Third Party

Large or Busy Websites

If your website is anticipating a larger number of visitors, or you're planning to include lots of media rich content including video, you will probably want to use a Third Party Hosting service to host your website. Third Party Hosting will give you optimal performance and a much larger bandwidth for your visitors than our own Maldon Media servers can provide. Obviously a premium service comes at a premium cost, however we have a good knowledge of these service providers and can help steer you in the right direction should you want us to.

Hosting Considerations

When deciding on a suitable third party web hosting package you need to consider many different aspects before making your final decision. These will most likely include:

  1. Machine specification including number of processors, the amount of RAM available. The server your website is on needs to have enough power to cope.
  2. The operating system that runs on your server. All our websites are built on Microsoft's DotNet Core 2 framework which is a cross platform framework, giving you a choice of Microsoft Windows, macOS, or Linux.
  3. Database support for your website. Most websites have some sort of database dependency and we usually use Microsoft's SQL Server. In many cases we use the free SQL Express version as this is more than adequate for many website scenarios. More complex website will need a full version of SQL Server which will also need to be hosted. SQL Server is supported to run on both the Microsoft Windows platform and more recently Linux.
  4. The amount of disc space available may be important to you. For smaller websites with just a few images you won't need a lot of space. However larger sites or those that deal heavily with images, and especially video, will need considerably more. Video especially is extremely hungry on disc space, however if you are planning on including a lot of video then you may well be better off hosting the video content on a service such as Vimeo. This does have a cost, however it relieves the storage and bandwidth issues that video often incurs.
  5. The bandwidth, or speed of the Internet connection from your server is potentially very important. For smaller text based websites with occasional graphics this is unlikely to be too much of an issue, but for media rich websites, or those that have a lot of visitors, it could be vital. Most people who use the Internet expect a page to load in under three seconds. If it doesn't they may well give up and go elsewhere. So if the page they are loading has several large images, or even video, it needs to arrive quickly. We hear a lot about home broadband download speeds, and with the latest fibre connections speeds of over 30Mbs are common place. If the web server cannot supply the content at a suitable rate then it doesn't matter how quick your visitor's Internet connection is.
  6. Redundancy and disaster recovery is also something you need to consider. This is often a grey area because in many ways it's like insurance, it's an investment for if and when something goes wrong. What happens if the server your website is hosted on fails for some reason? How long are you prepared to be without your website? Although your data will certainly be backed up, full backups are usually taken once a day, if the failure doesn't happen immediately after that backup how much data are you prepared to lose? There are various ways around this, most of which usually involve using more than one server. We can discuss this with you as a part of your consultation so you don't need to worry, but you definitely do need to think about it.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is often the cheapest form of third party hosting. Simply put your website is installed on a server along side various other websites. Because it's shared so are the server resources. The benefit of this type of hosting is usually the cost, however one of the negatives is if a website that sits on the same server is particularly busy, your site could suffer as a result. For smaller sites this usually isn't a problem, but for larger more complex media rich designs it could cause issues. Shared hosting solutions are also more restricted. The hosting providers usually try very hard to protect the other users who are on the same server as you. Consequently the configuration of these servers is severely restricted.

Virtual Server Hosting

Virtual Hosting is the next step up from shared hosting and gives you the benefit of your own server. The machine itself is exclusively yours and you have access to use it pretty much as you wish without restrictions. The compromise here is that being a virtual server, it actually sits on top of a much bigger physical server which is shared by many individual customers. So although you have in principle your own machine the server resources are still shared. Usually though this is better controlled by the virtual server host so it's a useful compromise. Cost wise it's more expensive than shared hosting, but cheaper that dedicated hosting (see below). Virtual servers do have the advantage in that they can be very quickly moved to a new host, and potential recovery time could be a lot quicker in the event of a failure.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting refers to an actual physical server, a computer that is effectively yours. You don't share it or any of it's resources with anyone, and as such it has many benefits. The server can be configured as required. Any necessary software can be installed, and it can even be rebooted without having to consider any other customers. This freedom does of course come at a cost and this is often the most expensive of the three main hosting options.