I’m not a very technical guy when it comes to systems and networking. As a result, when my main niche site started to take off in traffic levels and pageviews, I had to do a lot of research for what type of hosting would be appropriate.
Hosting isn’t something that should be complicating. All you really need is for your website to run fast, not be at risk of crashing, can handle growth and traffic spikes, and is secure.
Shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting? Which one is right for me??
That’s the question I had when my niche site started to grow in traffic, and I’m going to share with you the simple way of deciding without spending more money than you should be.
The hosting provider I use for my own niche sites
I have most of my niche sites in their Shared Hosting Plan, and my main niche site on its own dedicated server.
When you first start your niche site
When you’re just starting your niche sites, you won’t need to invest in more expensive servers. Shared hosting is perfectly fine.
It’s also the cheapest option, so you usually won’t need to pay more than $10/month, depending on which hosting provider you choose to go with.
I recommend Bluehost’s Shared Hosting Plan, where you can get it for just $3.49/month.
They let you host an unlimited number of sites, which is what sold me to join them in the first place.
Instead of having to buy an additional hosting account for each site you add, you can just add one into your current plan for free.
That’s incredibly useful if you’re like me and put up a ton of different sites and experiment with a lot of website ideas.
No need for VPS or Dedicated at this point
In the beginning of your niche site, you don’t need to go with VPS or dedicated.
I recommend having a shared hosting plan for all your sites, and then upgrading your winners when they start getting a lot of traffic.
That way… you can build all the sites you want, upgrade any high performers, and continue to build and launch an unlimited number of niche sites on your shared hosting plan.
When should you move away from shared hosting?
The answer here will vary depending on your site’s size. But the rough estimate is when you start to get around 10,000 uniques per day (around 300,000 visitors per month).
That’s when I made the move myself for my main niche site.
Until then, the site performs fine with shared hosting.
Which type of hosting should you move to at this point?
There are 3 types of hosting no matter which provider you go with: shared, vps, and dedicated.
So… at this point, there are 2 ways you can go: VPS or dedicated.
What’s the difference?
Dedicated hosting is the Mac Daddy of all hosting. You essentially get your own server and have full control over what you do with it.
VPS (virtual private server) is like the middle ground between dedicated hosting and shared hosting.
But I’m not going to turn this into some technical article… To put simply, dedicated hosting is the best possible option with the highest level of performance.
The only reason not to go dedicated at this point is cost.
Dedicated hosting is much more expensive than VPS hosting.
I have my main niche site on dedicated hosting, and I’m paying roughly $150/month.
VPS hosting would have cost me half of that.
Would it be okay to have gone with VPS instead?
Absolutely! It would run fine. I just wanted the best possible performance since I saw this as a long-term investment that would help me grow the business.
Plus… $150/month isn’t THAT expensive for a dedicated server from Bluehost. There are other providers where price gets closer to $500+ per month.
The perfect option for WordPress users
If your site is running on WordPress, Bluehost also offers an Optimized WordPress Hosting package.
I haven’t used it myself yet, but after speaking with Bluehost, it’s definitely going to be my new middle ground before I upgrade into a dedicated server.
It’s basically VPS hosting that was designed for WordPress sites, and it’s pretty much the same cost as their normal VPS hosting.
If you’re on shared hosting and your site starts to grow, then definitely look into this hosting package.
How to move from shared hosting to VPS or Dedicated hosting
This was something I was concerned about.
If I go with shared hosting, can I move to VPS or Dedicated hosting easily?
Will it take a bunch of time?
Do I have to do it myself?
Do I need to hire somebody?
How long will it take?
With Bluehost, they handled the move for me for free. From shared hosting to dedicated in about 45 minutes.
That’s pretty awesome. All you need to do is contact them whenever you feel you want to upgrade and they’ll do the move for you right there on the spot.
Really great, especially if you’re not very technical like me.
If you’re just getting started with your new niche sites, go with Bluehost’s shared hosting plan. You’ll be able to host an unlimited number of sites with optimum performance.
To sign up, just go to Bluehost and click on their “Shared Hosting” link in their navigation.
Then… when any of your sites start to really grow beyond 300,000 visitors per month, make the upgrade.
Bluehost will make the move for you, and it shouldn’t take over an hour to make the full transfer unless your site is really big.
If you’re like me and want the best possible performance, then go with their dedicated hosting.
But if you’re not ready to pay over $100/month on hosting just yet, go with their WordPress Optimized Hosting plan, which is half the cost.
Following this model, you shouldn’t have to pay more than you should, and will allow you to get the proper type of web hosting as your website grows.
(EDIT: After testing out Traffic Planet, I now recommend them for anybody who is serious about their website. Read about what happened when I switched from Bluehost to Traffic Planet here.)