seems. Most of the lowest monthly fees come with a hidden clause: You will need to sign up for a 2 or 3 year contract to qualify for that price. With reputable no-fixed contract hosting available from $5-$10 a month, price should never be a deciding factor.

Finding a Good Shared Hosting Provider: Knowing What’s Important

Hopefully, this guide has offered you some practical insight into shared hosting. You should now be more conscious of what shared hosting features are relevant, and be equipped to recognize any hosting red herrings. If you start by concentrating on reputation, you won’t go far wrong. Watch out for hidden charges associated with low-cost web hosts, and check online resources for negative feedback about reliability, performance, and customer service. There are some fantastic web hosting providers around offering some great deals. Now you know what to look for, it’s time to go online and find the right one for you.