Most modern thinkers would agree that businesses without a strong online presence make it harder to succeed in today’s world of competition. Apart from the old ways of catering to walk-in customers and advertising in offline media (like newspapers) to attract them, business must have a website. The internet is now the place where most people turn to first when they search for information or services. As a matter of fact, a business that wants to keep its doors open for the foreseeable future must make sure it has a site that holds up to the requirements of modern day e-commerce. Even more, it should make sure that the site will be able to run and perform just as well in the future – with little to no human intervention required.
This is where the term “scalability” comes into play. In the web hosting domain, scalability can be defined as the ability of a hosting system to cope with a surge of growth in input and/or output when resources (software and hardware) are added. For example, the scalability of a web hosting server can be defined as its ability to store more data, increase its processing power and deliver a larger amount of information. It shouldn’t be forgotten that in some cases a business may find that it had expanded its site too fast and opt to scale things back for the time being. This makes it critical for web hosting providers to offer services that are easily downward scalable, too.
Now that we have the definitions sorted out, how does scalability affect and help your business? There are many ways it does so, but let us take a look at three of the most critical:
1. Business Confidence
As your business grows, you should have peace of mind when it comes to your website’s capability of handling the extra data and traffic. Knowing that your hosting provider will be able to expand your site’s software and hardware platform with relative ease – and that it can be done without any disastrous data loss or process interruption – helps with implementing future expansion plans. In other words: you have the confidence to keep growing.
2. Online Reputation
A business’ online reputation plays a major role in its success, and the one thing that can really tarnish that reputation is website downtime. While the news that some major social media or email site has been down for a few minutes (or even an hour or two) makes immediate headlines, they are big enough to bounce back from the damage done to their reputation. These companies have built a loyal customer base that is willing to forgive the inconvenience.
Your small business shouldn’t take that risk. One too many instances of downtime and you could be labeled untrustworthy, hindering you from achieving success. And what could be the cause of such downtime? Overloading of hardware is very likely. With a good scalability plan in place, your hosting provider can automatically grow your hosting parameters when there is an influx of data or traffic, thus stopping it from crashing.
3. Automatically Save Money
Many web hosting providers today, especially those with cloud hosting options, have systems in place that can automatically fluctuate software and hardware usage for their clients’ websites.
A major advantage of having this automatic upward and downward scalability feature in place is that it will save you money. If the amount of traffic and data that your site receives fluctuates, it means that you will need to increase and decrease your resources accordingly. At times of low usage, it would be a waste of money to pay for the unused space and bandwidth allocation. Similarly, when there is a rise, you shouldn’t have to pay for someone to sit there monitoring the flow and ebb of usage when it can be done automatically.
As we have seen above, scalability is one of the major things you need to take into considerations when hosting a website. In fact, once the outline of the business processes and any other main features of the site have been decided upon, the next step should be to look around for a web hosting provider that offers the most flexible hosting solution with emphasis on how scalable it is.