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Choosing a hosted solution for your business: Important tips

We find ourselves in a digital age where businesses that seek to attract customers beyond their immediate neighbourhood must have an online infrastructure to be successful.

As your company grows, the amount of information and communication you need for your business operations increases exponentially.

You will require a hosted solution that providesvital services such as email, database administration, application information storage, etc.The solution must provide you with reliable service that guarantees availability of information both to the public and for the daily operations of your business, every time of the day.

Why choosing your hosted solution is key to your business success

  • Uptime and Availability of Resources – Choosing the right hosted service for your business will ensure that your website and applications are available to you as and when needed. The appropriate resources will be allocated to your site(s) to ensure that your processes and applications run smoothly.

Business

If you choose a solution that provides resources that are below your requirements, you are in danger of having frequent downtime which will disrupt your business operations.

  • Loss of Revenue –If your website is down, or does not perform at acceptable standards to its users, you are almost certain to lose significant amounts of business.

Statistics show that 79 percent of shoppers who are dissatisfied with the performance of an e-commerce website are unlikely to buy from the same site again, while 44 percent of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online.

While these figures apply mostly to e-commerce sites, they are an indication of the importance of making sure your website performs at optimal levels all the time to bolster confidence in potential clients and retention of existing ones.

Top global businesses like Microsoft (Bing), Amazon and AOL have all recorded huge losses due to brief website downtimes.

your business

Even an email downtime only will disrupt your business and, if it lasts for more than a few minutes, could cost you a lot of money.

You have to ensure that you’re choosing a hosted solution and solutions provider that guarantees that your website and web applicationsare up-to-date, available 24 hours and perform at optimal levels all the time.

  • Cost Efficiency – There is no sense in wasting money on, say, a dedicated server when a shared service will get the job done for you.

On the other hand, you will have to spend extra money on a more robust service after procuring a smaller or inadequate service only to find it will not serve your needs.

your business

Also, investing in specialized IT personnel and infrastructure when engaging a hosted service would have been more cost effective is impractical.

The decision on which hosted solution to choose must be well-thought-out. It is even better to engage a trustworthy hosted solutions provider that will help you make such decisions based on your business needs.

  • Reputation – If your business experiences website downtime or disruption of business operations due to server downtime, you risk suffering reputational damage.

People, naturally, are more likely to talk about bad experiences than good ones. Like Benjamin Franklin aptly said, “it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”.

Reputational damage can also trigger a series of other risk consequences on your business. Here’s a diagram courtesy of Risk Management Monitor which shows the knock-on effects of reputational damage on a business

your business

You have to be sure that you get your hosting right; it is key to building and maintaining your business.

  • Security Issues – Different hosted solutions require and employ different security solutions. Choosing the wrong hosted solution for your business may present loopholes for malicious attacks.

Whatever the nature of your business, a security breach has one of the most devastating effects of any risks on a business. Whether it’s a system shutdown or stealing of confidential business data, security breaches will leave your business reeling.

Figures from a recent Dell study shows that intrusions and outsider attacks account for most of the security breaches in organizations.

Security breaches will also cost your business a lot of money. Check out these reports by Security Intelligence and the Ponemon Institute

Choosing a hosted solution that will provide you with adequate security is therefore paramount to the success of your business.

Source: Dell

The importance of choosing the right hosted solution for your business cannot be overemphasized.

Unlike before, the success of the modern business no longer relies only on personnel and practice. We are seeing a trend where businesses that compete globally are the ones that are provisioned with the right web solutions”, says Daniel at Umbrellar, New Zealand’s largest domain name registrar and web hosting company.

Major Hosted Solutions

Shared Hosting – Shared Hosting is a hosted service where your website, your info store and your applications share hosting resources with those of other clients on a physical server. Your shared hosting service provider will simply allocate a space for your data on the server. This server will also hold resources for other clients.

So, although you will have your own domain name, you will be sharing the bandwidth, internet connection and memory of a physical server with other clients.

  • What it offers:

Shared hosted services are the cheapest and most convenient way of ensuring access to your resources without having to worry about it. Your shared hosted service provider is solely responsible for hosting, maintaining, managing and securing your services at their end

Basic Services in a Shared Hosting Solution

  • Web statistics support
  • Email and Webmail
  • Automated Script Installations
  • Managed PHP and Database Service
  • Optional Support

Who Needs A Shared Service?

  • If you are just setting up your new, small or midsize business, or you’re always going to be running a small web resource outfit, you are better served going for a shared hosting service.

Dedicated Hosting – A dedicated hosting service simply entails securing the exclusive use of a physical server from your hosting service provider. In dedicated hosting, only your website, information store and applications run on a particular server.

You do not get to share the bandwidth, memory and internet connection of the server with any other client of your service provider. However, you are allocated a defined amount of memory, disk space and bandwidth based on the estimated needs of your web outfit.

What it offers

  • Full control – You can configure and operate the server remotely
  • High Performance and Stability – Because you are the sole user of the physical server, your site does not have to share resources with other clients. As such, there is very little drag on the physical server.
  • Customization – Because you are the sole user of the server, the solution can be tailored to meet your exact needs. As a result, you can choose and pay only for the features you require.
  • Multiple Domains – For larger companies which have various offices and departments, this is a very big benefit. In a dedicated server hosting environment, you can host multiple domain names on your dedicated web server.

When to Opt for a Dedicated Server

  • Sites with very large traffic – If your network is going to attract large traffic daily, you are definitely better served by a dedicated server
  • A large network of sites and applications – Also, if you run a robust web outfit that networks several sites and/or applications, a dedicated server is a better option for you.

Dedicated hosting may present the issue of redundancy. If you have paid for a dedicated hosted service, you may not always use the server to its full capacity, yet you would still have to pay for the full specifications of the serve you have secured.

It is important to take this into account when deciding whether to use a dedicated hosted service.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a hosted service where you rent a virtual server space instead of a physical server. Therefore, several virtual servers, housing different solutions can run on a single physical server. However, just like in dedicated servers, only your site is hosted on a given virtual space or virtual server.

Why You Might Want A Cloud Service

Cloud hosting is often referred to as a practical hybrid of shared and dedicated hosting in terms of benefits. And no wonder. The resources allocated to your site can be scaled up or down as needed.

When there is a need for more resources, the capacity of the virtual space can be increased to meet the need. As a result, you do not have to pay for any fixed amount of resources. In fact, cloud services are paid for by the hour, the pay being determined by the resources used at any given time.

Collocated Hosting

A less known but very good hosting solution is called Collocation. Collocation hosting involves renting a physical facility where you can keep your servers and other hardware. Usually, collocation centers house the servers of several businesses.

Your web host connects the servers, storage and networking equipment of several firms to a variety of telecom and network service providers in a cost efficient way.

What you gain

  • Space – You do not have to bother about extra space for your servers and networking equipment within you premises
  • Control – You have full control of the server. You can install scripts and applications as and when you want. You are also responsible for software updates, software security and database administration on the server.
  • Cooling – Collocation centers provide the necessary cooling for your equipment and devices
  • Power – Collocation centers are equipped with resources for constant power supply to ensure uninterrupted access to resources
  • Bandwidth – Collocation centers pool bandwidth to provide a cost efficient solution
  • Physical Security – Your servers and other hosted equipment are housed in secure facilities

Conclusion

Your hosted solution provider has to have a complete understanding of the needs of your business and must have the technological infrastructure to support these needs.

Although the information in this article will help you make an informed decision when choosing your hosted solution, it is safer to employ the services of an excellent Web Hosting provider who offers all of these solutions.

This is because, you can get better consultation on which service you need, and transition from one solution to another is easier, should the need arise.

About Inderjeet Singh

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