Some of the most popular websites to have ever existed are news based blog websites. Many of these, such as the Huffington Post and Mashable, have been born out of the blog boom that has been witnessed over the past 10 years and have sustained the feel of a blog but expanded over a much larger scale of editors and writers. News based blogs have as much authority as some mainstream news websites and are often a port of call for many to find the latest niche stories or information. However the ease of setting up a blog does come with some additional issues for those unfamiliar with blogging, one of which is the nature of hosting a blog. For this reason it’s important to understand the hosting implications of running a potentially popular blog. Not least, it’s vital to know your options, ranging from free platforms to cloud hosting.
When you start out blogging you might be tempted in trying out some of the well known free blogging platforms that offer not just the functionality of a blog but the hosting as well. From WordPress to Blogger back into Tumblr, there are plenty of blogging platforms that are great for those who are taking their first steps into the blogosphere. However they come with a few disadvantages. There is limited control over the look and functionality of the blog, the content created on the free blog is owned by the platform provider and, in some cases, if you reach a certain traffic intake you still have to pay for the hosting! Unless you are looking to develop a site purely for personal reasons then it might be best to avoid the free blogging platforms for now. From a news blog perspective it will be important to be able to have as much control over the design of the site and the functionality of the site as possible.
The next form of hosting that tends to follow free blogging platform is often “shared hosting”. Often it is the cheapest form of web hosting that gives you a level of control over a folder that resides on a web server. Files can be added to and removed from your designated folder using an FTP (file transfer protocol), which will result in a more powerful and functional website. Blog platforms such as wordpress.org can be installed on Apache servers that have access to MYSQL databases – often the cheaper option when it comes to the different types of specific server.
As previously mentioned the main benefit is the fact that you have complete control over your website’s core files – all design and functionality can be controlled by you. Unfortunately there are still issues with shared hosting. Shared hosts are often sold as an option for hobbyists and entry level websites. Blogs that are reaching large audiences may struggle in terms of performance under a shared hosting platform as the server struggles to deal with the traffic for not just one website but multiple websites.
Dedicated, Virtual and Cloud Hosting
Dedicated servers are a logical step up from shared hosting as they offer substantially more performance than shared hosting options. They are often sold to handle massive amounts of traffic or even to handle a complex IT infrastructure. Websites hosted on dedicated servers do not share resources with other websites unless they have been specifically added by the owner of the server. For sites looking to handle over a million visitors in a month or looking for a faster server will have to consider the power of a dedicated server. However therein lies the main issue with dedicated servers. Websites that might be experiencing performance issues with a shared host might not necessarily have the traffic levels that would make using a dedicated server worthwhile. The cost of a dedicated web server is based on the rental of a dedicated machine and can be vastly overpowered for the purposes of running a news blog. So what other options are there?
Virtualised systems such as Virtual Private Severs (VPS) or cloud based web servers offer the advantages of a dedicated server but tailored to the specific needs of the website.
VPS offers a greater amount of power and control for website owners who have a blog or site that has a lot of traffic. A VPS is a server used by an individual that uses shared physical servers but offers the computational power of a single server through virtualisation. This means that all computational resources are essentially virtualised and thus can be tailored to the individual’s need. While this is a solid step to make and advisable for larger websites – a VPS may struggle if a surge in traffic is encountered by a website as it still conforms to some of the restrictions of a physical server. For example, if a news website breaks a story that entices users to visit, bandwidth levels may be exceeded and the website may crash. The answer may lie in cloud hosting – a form of virtualisation that offers flexibility in setting up and handling a server. The great advantage of cloud hosting is that – with the right providers – resources can be instantly scaled up to deal with issues such as extreme bandwidth increases, thereby helping to ensure the smooth running of a website.
Cloud hosting may not be for everyone but it can certainly be an option for blogs and websites susceptible to spikes in traffic. In this way you will ensure that you site doesn’t suffer the embarrassment of not being available
Jonathan is a freelance writer who likes all things web – from running a cloud hosting infrastructure to talking about the latest social network.