The web sites typically developed by Webnetism require hosting on a .net server with SQL server providing database support. There are many options available for hosting such sites with different configurations all costing different amounts. The primary question we are asked is: “Should I go with dedicated or shared hosting, and what is the difference? 
There is no simple answer to this but to make a simple analogy look at it this way: “Should I take the bus to work or drive my own car?” The bus itself is expensive to buy, but its resources are shared by many people making it a very cost effective means of getting to work. But it has its downsides. It won’t pick you up form home or run to your schedule and it may even not have room for you. The guarantees of service it provides are restricted. Your own car will cost you a lot more but it gives you the flexibility and guarantee of service you require so long as it’s maintained well.
The options:
  • Shared hosting on a set of servers 
  • Shared Virtual Machines (VM) on a shared VM platform
  • Dedicated hardware

The standard way of hosting is to setup many web sites on a set of servers and share the cost of the hardware and software amongst the users. This is most cost effective but in terms of performance is the slowest and provides little flexibility.
The second option is to use Virtual machines on shared hardware. In this scenario you get your own server running your own applications but still share the hardware resources. Better performance and lots of flexibility.
The most flexible hosting solution and the fastest is dedicated hardware. In this scenario only your web site(s) run on this hardware, and all the resources of the machine(s) are used to deliver your website and applications.
The decision on hosting of web sites is dictated by several key elements:
  • Performance
  • Cost
  • Reliability
  • Expandability
  • Security
All the hosting systems and services we provide at Webnetism are secure, fast and reliable. However there are elements that are not possible under the shared hosting arrangements. Moving from a shared environment to a dedicated environment allows for greater security, higher speeds and much better reliability and flexibility of service and capacity.

Shared Hosting

Benefits Drawbacks
Cost effective Shared firewall – less secure
Reliable Shared resources of the servers – slower
Fully managed No access to databases
  Limited access to files via FTP
  Site at mercy of other web sites performance
  Disk space restrictions
  Bandwidth restriction
  Application restrictions
  No VPNs
  No say on reboots and maintenance windows
  Support during working hours
  Limited support out of hours

VM Hosting

Benefits Drawbacks
Higher performance Requires bespoke management
Much higher data throughput (5 meg) Expensive to expand
No restriction on applications Limited storage space
Provides for VPNs Share the resources of the hardware
Higher uptime and better SLA  
24x7 support  

Dedicated Hosting

Benefits Drawbacks
Highest performance Expensive
Highest security Requires bespoke management
No restriction on usage of server resources  
Much higher data throughput (5 meg)  
No restriction on applications  
Provides for VPNs  
Maximum freedom to expand – Scalable  
Highest uptime and better SLA  
24x7 support  

Key elements in the cost of dedicated soloutions are:

Server utilisation – What server hardware does the site require?
Bandwidth utilisation – how much internet capacity does/will the site require?
Electricity – How much electricity will a set of servers consume?
Cooling – How much cooling is required to maintain the servers at 22deg C?
Space utilisation – How much space will the servers require in the data centre?
Support – What level of technical support will be required and at what times?
Backup and DR – What facilities will be required for backup?
Security – What level of firewalling and IP addressing will the site(s) require?
Installation – How long will it take to install, configure and test the hosting solution?

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