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I have (almost) developed website for my client and now need to decide on hosting. Most of the users of the site will be located in Australia, and so am I and my client. Now, I want to consider everything before deciding on host and few questions comes to my mind:

  1. I cannot afford website being down, and all hosts say something like "99% uptime guranted". Should just that be enough or shall I ask hosts for some stats maybe?

  2. Does it make any difference if servers and whole hosting company is located in Australia or outside? I've been hosting few sites with JustHost.com on shared hosting (cheapest plan, servers in US I believe) and never seen any delays but could that be an issue? I would prefer Australian company so I can actually go to them and give them piece of my mind if something goes wrong, but US servers seem cheaper.

  3. Would share hosting do? Its ecommerce custom build php application, I know there are security issues with sessions etc on shared hosting. Will take precautions of course but could share hosting be an issue? Would dedicated be worthy option considering that my knowledge of server is very limited?

I need to run php/mysql, with preferably unlimited bandwidth as with my experience I cannot tell what amount of traffic would be sufficient. Please let me know if I didn't provide you with enough information so you could answer my questions, will gladly explain further. In advance thanks for any answers :)

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2 Answers

You have great concerns and you are thinking down the right path.

  1. If a hosting company doesn't have at least 99% uptime, look elsewhere. Most shoot for "4 Nines" 99.99% uptime.

  2. It can make a huge difference where your hosting is located. If your host is in the USA, and the visitors are mostly coming from Australia. The time it takes the data to travel is important.

  3. I am of the opinion that shared hosting is a game. It is a beneficial tool, for developers who need test sites, or the baseball teams that have a dad who know frontpage. If you mean business get a dedicated server, you will have better performance, and in my experience better control over the environment.

  4. You mentioned unlimited bandwidth. Thats kind of a myth, sure your bandwidth is unlimited, but your shared host can only handle 30 hits at a time. I am exaggerating a little, but believe me. If you host a viral video or something such as...you will get shutdown. The reason given, will fit nicely in the fine print of your agreement.

If you think shared hosting is closer to your budget, I would suggest looking into a cloud solution. Like Aptana/Joyent Cloud, your php/mysql code will still be able to be used and you get to pay for what you need. As well as, scale on demand if your site becomes more loaded. I would check out http://www.webhostingtalk.com/ I bet you will find good info there.

Cheers

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Unless you KNOW that your site is going to be hammered with visitors right off the bat (such as spending mega money on advertisement right away), start with a shared hosting plan. As traffic (and thus revenue increases), upgrade your hosting plan to a dedicated server or VPS.

Your hosting provider should be able to quickly upgrade you to something that meets your needs as traffic increases.

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