Content is the driving force behind any social media campaign. In order to make waves on the social web, you need to publish great content regularly and ensure that content is always accessible.
All of this means your web hosting service must be up to the job.
There are practical aspects to web hosting that will boost your social media campaigns; your hosting company may provide free scripts and one-click installers that make publishing and management easier. However, once your social media campaign is in full swing, resources become one of the most important factors. In fact, a lack of resources could stop a good campaign in its tracks.
About ‘Unlimited’ Resources
When running a social media campaign, the issue of resources is important. Should a piece of content go viral, it’s essential that your web host will permit all of those extra visitors to hit your site in a short space of time.
If you’ve checked out any hosting reviews or user ratings, you’ll know that many companies provide ‘unlimited’ bandwidth (and, often, ‘unlimited’ disk space). The true meaning of ‘unlimited’ can actually vary quite a bit from host to host.
‘Unlimited’ resources are often restrained by a fair usage policy in the terms of service. That’s because shared web hosting is built upon pooled resources, and each person in the pool is expected to share ‘nicely’ with other customers. If one piece of content should go viral, the site in question could be seen as consuming an unfair amount of resources compared to the rest.
There are two reasons why this is important:
1. You need to know whether your hosting package can cope with a traffic spike.
2. You need to know what will happen if your ‘unlimited’ resources run out.
Choosing the Right Hosting
If your website suddenly starts to consume resources at a far greater rate than its neighbours, your host may suspend your website. That would spell disaster for a viral campaign that was just about to pick up speed.
Of course, some hosts will allow this kind of usage, but it’s not the scenario shared hosting was designed to handle.
The best way to avoid problems is to choose the right kind of hosting to support your social media campaign.
The Holding Server
Some hosts will move your website to a holding server if your site suddenly exceeds its ‘reasonable use’ limits. Often, the host will ask you to arrange additional payment to keep your site online. This is still preferable to having your site taken offline with no prior warning, although it can be expensive if it happens often.
VPS and Dedicated Servers
It’s more common for resource-intensive websites to be hosted on servers where the majority of resources are exclusively theirs, and the administrator is able to tweak the server settings to their liking. This means paying for a VPS or a dedicated server. Dedicated servers can be very expensive, though, and if your social media campaign is still picking up speed, you may not be able to justify the cost, since high overheads could dramatically affect your ROI.
A more affordable alternative to a dedicated server is cloud hosting. By hosting in the cloud, a customer can ensure their site is replicated across multiple physical locations. Should one physical machine fail, the others will seamlessly fill in for the failed machine.
Additionally, cloud hosting is a better choice for sites that may suddenly need to increase their resources without warning. That’s because the resources the site can use are not restricted by one physical host; the site is served by several servers. In this scenario, customers are often charged for the resources they use, and this is why cloud hosting is often the most affordable option.
When building a social media campaign, ensure you have the right tools and the best content, backed up by the right kind of web hosting. Don’t forget to check out web host ratings from users to ensure your host gets great reviews from existing customers.