How to Scale Up Web Hosting As Your Blog Grows

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Self-hosted WordPress blogs are found in abundance running on different types of web hosting platforms. For a small to medium sized blog, basic web hosting configuration is good enough to carry the weight of traffic it is receiving. But, as traffic increases so does the load on your web server. That's where careful planning is necessary to choose the right kind of server that not only takes care of your blog's ever growing demands but also doesn't puts extra burden on your pocket. We're going to discuss about various web hosting options available for bloggers to keep their online business running smooth without any glitch. I'm not going to recommend any specific web hosting company in this article, nor will I litter this post with countless affiliate links. It will be a generic hosting features discussion that will help you take the right decision.

Start Small & Plan for the Future

Large numbers of new bloggers start their blogging journey on free blogging platforms like Blogger or Tumblr. Eventually, at some stage they opt for a self-hosted WordPress installation. This initiates a search for a good web host. Low to medium traffic blogs (1,000 to 10,000 visits per day) runs smoothly on a good shared server provided you've configured your WordPress installation correctly and are vigilant enough to pick any performance related shortcoming.

Generally, there are two types of shared hosting environments available for bloggers. Depending on your requirements, you can opt for one of the solutions so that your blog runs perfectly without any problems. Here are these two types of shared hosting options.
  • Standard shared server - This is the most common type of hosting server used by majority of bloggers. It's best suited for new blogs with relatively low traffic. You simply share a single server with hundreds of other sites residing on the same machine. It's best suited for personal and low traffic niche blogs.
  • Clustered grid server - This is yet another kind of shared hosting environment available for low to medium traffic blogs. In simple words, you can call it as shared hosting on steroids. Instead of hosting your blog on a single server, this hosting environment use hundreds of servers in a cluster that powers all hosted sites sharing the load and resources. This gives much better performance than the former option and let's you sleep peacefully even if you experience occasional traffic spikes.
While starting from the lowest level hosting plans, you must ensure than your blog installation isn't dependent on host-specific features that are generally not found elsewhere. This way you'll be able to transfer your blog very easily, whenever required. Always stress on using standard extensions and features that can be used with different hosting providers without any glitch.

Hopping To the Next Level

Sooner or later, your basic shared hosting plan is going to choke your blog's growth and may demand a better hosting solution. But, how would you know about it? If we look at various hosting plans available today, almost all of them talk about infinite disk space and bandwidth. Theoretically this can handle any kind of website, but the reality is quite different.

Once your blog starts consuming considerable amount of CPU cycles, your web host will ask you to upgrade the plan. This may accompany frequent timeouts while visitors are trying to reach your blog posts. Good hosting plans lets you keep an eye on the CPU resources your blog is consuming on a daily basis. This lets you optimize it as well as lets you prepare in advance for upgrading to a more robust and powerful hosting solution.

The next step involves transferring your blog to a virtual private server or to a cloud server. Both give you added capabilities and more power to cater the growing demands of your blog. They're best suited for medium to fairly large amount of traffic (10,000+ to 100,000 visits per day) with lots of traffic spikes within a single month. Here's what both these options offer you.
  • Virtual private server - This server set-up use the virtualization technology that divides a big powerful server into few small servers. Each virtual server has fixed amount of resources that are not shared with anybody else. This gives you more cushion for hosting an active blog.
  • Cloud server - You can compare it with a clustered grid server but at a much large scale with oodles of power. A good thing about such kind of environment is that if one part of the cloud is not working, other parts are not affected and the staff quietly repairs that ailing part. This way, very few websites are affected by such kind of incidents.
If you've migrated to a VPS, it's the right time to start deploying a robust caching solution. Shared hosting environments aren't suited for best performance when it comes to configuring various caching plugins for maximum throughput. Virtual private servers let you utilize alternative PHP cache to get the full benefit of a typical caching solution.

Playing With Big Toys

A time comes when even a VPS starts ailing under the pressure of traffic for blogs receiving tons of visitors each day. A blog receiving massive amount (100,000+ visits per day) of traffic couldn't survive on an entry-level virtual private server. The only long-lasting and permanent solution is to migrate to a powerful dedicated server.

Here also you have at least two types of solutions. One is the fully managed server, while the other one is only suitable for experts. Dedicated servers also vary significantly based on their configurations. You must consult an expert before signing up for any dedicated plan. Here are two different approaches to work with a dedicated server.
  • Fully managed server - The first one includes complete support, management, troubleshooting and technical assistance while you're working with your blogs and websites. Most customers go with such type of solution as it relieves them from all the technical stuff done at the back end so that they can focus on their primary task of building and promoting their blogs.
  • Raw server - Experts who're comfortable working with complex web server configurations can choose to go with a raw server that can be configured in the way one wants it to be. This gives you complete flexibility in configuring your server as per your requirements. Big companies with a team of experts generally prefer this approach as it not only gives them complete control over their servers, but also saves lot of money spent on dedicated technical support.
While using a dedicated server, you must ensure that the LAMP stack is perfectly fine-tuned to leverage the full potential of the hardware available at your disposal. A slight mistake can leave you with underutilized server that can cost you big money in the long run.

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