Hosting a website on the internet works similar to how you access files on your personal computer. A web hosting service works through a server, a computer, that stores your data and sends that data over the web to someone who wants to access it.
Understanding RAM in website hosting
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it is a temporary storage device used by the CPU to hold data for a short duration if multiple processes are running simultaneously.
RAM is one of the most fundamental computing resources there is. From a simple mobile phone to the most complex servers — they all use some form of RAM.
Higher RAM is often associated with better speed and performance, and the reason is quite simple. Traditional storage, or ROM (Read Only Memory), is usually not directly linked to the CPU, meaning that it takes time for the CPU to requisition information, send the requests, look for the relevant data, and send it back to the CPU for processing.
On the other hand, RAM is directly linked to the CPU, meaning that the CPU can directly access the information right off the RAM, making the entire process faster.
There are caveats, of course. Simply adding more RAM doesn’t increase website or server speed if you don’t address other limiting factors like CPU core count or slow networks. However, with Website Hosting, these are rare exceptions.
How much RAM does my website need?
Unfortunately, there’s no universally correct answer here. RAM requirements vary widely depending on whether your website is heavy, the type of content on the website, traffic, and whether you’re running a dynamic website.
However, there are general requirements that you can take into consideration to choose the ideal RAM figure.
CMS or Content Management Systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc., usually need about half a GigaByte (GB) of RAM for optimum performance. If you’re using Windows rather than Linux, you can factor in another half GB RAM for it.
Additionally, you’ll have various applications that are needed to run even the most basic website. Put them all together, and you’re looking at 2GB RAM, at the very least, to run a basic website with low traffic on Linux; it’s slightly more if you’re running Windows.
Of course, if you’re running a website professionally, chances are, this isn’t how your website is built. So, here are some pointers on how your RAM requirements will vary according to a few additions that your website may have:
- Dynamic websites need more RAM than static websites;
- High traffic websites need more RAM;
- Even within Linux, the distro (a different distribution version of Linux) can affect the RAM you need for the OS to function smoothly;
- Enabling website caching can help you reduce your RAM requirements; and
- If you have many images, videos, or animations on your website, you’re going to need more RAM.
With the number of listed variables, it’s near impossible even to suggest how much RAM your website needs with any degree of accuracy. However, as far as RAM goes, you need 2GB at the very least, and as your website grows, you’ll need more.
Suppose you get a good website hosting service. In that case, your provider can accurately gauge your RAM requirements given that they have historical data of different types of websites with additional traffic and much more.
Understanding CPU in website hosting
CPU stands for Central Processing Unit, and it is the brains of any computer, including servers. It’s the part of a computer that actually ‘performs’ the tasks that you assign. However, the term ‘CPU’ is a bit misleading.
A CPU is not a single part of a system. It is a single chip, yes, but not a single part. A CPU is made of several ‘cores,’ and it is the ‘core’ that does all the work. One core can do one task at a given time. Of course, it’s incredibly fast, but it’s limited — one task at a time.
CPUs are essentially several of these cores put together. Most consumer-grade CPUs have 4,6, or 8 cores (the advertisements usually state this — dual-core, quad-core, etc.), depending on the price. Server CPUs usually have upwards of 32 CPU cores, working together at the same time.
Most websites don’t need anywhere near 32 CPU cores. So, in most forms of hosting where server resources are shared, you’ll see that hosting companies offer ‘cores.’ You can get two cores, four cores, eight cores, etc.
How many CPU cores does my website need?
Again, there’s no real way to determine how many CPU cores your website needs. However, you can start with this thumb rule — you need two CPU cores for a simple website with low traffic running on an optimized Linux OS.
Now, the factors that affect RAM requirement are (broadly) the same ones that affect your CPU requirement. So, factors like website design, optimization of code, traffic — impact how much CPU power your website needs. Unfortunately, these aren’t accurately quantifiable.
However, hosting companies are usually great at pairing a plan with CPU cores. Again, they have the best idea of how many CPU cores a website usually needs.
Of course, website traffic plays a significant part in how many resources your website needs. Dynamic websites with high traffic and heavy media files use Dedicated Hosting, where all the hundreds of GigaBytes of RAM, all the cores in the server, and all its storage is simply dedicated to running a single website. So, it’s natural for your resource requirement to go up with traffic even if everything on your website is optimized well.
RAM and CPU cores are crucial to a hosting plan. They’re also pieces of hardware, meaning that companies can cheap out and use substandard or old generation parts which can have a real, detrimental effect on your website.
So, when you’re looking for an affordable yet robust website hosting plan, check out Shared Hosting by ResellerClub. We offer unmetered disk space, free cPanel and easy upgrades to higher plans if need be. With our web hosting solutions, you won’t have to worry about hosting problems and fully concentrate on growing your website.
Just like a computer, a web hosting server requires several components such as a storage drive, a processing unit, memory chips, etc., to function.
In this article, we discuss two of those components, namely RAM (Random Access Memory) and CPU (Central Processing Unit), that affect a Web Hosting service.