Having an online presence is no longer a ‘nice’ addition for most businesses; it is an essential one. With Google becoming the Yellow Pages of the 21st Century if you don’t have a website many people will be unaware your business exists at all. The problem is, for smaller companies and those in traditionally non-tech industries, websites can pose a challenge. Without an IT team and often with very little knowledge of the Internet beyond personal use, developing and maintaining a website is still seen as a daunting experience.
Configuring and utilising web space effectively is paramount to online success. There are a variety of different ways to host a website, each with it’s own pros and cons. While tempting for businesses new to the online world to simply choose the cheapest option, this often proves significantly more expensive in the long run, particularly if your website flourishes. It is here that virtual server hosting changes the game for online business – from the SMB to the multi-national enterprise – providing more flexibility than other hosting solutions, particularly for businesses new to the Internet.
What is Virtual Hosting?
Virtual server hosting offers many of the same features as dedicated hosting, yet at a much lower cost. It works a little like shared hosting, in that often the hosting space on a server is allocated in part to you and others, however the freedom and power it offers as a remote IT infrastructure is much greater.
As it’s name may suggest, virtual server hosting uses technology called virtualisation to split one physical server into many virtual servers. Each of these virtual servers then behaves in the way each separate physical server would. You cannot use the whole of the physical server (if you wanted that you would need dedicated hosting), but you can use your piece of the server (your virtual server) however you wish, giving you much more flexibility to install software and tools, than a traditional shared server would provide.
Benefits of a Virtual Server
Many businesses find an off-the-shelf website is suitable as an initial foray into the online world but once they understand their online market better, a site more specific to their needs is often necessary. For businesses and developers looking to build a site from scratch, virtual server hosting offers the freedom to configure and use a web space most effectively. Virtualisation reduces the costs of running separate development, staging and production areas, providing a space where software or web developers can experiment with ideas and designs, in order to achieve the perfect site.
This space can also be used to test websites without impacting live end-user experience. Development servers may be created from production images without creating bottlenecks to service or worse, downtime. This provides the ability to quickly modify, test and deploy web pages/services into production, speeding up the development and deployment cycles considerably. The flexibility of a virtual server also allows for the decommissioning of development and staging environments when no longer needed, further reducing costs whilst improving efficiency of workflow.
When businesses do flourish online they can quickly find that they run into problems with regard to capacity and performance. The space that was once plentiful is now strained and impacting user experience, which in turn has a negative effect on sales. Virtual server hosting gives businesses the capability to scale up or down their server space as necessary, which is perfect for expanding businesses. Virtual resources can be quickly added to increase the capacity, but due to the nature of a virtual server, you only buy what you need – you do not need to purchase an entire physical server. Additional disk space is easy to add on demand and adding vCPUs and RAM is as simple as performing a reboot. All of this can occur without disruption to services and removes the need to buy more server space ‘just in case,’ saving both time and money.
Virtual server hosting offers flexible, secure and scalable hosting which is perfect for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether you have an in-house IT team or no such resources at all, managed virtual server hosting helps to engage a growing workforce AND customer base of technologically astute people. Having a web presence for your business is no longer a ‘nicety’, it is an expectation and one that will only truly scale as an asset to you if it is hosted on the best virtual environment and comes with dedicated support.