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 Selecting a Hosting Provider: The Business Side

In the past few weeks on my personal blog I have published articles on "Selecting a DotNetNuke Hosting Provider" as well as "Shared, Virtual Private Server, Dedicated or Cloud Hosting".  Between these two articles the topic of hosting selection has been pretty well discussed, however, based on questions/comments that have been provided to us since the publishing of the articles we felt that it was necessary to expand on the topic a bit more.  The previously mentioned articles discuss the basic needs for hosting based on a systematic approach, although 100% valid this approach might not be the best "true decider" when it comes to selecting a hosting provider.

 

When working with a business website you have additional items that are to be considered when it comes to hosting a site.  If a site is truly a "business venture" it isn't just as simple as selecting a plan that meets your traffic needs, you have other considerations to think of.  This article focuses on these additional considerations and helps to point out potentially unidentified risks with the various levels of hosting.

 

Website Uptime

Although a basic requirement for a hosting plan, uptime considerations are something that are often overlooked, or at least not fully considered when selecting a hosting plan.  In the case of a dedicated or VPS hosting environment the uptime of a system is most commonly controlled by the uptime of the network in which the environment is hosted.  However, with a shared hosting environment it is quite possible that other items could impact the performance or availability of your website.  For example what happens if another site on the shared system has high traffic and causes an outage?

 

For some websites this might not be a big deal, but what if you are a technology company, or some other company that is based on being "always available"?  A small site outage can cause a big issue when it comes to business reputation.

 

Load Handling

In addition to uptime requirements different hosting environments offer varying abilities to handle "higher than normal" loads.  Sure, that site you are setting up might only have 100-200 visitors a day, but what happens if you get unintended publicity?  What happens if you hit the front page of Digg, or similar?

 

If on a shared hosting environment it is highly probable that under excessive load situations you will simply get shut down and your site will not display to users at all.  In other environments if the system is overloaded you might see slow downs, but overall the sites will most likely stay available, unless we are talking about massive traffic increases.

 

Spam Flagging/Email Gray listing

When working on that next business idea, shared hosting might seem like a great idea, it is low cost, and you can get up and running quickly, but one thing that is very common with shared hosting is for a hosting provider to share an IP address between hundreds of sites.  What does this mean to you?  Typically it doesn't have a major impact, but lets say that for one reason or another, one of those other shared hosting sites sends a massive number of e-mails, and triggers email gray or blacklisting. In many cases, this gray/black listing process is done on an IP basis and not on a domain basis.

 

What does this mean?  Well it means that in a shared environment with a shared IP address other sites activity can prevent or delay emails from your system.  In some cases this might not be a big deal, but at minimum it can cause a large amount of hassle and wasted time as you research why emails are not getting through.

 

Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped shed a little bit of a different light on the selection of a hosting provider and helps to identify the "big picture" that comes into play when working to setup a new business venture.  Feel free to post feedback below, if you have specific questions please use our forum, or feel free to contact us.

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