I want to talk about the differences we have encountered between the shared hosting option and the VPS hosting option.
Basically a shared hosting option is now pretty cheap and you can have unlimited add-on domains for some accounts. This is also common place with hosting providers such as Hostgator and BlueHost.
This may sound like a great idea if you have a lot of websites but when they start to grow and the amount of files you upload and the amount of traffic increases this is when you can run in to problems like us in 2012 when our websites went over bandwidth whilst we were on a holiday to Disney World Florida.
We did not get any warnings from the company they just shut our websites down because were taking up too much of the shared bandwidth. This is the amount you are allowed to use with your payment plan.
We had not checked but we had a spike in traffic and downloads and it had taken it over the threshold for the kind of account we had.
Your websites going down is the worst possible thing to happen so we were not best pleased, you just have to look at node usage, on Hostgator anything over 100,000 nodes will not get backed up, these are files that you upload so if you had a crash a lot of your files would disappear.
Also you will have a limit that you can use up to like we did but we did not know what would happen if we kept reaching our limit, nobody tells you this, and you just keep uploading files until your website goes down.
After our down time I got onto looking for a VPS and we upgraded to Hostgator VPS. A VPS is a virtual private server where you share with just another person or website.
So you have a lot of room for uploads and if your traffic builds up a lot over a short period of time.
You have a lot of room to grow but eventually your website could outgrow the VPS and you will need a dedicated server but we will talk about that if we need to upgrade anytime soon. Though with our increase in traffic we expect that come this time next year we will be running on a dedicated server. Plus a dedicated server is something to celebrate as it means that your online website is doing very well!
With a shared hosting account you have a cpanel and it is all explained for you. And very easy to use.
They are great for beginners but when you upgrade to a VPS you are faced with actually signing into your server and are faced with a lot more options. You will need to read up on how to use the VPS to its full potential because they are set up for you but if like me you do not know too much about a server interface then if it goes wrong then you will need some knowledge about how to put it right.
For example we have a page like this when we log in:
Then because we use the interface associated with shared hosting (that you have probably seen on a million Hostgator how to screenshots) is very similar to what is used on the VPS most people can’t tell the difference once they get their head around it:
You can always talk to the hosting people but it is good to try and find the answer yourself first. After all knowledge is power and you would not buy a car if you did not have some information on it and at least know how to change the oil before buying it!
I would say if your website is using about 20 GB a month in traffic and downloads then it would be time to think about changing over to a VPS.
After all, you never know if something you write goes viral and if it does then you need to know your hosting is going to handle it, how many times have loaded a website to be faced with “come back later the website is experiencing a lot of traffic at the moment” I want to avoid this and I am sure you would too.
For example we have this blog post, and even though it is a good year old now it gets shared on Facebook Groups by our readers about twice a month and each time it does we end up with three times the traffic we get in a normal day. If were still with shared hosting we wouldn’t be able to cope with this.
We have peaks in our traffic and we are at about 40 GB a month at the moment in bandwidth usage and we know if we get a spike in traffic like we usually do then I know our hosting plan at the moment can handle a few thousand visitors a minute!
If you would like to look further at your options for hosting and general website maintenance check out our resources page that is perfect for weight loss bloggers.