You hear a lot about scalability, but how much does it really matter? A lot, especially when it comes to your website. Whether you need to scale up or down, you don’t want to be locked into any contract situation that is costly—or impossible!—to escape from. The support you need as a startup with a website is vastly different than what you’ll need when you’re officially mid-sized. Scalability is just what it sounds like: The option to scale up or down, allowing you to adapt to changes over time. Usually, scalability refers to growth in business, which suggests expansion and upgrades.
Most of the time, scalability is reserved for technical references, such as web hosting needs. Maybe you’re thinking of scaling up from a basic shared plan to a virtual private server (VPS). However, it can also be applied to just about any scaling, such as bringing on new employees in masse or even downsizing. Planning for scalability helps you see the big picture, nail predictions, and prepare for the future.
Your Real Goal
No matter what your business, you really just have one job: Meet the demands of the market. However, there’s a problem. Those market demands aren’t steady, regardless of your niche. Trends change, interests change, and innovations shift entire industries. You have to stay competitive, which means staying adaptable. Otherwise, you’ll never make the majority of your customers happy. With scalability, you can work with more data, more resources, and more customers. As these three key ingredients expand, you need to be able to handle them. Fail and your inefficiency rises while your services and products lessen in quality.
Scalability isn’t a nice to have option—it’s absolutely critical, especially from a financial standpoint. It decreases what you spend. For example, if you’re paying for a tech service that can support 10,000 customers but you only have 2,000, you’re still paying for the capacity to serve five times as many consumers! Scalability is critical for all businesses, but especially startups and small businesses. They tend to grow faster, which means they need to adapt at a faster rate.
What about Scalability and Web Hosting?
When you first crafted your website, you probably went with a basic shared hosting plan since it was all you needed and you couldn’t afford much more. It works well enough, but as traffic increased and you needed a more sophisticated website, suddenly that slow speed and downtime was too much to handle. Customers won’t stay on a subpar website for long, so you’re losing them quickly. Scaling up to a VPS option gives you the support, control, and quality you need and—thanks to decreasing prices—you’re not paying much more (if any!) than you did with a shared basic plan.
Hopefully your basic shared plan is with a host who lets you scale up or down without charging a fee. You shouldn’t ever be locked into an agreement with a web host. Your needs change, and they need to let you make adjustments. Is VPS your next “scale up?”