Spending on web hosting can be a big deal if you are dependent on an online system for your business. While estimating your web hosting needs may seem like child's play, it is nothing less than a science. Although your developer may be able to estimate your needs from the top of his head, the guesstimation is almost always wrong. This article deals with how and why you should scientifically estimate your web hosting resource requirement, rather than guessing.
Don't rely on guesses
If your guess of how much space or bandwidth you need is right you are lucky. If the guess over estimates the resources and you end up having more resources, it is still tolerable, because the only thing you really lose is the money required on the extra space etc. A bit of redundancy of resources is good. Infact, web hosts and data centers offer a redundancy of N + 1 for almost all hardware, which means that they have atleast 1 standby unit, in case of failure. But the worst estimation is when you require a lot more but end up having a minuscule amount. This can be damaging and harmful to your business and to your online presence.
Use benchmarking tools
Even those businessmen who want an accurate prediction of what they need, end up guessing or taking an educated guess, mostly due to the lack of knowledge of benchmarking tools and lack of planning. There are various paid and free benchmarking tools available in the market and most of the tools are pretty easy to use, even for a non-geeky person. The tools often "stress test" current systems or run an algorithm to predict future use, so that every resource required is carefully estimated.
Weigh the costs and benefits
Having redundant resources maybe better than having less resources, but they will definitely put a strain on your financial situation. Disk space, bandwidth and even CPU usage is becoming cheaper by the day, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you will need lesser. Your needs will also keep increasing at a similar rate, which means that there will be little or no benefit of taking more resources if you don't need them.
Consult with your web host
Your web host may be the right person to decide whether you need an upgrade or what you have is too much. They will have the most accurate statistics, especially indicating what you are already using. Using trend lines and graphical representations, you will be able to easily figure out how and when you will need to add some more juice to your existing account.
Conduct a test run
Conducting a "dry run" or test pilot of your actual full scale system will be the most accurate and indicative of the real world scenario. You can conduct various simulations of the software or system which you plan to launch. Before a system is moved to a live production environment, it should always be tested in a simulated test environment which is controlled and which can emulate a real life scenario. While 90% of entrepreneurs and developers do not perform a dry run of their online systems, it is one of the most essential and most basic steps to take before launching a service online.
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