In today’s digitally driven world, a website is a key marketing tool for start-up businesses. As you venture into new and exciting markets, a well-designed website is crucial for helping you to establish an online presence and engage with potential customers. It acts as a platform to showcase your products, services and USPs. Not to mention, it provides you with an opportunity to directly communicate with customers, whether they have inquiries or need support.
A website provides start-ups with an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on their target audience too. It enables you to convey your values and missions, capture the attention of visitors and turn them into loyal customers. A website can also help you to expand your reach and build trust with your audience. Through testimonials, customer reviews and case studies, potential customers can find out more about the quality of your products or services. By embracing the digital world and investing in a website, all start-ups can drive their business forward and enhance their chance of success.
A key step to getting your website live is choosing a server and hosting solution. These tasks can be more challenging than start-ups initially realise and it’s crucially important to make the right choice. If you own a start-up business and you don’t know much about server hosting, below we have created a useful guide covering all of the basics you need to know when you’re creating a new website.
What is a Website Server?
A website server, also known as a web server, is responsible for delivering website pages and other content to users on the internet. It essentially acts as the backbone of a website, handling requests from users’ web browsers and serving the web pages or resources.
Website servers are typically located in data centres with robust network connections, backup power systems and security measures in place to ensure a reliable and uninterrupted service. However, they can also be hosted on cloud platforms, providing enhanced scalability, flexibility and cost-efficiency for businesses of all sizes.
What Server Hosting Options Are Available?
Before you choose a server for your new website, it’s beneficial to learn more about the different options available. There are several server hosting options to meet the varying needs of businesses and their websites. Some commonly used hosting options include;
- Shared Server Hosting – Shared hosting is when multiple websites are hosted on a single server. Resources such as CPU, RAM and disk space are shared between the websites. This can be an affordable option for small websites with moderate traffic.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting – VPS hosting doesn’t require any physical equipment and this type of server can be tailored to your precise needs. Each VPS operates independently with dedicated resources, offering more control and scalability than shared hosting options.
- Dedicated Server Hosting – With dedicated server hosting, you will have an entire physical server dedicated exclusively to your website. This option is fast and secure. A dedicated server will be optimised to your specific needs and it provides maximum website performance and reliability.
- Cloud Hosting – Cloud hosting uses a network of virtual servers to host websites. It offers impressive flexibility and enables you to scale up or down with ease. Cloud hosting can be very cost-effective and it’s suitable for businesses with varying traffic patterns.
- Managed Hosting – Managed hosting provides you with your own dedicated server as well as comprehensive support services. The hosting provider will take care of things such as server maintenance, security updates and backups on your behalf. They will also provide ongoing technical support to keep your website up and running.
How do You Know Which Server is Best?
Understandably, it can be difficult to know which type of server is best for your start-up business when you first design a new website. Each of the servers mentioned above has its pros and cons, and it’s important to carefully consider these. To determine the best server option for your website, think about the following factors;
It’s beneficial to assess the expected traffic volume and resource demands of your new website. This will help you to determine the amount of CPU, RAM and disk space needed to support your website’s functionality and performance. If you’re not really sure how much traffic your website is going to experience, flexible options like VPS hosting could be most suitable in the short term until you have a better understanding of your needs.
Make sure you consider the scalability requirements of your website too. Will your traffic and resource needs fluctuate over time? If scalability is important, choosing a hosting company that offers a vast range of different packages can be very useful. This will enable you to increase your server resources if required to handle varying demands.
It’s important to be aware that unmanaged hosting options require you to have advanced server management skills. It’s essential that you have the technical capabilities to keep your server up-to-date and operating efficiently. If you don’t have any in-house IT support, opting for a fully managed server is often the best option as it will prevent you from having to worry about essential server management responsibilities.
As with any other investment for your start-up, you need to consider your budget when choosing a server. Shared hosting is typically the most affordable option, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most cost-effective. While dedicated servers and managed hosting tend to be more expensive, they could potentially save you money in the long run.
Tips for Selecting a Server Hosting Solution
When you’re choosing between the different types of servers and hosting services, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re making the right choice. Our top tips include;
Prioritise Security Measures
It can be easy to overlook, but security is incredibly important. Always inquire about the security measures offered by the hosting provider. Look for features such as robust firewalls, anti-virus and malware solutions, security patching, 24/7 monitoring and regular security updates. These are all key to safeguarding your website and customer data.
Check Uptime Agreements
Not all hosting providers and servers offer the same level of uptime. Look for a solution with a reputation for reliability and high uptime. Check for guarantees and network uptime agreements too, these can help to ensure minimal downtime for your website.
Look at Backup Options
If something unexpected were to happen to your website, it’s essential to make sure you have a backup. Therefore, hosting options with backup and disaster recovery included are very beneficial. Having regular backups, both on and offsite, will ensure you have a secure copy of your data that can be recovered in case of emergencies.
Check that Monitoring is Provided
Server monitoring is undeniably useful to track performance, uptime and any potential issues. Finding a hosting provider that will monitor your server for you will give you one less thing to worry about and enable you to focus on your start-up.
Get Some Technical Support
As mentioned above, a fully managed solution is beneficial if you don’t have the technical capabilities to keep your server running smoothly. Assess the quality and availability of the technical support provided by a hosting provider. 24/7 customer support, responsive communication and expertise in server management can help to ensure any issues are resolved quickly.
Which Type of Server Hosting Would catalyst2 Recommend?
Hopefully, you will now know a little bit more about servers and you can ensure that you’re choosing the right solution for your new website. Whether you’re interested in VPS hosting or managed dedicated server hosting in the UK, we can provide you with the reliable service you need at catalyst2. We understand that it can be difficult to decide which type of server is best for your needs and our experts will be happy to help you.
Get in touch with us today and we can provide you with some tailored advice. After finding out more about your start-up business and the website you have created, we can recommend a server hosting option that will meet your specific needs at this time. We look forward to hearing from you and helping to get your website online.