When it comes to website hosting, there are basically three types: Shared, VPS and Dedicated. I’ll discuss Shared and VPS here.  Dedicated is beyond the needs and budgets for most small business owners.

Web servers are computers designed specifically for serving up websites.  Because of this, many of the same rules that apply to your home computer apply to web servers as well. This is a simplification as there are some big differences, but it will do for our discussion here.

With a Shared Hosting Account, the hosting company sets up one, big web server and puts several accounts on the same machine.  Privileges and permissions keep you from seeing the other accounts. The benefit of Shared Hosting is the cost, it’s cheap. For many people, the low price is irresistible. As is often the case, you get what you pay for. The downside is you have little to no control over what software or software settings on the server. The server has to suit the needs of everyone, not just you. The other big downside is the shared resources.  The disk space, computer memory, bandwidth, etc are all shared by everyone on the server.

The hosting companies do their best to prevent problems, but not everything is preventable or foreseeable. If one of the accounts on the server is mentioned in the media, they could get a lot of traffic very quickly.  Some sites become victims of DNS attacks. These types of things can slow down and sometimes cripple the entire server and all the accounts on it. If one of the accounts on the server gets hacked into, that can compromise all of the accounts on the server. These sorts of things don’t happen often, but they are a risk to consider.

With a VPS (virtual private server) Account, your account is installed on your own partition with your own operating system. It’s almost like you have your own server which means you can control the software and settings. You do not share the same disk space, memory or bandwidth. If another account gets hacked into, the hacker cannot access your account because it is on a different partition. You get most of the benefits of a dedicated server without the high price tag.

The ‘best hosting’ will depend on your needs and budget. I’d strongly suggest that if your website is more than just a hobby, a VPS Hosting account is a wise investment. It doesn’t take much to go wrong to justify the difference in cost and peace of mind. A hack, a virus, a slow site, a down site can mean lost customers. That is something no business can afford.

Wheaton Website Services offers Zen Cart hosting packages. You’ll find a hosting package that fits your needs and budget.