Web Hosting for nonprofits

While you may look at web hosting to be a short process in the entire web development life cycle, it is one of the most important steps to getting your nonprofit website up and running. The type of web hosting you go for can make or break your nonprofit.

Additionally, the sheer amount of web hosting providers out there can overwhelm any nonprofit looking to build a digital presence. Thankfully, we’ve written this post to help you make sense of the different web hosting for your nonprofit website. Let’s get started.

What is Web Hosting?

Hosting involves storing website information on servers that are connected to the internet. All the information/data that you put on your website need a place to rest, and hosting provides this space.

When a provider allocates space on their server for your nonprofit website to upload your code, documents, videos, audios, and more, what the provider is doing is hosting your website. It is this hosting that makes your website’s content available on the internet for people to see.

Types of Web Hosting

An example of hosting types from Bluehost (a hosting provider)

If you’re looking for web hosting for your nonprofit website, you need to be aware of the different types of hosting available. There are primarily four hosting types, including:

  1. Shared hosting
  2. VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting
  3. Dedicated hosting
  4. Cloud hosting

While these are primary hosting types, there are other types of hosting that in one way or the other fall within some of the hosting types mentioned above. We would cover all of them in this guide. Let’s get started.

Shared hosting

Shared Hosting Image from: https://www.marketing91.com/what-is-shared-hosting/

This is one of the most popular web hosting categories that many nonprofits go for. It’s more like renting an apartment with roommates. While you have your own room, you will be sharing water, a sitting room or electricity with other tenants. As the name suggests, with shared hosting, your nonprofit website is hosted on the same server as other websites. Like a freelancer sharing a co-working space with other freelancers or a nonprofit sharing the same office space with other nonprofits, shared hosting lets you share the cost and resources of one server, making it cheap and ideal for nonprofits looking for basic web services.

Reasons to Choose Shared Hosting

Shared hosting isn’t for everyone. These are the circumstances under which you would choose a shared web hosting for your nonprofit website.

1. Low budget: when your nonprofit doesn’t have enough funding to go for a more expensive hosting plan, then a shared hosting is the ideal plan to go for.

2. Basic web presence: for a nonprofit that is just starting out and wanting a basic web presence for their brand, shared hosting is ideal.

Pros of shared hosting

a). Easy to setup and no technical knowledge required

b). Cost-effective and great for nonprofits just starting out

c). Ideal for small nonprofits and organizations not expecting large traffic

Cons of shared hosting

a). You will have less control over critical performance issues

b). Sharing resources with other websites may cause more issues

c). Difficulty scaling your website

Bluehost, Hostgator, Dreamhost, iPage, and SiteGround are among some of the best providers when it comes to shared web hosting for your nonprofit website.

VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting

VPS Hosting diagram from: https://creativehub.ltd/vps-hosting-and-its-benefits/

A virtual private server is an upgrade to a shared hosting, more like having neighbors, but less dependent on them or not sharing the most basic things such as a bathroom, sitting room, or electricity. This gives you freedom to do what you want to the space allocated to you.

Remember, however, that a VPS doesn’t mean you won’t be sharing resources. However, this time around, the number of websites that you’re sharing resources with is smaller. That’s the number of websites on one server is significantly lower, giving each member some higher power over shared hosting.

Who is VPS hosting for?

1. VPS hosting may be ideal if your nonprofit has tech-savvy employees or an IT department. They can manage your hosting well and take care of all the cusotmizations you need.

2. If your nonprofit may deal with lots of video files and documents, it’s good to go with a VPS hosting from the start.

3. For small and medium-sized nonprofits, and especially for those that want to upgrade from a shared hosting, VPS is the next best choice.

Pros of VPS hosting

a). More customization for your site

b). A cost-effective option for nonprofits with large files that find it difficult to afford a dedicated server

c). Loads faster compared to shared hosting

Cons of VPS hosting

a). Could be difficult to set up and configure

b). Still sharing resources with other websites can cause problems and comes with some limitations

The diagram below is a great representation of the differences between a shared and VPS hosting.

Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting gives you the most control over your website’s server. With this type of hosting, you exclusively rent the server and your nonprofit’s website and content are the only resources stored on that server.

Dedicated Web Hosting diagram from: https://www.ssl-management.net/what-is-dedicated-hosting/

The freedom that comes with having a dedicated server is huge, so is the responsibility. This means that while you enjoy freedom to configure your website and server to your liking, you have to make sure that there is enough resources to maintain security for your data.

Who is dedicated hosting for?

1. Nonprofits that have strict security protocols and would want everything about their digital presence to be controlled in-house.

2. Nonprofits with the budget to afford the high cost of purchasing and maintaining a dedicated server.

Pros of dedicated hosting

a). Gives you more control over your website and its server

b). Does not share your server with other websites

c). Able to handle large data and high traffic

Cons of dedicated hosting

a). Might be too expensive for nonprofits, especially those just starting out

b). Would require high expertise to take care of all the technical and security of the server, which many nonprofits may find difficult.

Cloud hosting

This type of hosting is when many computers on the internet work together by using combined resources. With this type of hosting, the computers are connected to a network that allow those connected computers to utilize resources like a utility.

With this, users on the network can use as many resources as they desire without having to upgrade, build, or maintain their own computing resources. Cloud hosting is the new buzzword in the tech world when it comes to hosting, and its distributed computing model makes it ideal for scaling no matter how fast your nonprofit website resources grow. And since resources are spread on the cloud through different servers, it dramatically reduces the chance of a malfunction to your website even when one server has an issue.

Who is cloud hosting for?

1. If you’re a nonprofit that has updates or upgrades all the time, then cloud hosting may be ideal as it will allow you make updates anytime.

2. It’s also ideal for small and medium-sized nonprofits looking for great hosting power but who doesn’t want a dedicated server.

3. For nonprofits with highly fluctuating or unpredictable website traffic, cloud hosting is ideal.

Pros of cloud hosting

a). Higher uptime rates and accommodates even the highest traffic

b). Highly scalable compared to traditional hosting types

c). Highly secure because of its distributed nature

Cons of cloud hosting

a). As your traffic increases, it could spark unpredicted cost

b). It doesn’t have as much configuration as dedicated hosting

What next?

If you’re a nonprofit looking for the best web hosting provider or make sense of what hosting type to choose, IndieTech Solution’s team of web developers and IT professionals will help you throughout the entire process. Reach out and let’s talk about your nonprofit website.