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 Designer Web Applications 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.
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:
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 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 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.