Apr 3, 2015

Guide to high-performance hosting


High performance hostingThe original version of this article was published on the iWeb blog. Read it here.

What is high performance in hosting, and which hosting model offers the ‘best’ performance? It’s all a question of priorities. Find out how focusing on the right features can mean choosing the most cost-effective, high-performance hosting solution for your own particular needs.

Shared web hosting is very limited in performance. Beyond a certain level of workload or website traffic, there is no such thing as high performance (shared) web hosting. Even ‘unlimited’ web hosting that offers unlimited capacity and unlimited traffic is not as high-performance as it sounds.

Shared web hosting shares computing, storage and bandwidth capacity between many tenants. That means performance is limited by the amount of CPU, RAM and bandwidth that you are are allocated at a given moment. Even if there is no stated limit to the bytes of traffic you can serve, or files you can store, you are severely limited by the fact that you are sharing a physical server with many other tenants and their unknown/variable workloads. That said, good web hosting offers perfectly adequate performance for low-traffic, static websites.

So how do you know when a web hosting plan is inadequate for your site?
Websites that use shared hosting will become noticeably slow to load if the server is struggling to keep up with demand. You can also track page load times in Google Analytics – just make sure that your sample size is large enough to base a decision on.

If you expect high levels of traffic, or you are a hosting reseller/agency looking to build a portfolio of websites, consider planning ahead and buying hosting that has enough headroom for you to grow. It could save you the pain of a series of migrations.

Other ways to improve website performance for any level of hosting is to optimize and/or separately host different website elements. For example, you can speed up performance by consolidating CSS, you can host your CSS, JavaScript, images and other files separately, and you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to store and serve static content.

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