Choosing the right hosting plan and when to upgrade
All web hosting plans have different features and offer different levels of resources. How do you select the right plan for you? A shared hosting plan is by far the most popular one as it is affordable and suitable for most websites. With thousands of web hosts competing for your business and endless offers of unlimited bandwidth and disk space, the new or less experienced webmaster is usually be tempted to go with the lowest priced hosting they can find.
You can start with the cheapest plan but usually, this will result in problems - slow page loading, downtime and general poor performance. Often, the cheapest hosting can be unreliable and will have very poor tech support. Purchasing cheap hosting from some web host you have never heard of before also involves some risk. These companies are often here today and gone tomorrow. Also, in order to offer something too good to be true, these businesses have to use cheap hardware and overload their servers with too many accounts in order to bring in enough money. We have all heard horror stories about someone's bad experience with some web hosting companies. So take our advice and spend a little extra, go with a reputable well-established company.
There are many things to consider when choosing the right plan, and this can often be a difficult choice even for experienced webmasters. Let us first consider the three main types of web hosting plans:
As the name suggests, shared hosting is a number of hosting accounts located on one server, some of them share the same IP address (although a dedicated IP address is often available for an additional fee). These plans will always offer a specific set of features and will always have resource limits. It is essential to know what features you need for your site and how demanding it can get in terms of resources consumption. If you are not certain, it is absolutely alright to start with a more limited plan and upgrading later after your site grows and gets more traffic. Just be sure that the plan you select offers the features your site requires. Some of the things you may need to consider: disk space, bandwidth, number of hosted domains and, possibly, number of subdomains and parked domains, versions of PHP, MySQL, and Perl. Will you need a dedicated IP address? You may want to allow multiple FTP users or you may need to create a number of email addresses. Will you need MySQL or PostgreSQL databases? If so, how many? These are specifications and limitations that will vary for different shared hosting plans. If you are just starting your first website and are not entirely sure what you need, then you may not need to be too concerned about these details yet - you can always upgrade later. Namecheap has several shared hosting plans to choose from – Value, Professional and Ultimate plans. In addition to these, there is a Business SSD plan.
Business SSD hosting represents the highest quality and most powerful hosting solution available without moving to a dedicated server. In terms of shared hosting, Business plan offered by Namecheap is second to none. Our Business Hosting servers are very fast and limited to not more than 50 accounts on each server. This plan has no limits on: Hosted Domains/Parked Domains/Subdomains/FTP users/Databases/ or Mail accounts. It also provides high priority support as well as higher limits on outgoing email.
VPS stands for a Virtual Private Server. This refers to the partitioning of a physical server into multiple servers where each one acts just like a dedicated server, each has its own operating system and can be rebooted separately. These operating systems receive a specific share of the resources of the physical server; and they are isolated from each other – if one VPS experiences problems or tries to use too much memory or CPU resources, it has no effect on the others. There are many advantages of selecting a VPS, the cost is less than the one of a fully dedicated server, plus a VPS provides a great deal of freedom and flexibility over the limitations and restrictions of shared hosting. You are limited only by the capabilities of the VPS, so select one powerful enough to meet your needs. If you don't feel that you have the technical expertise necessary to manage your own VPS, it should not stop you - for an additional fee you can select a full management. You will not have root access, and it will be much like a shared hosting plan, but you will still make the decisions.
A dedicated server is the most powerful option and is suitable for the most demanding websites. One major advantage of a dedicated server you should be aware of is the ability to upgrade certain features. Even if you outgrow your server, sometimes, it isn't necessary to move to a new server. With shared hosting you cannot buy additional features, you have to upgrade to a higher plan. With a fully dedicated server you are not so limited. You can buy the bandwidth you need and upgrade the port speed. Carefully examine the specifications of the servers and find out what upgrades are possible, often a low end server is less upgradable than one that costs a little more. Again, if you don't feel you have the technical knowledge to manage your own server, full management is an option.
How do I know when I need to upgrade?
It is easy to know when the time comes to upgrade. As your site grows and traffic increases, it is possible that at some point your site may require more resources. With most hosting providers you won't find this out until you start to experience problems with your site. With Namecheap you can monitor this yourself thanks to CloudLinux – log into your cPanel and look on the left, below the monthly bandwidth and disk space usage you will see 'CPU Usage' as a percentage and 'Concurrent Connections'. Keep a close watch on the CPU Usage if it frequently starts getting too high. You will also want to watch your disk space and bandwidth, depending on the type of site you have and its content, the requirements for disk space and bandwidth can vary greatly. Another way to know the time to upgrade is when you want something that isn't supported by your current hosting plan. Maybe you want to host a large number of domains in account, or you have more than one domain that needs a dedicated IP address, or perhaps you need a large number of email addresses, or you want to have streaming media on your site, or you want to use some script that has some special requirements - there are many possible reasons you may need to upgrade.
What do I do when I need to upgrade?
The first thing is to determine what you need and try to some extent to anticipate your future needs. Once you believe you have determined what you need, begin looking at plans that may meet your requirements, carefully examine the specifications of these plans and don't be reluctant to ask questions. Here at Namecheap, we can offer recommendations if you like, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Then, once you have decided on a new plan, your next actions depend on the hosting plan you are moving from and the one you are moving to. If you are upgrading your hosting here at Namecheap, submit a ticket with our Billing department, we will upgrade your account and assist you with transferring your sites. If you are transferring a hosting account to Namecheap, and your hosting provider uses cPanel, we can also assist you with transferring your sites. In this case, don't cancel your other account until your new one is activated and the transfer is complete. For specific information on how to transfer an existing hosting account to us, refer to this article.