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Choosing the right hosting plan and when to upgrade
All web hosting plans have different features and offer different levels of resources. How do you select the right plan for you? The vast majority of webmasters will choose some form of shared hosting plan. This is by far the most popular because it is the most economical and is suitable for most web sites. With thousands of web hosts competing for your business and endless offers of unlimited bandwidth and disk space, the new or less experienced webmaster will usually be tempted to go with the lowest priced hosting they can find. There can sometimes be a money saving advantage to starting with the cheapest plan you can find, but usually this will end with problems. Slow page loading, down time and general poor performance. Often the cheapest hosting can be unreliable and will have very poor tech support. Purchasing cheap hosting from some web host you have never heard of before, also involves some risk. Often these companies are here today and gone tomorrow. Also consider this, these businesses are trying to turn a profit, in order to offer something too good to be true, they have to use cheap inferior hardware and overload their servers with too many accounts in order to bring in enough money. We have all heard horror stories about someones bad experience with some web hosting company. So take my advice and spend a little extra and go with a reputable well established company. Do this and you will have less problems and will be able to go along time before you may ever need to move your site.
Choosing the right plan:
There are many things to consider, and this can often be a difficult choice even for experienced webmasters. Let us first consider the three main types of web hosting plans:
As the name suggests, shared hosting consists of many hosting accounts sharing a single server, all sharing the same IP address, although a dedicated IP address is often available for an additional fee. These plans will always offer a specific set of features and will always have limits on resources due to the server and the number of accounts hosted on that server. Therefore it is important to know what features you will need for your site and how demanding your site will be in terms of the use of server resources. If you are not certain, there is nothing wrong with starting out with a more limited plan and upgrading later after your site grows and gets more traffic. Just be sure that the plan you select offers the features your site requires. Some of the things you may need to consider: disc space, bandwidth, the number of hosted domains and possibly the number of subdomains, and parked domains, versions of PHP, MySQL, and Perl. Will you need a dedicated IP address? You may want to allow multiple FTP users or you may need to create a large number of email addresses. Will you need MySQL or PostgreSQL databases? If so how many? These are specifications and limitations that will vary with different shared hosting plans. I don't mean to make it sound overly complicated. If you are just starting your very first web site and are not entirely sure yet what you are going to do with it, then you may not need to be too concerned about these details yet. Remember you can always upgrade later. Namecheap and web-hosting.com both have several shared hosting plans to choose from. The Value plan, Professional plan, and Ultimate plan. In addition to these, both sites offer two Business Hosting plans.
Business hosting represents the highest quality and most powerful hosting available without moving to a dedicated solution. In terms of shared hosting, the Business Hosting offered by Namecheap and web-hosting.com is second to none. Our Business Hosting servers are limited to no more than 50 accounts on each server, making these plans suitable for many of the most demanding needs. These plans have no limits on: Hosted Domains / Parked Domains / Subdomains / FTP users / Databases / or Mail accounts. These plans also provide high priority support and much higher limits on outgoing email. These plans can even be a viable alternative to a VPS when you need the resources a VPS would provide but don't quite need the root access and flexibility you receive with a VPS. In fact these plans even provide more disk space and bandwidth than most VPS plans. To state it briefly, the Business Hosting plans offered by Namecheap and web-hosting.com are a model of perfection that is without precedent in shared hosting plans.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. This refers to the partitioning of a physical server into multiple servers. In effect each one acts just like a dedicated server, each with its own operating system and each can be rebooted separately. These operating systems each receive a specific share of the resources of the physical server, no more and no less, they are isolated from each other such that one cannot interfere with another, if one VPS experiences problems or tries to use too much memory or CPU resources, it has no effect on the others. There are many advantages to selecting a VPS, the cost is less than a fully dedicated server and provides a great deal of freedom and flexibility over the limitations and restrictions of shared hosting. You are limited only by the capabilities of the VPS, so select one powerful enough to meet your needs. Once again you can always upgrade later if it becomes necessary. Two of the most popular virtualization technologies are: Xen and OpenVZ, both of these are offered by Namecheap and web-hosting.com. If you don't feel you have the technical expertise necessary to manage your own VPS, there is no need to let that stop you, for an additional fee you can select full management. You wont have root access and it will act much like a shared hosting plan, but you will still make the decisions.
A dedicated server is the most powerful option and can be suitable for the most demanding needs. Everything ultimately is running on a server somewhere. All the sites you visit, your hosting account, that internet radio station you listen to, the streaming videos you watch, this site you are viewing now, everything. Again I want to point out that full management is an option if you need the power of a dedicated server but you don't feel you have the technical knowledge to manage your own server. One major advantage of a dedicated server you should be aware of is the ability to upgrade certain features. Even if you outgrow your server, sometimes it isn't necessary to move to a new server. What do I mean by this? With shared hosting you can't buy additional features, you simply have to upgrade to a better plan. With a VPS you are in better shape here because you can buy additional bandwidth, IP addresses, and often additional disk space and maybe even more ram, but the additional disk space and ram will fall within certain limits. With a fully dedicated server you are not so limited. You can not only buy the bandwidth you need but you may be able to add gigabytes of ram or upgrade the port speed or add one or more additional hard drives. Carefully examine the specifications of any server and find out what upgrades are possible, often a low end server is less upgradeable than one that costs a little more.
How do I know when I need to upgrade?
It is easy to know when the time comes to upgrade. As your site grows and traffic increases, it is possible that at some point your site may require more resources than are provided by your hosting plan. With most other hosting providers you wont find this out until you start to experience problems with your site. With Namecheap and web-hosting.com you can now monitor this yourself, due to the recent upgrade to CloudLinux, login to your cPanel and look to the left side, below the monthly bandwidth and disk space usage you will see “CPU Usage” as a percentage and “Concurrent Connections”. Keep a close watch on the CPU Usage, if it frequently starts getting too high. You need a safety margin here to allow for surges in traffic during times of peak usage. If you can, try to estimate when you will need to upgrade before the time comes, so that you can avoid any performance issues with your site. You will also want to watch your disk space and bandwidth, depending on the type of site you have and its content, the requirements for disk space and bandwidth can vary greatly. Another way to know its time to upgrade is when you want something that isn't supported on your current hosting plan. This could be any of a number of different things. Maybe you want to host a large number of domains under one account, or you have more than one domain that needs a dedicated IP address, or perhaps you need a very large number of email addresses, or you want to have streaming media on your site, or you want to use some script that has some special requirements, whatever the case may be, there are many possible reasons you may need to upgrade.
What do I do when I need to upgrade?
The first thing is to determine what you need. If you have already found that it is time to upgrade, then you should have a good idea what you need or want that isn't available from your current plan. You should also try to some extent to anticipate your future needs. Once you believe you have determined what you need, begin looking at plans that may meet your requirements, carefully examine the specifications of these plans and don't be reluctant to ask questions. Here at Namecheap we can offer recommendations if you like and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Then once you have decided on a new plan, your next action depends somewhat on the hosting plan you are moving from and the one you are moving to. If you are upgrading your hosting here at Namecheap, please submit a ticket with our Billing department and we will upgrade your account and assist you with transferring your site(s). If you are transferring a hosting account to Namecheap and your hosting provider uses cPanel we can also assist you with transferring your site(s). In this case, don't cancel your other account until your new one is activated and the transfer is complete. For specific information on how to transfer an existing hosting account to Namecheap please refer to this article: