Having the right tool makes any job easier. Since I was young, I was always fascinated with taking things apart and try to put them back together. Besides experience, one of the biggest limiting factors in my success depended on the tool I was using. Ever unscrewed a stubborn screw with a screwdriver slightly misshapen only to strip out the screw?
Developing anything, including technology, can be made easier with the right set of tools.
In this article, part 1 of a series, we explore how using the right size tool is just as important as the essential function(s) it serves.
We wouldn’t use a Fireman’s axe to cut a piece of paper would we? No, because it would be more work to operate the axe than cut the paper. And we wouldn’t reach for that if it were our first choice anywhere. The same goes for splitting a log with scissors. It might work but it would take forever and be a painful mess. The same principle, although we rarely think about it in the real world, exists with the servers we choose to host websites and perform other IT-related tasks.
In the computer world, the basis for the tools we use is the computer itself that the software runs on. Each feature added increases the load on the hosting server’s processor (CPU) and reduces the amount of available processing memory (RAM).
For static personal and small business websites, the standard hosting is often sufficient. Hosting providers may have different server requirements depending if you host multiple domains however. Be aware content management systems (CMS) can place more load on a server than the content of the website itself. I am familiar with both WordPress and Expression Engine and they are a great way to harness the power of your website in an easy-to-use way. I generally recommend for basic static sites with a CMS to try the most basic hosting possible and monitor if the site feels slow or you run into constant server-related issues.
In the case of an e-commerce site or hosting some sort of web application, it is best to find the best performing server you can generally afford, keeping in mind different features you may need to add to enable the advanced features.
As you can see, if you are a basic user, don’t worry about spending a bunch of money. But if you host secure content, run a web application, etc.. power if going to be your best friend and save you headaches in the long-run.