Do I need a website?
The question is on everyone’s mind when looking at creating a game, or even more generally a business. The answer is of course, Yes.
The Internet is everywhere
But why? Well, the internet is everywhere, from traditional computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This means a huge proportion of the entire world can access the internet. It also makes it easier for your potential customers/clients to find information about you and your project.
With a website your project can be found by millions via search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, There are many more search engines but these are the big three. This allows people to find your site by searching for things that interest them and if it matches the content in your site, they will be shown your website.
In addition to search engines, you also gain the power of social media, with things such as Facebook and Twitter, your own customers can advertise your website to others for you, if your site has a Share option, they will be able to make a Post/Tweet about it and their friends will see it, and from there it can be shared with their friends and so on.
A website can be low maintenance, this means you only need to set it up once and that is it. This is made possible with a vast ocean of hosting providers on the internet.
Think of it this way, you create your website, add your content, and then you forget it, your customers are able to advertise the website for you via Social Media.
Generally, there are four different types of web hosting: Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting.
While all types of hosting servers will act as a storage centre for your website, they differ in the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement, server speed, and reliability.
Without going into more detail, which I will leave for another article as each type is large enough to have an article on its own.
Shared hosting is the easiest and cheapest of the four options. Your website will be hosted on a shared server, hence the name. This is the best option when you are starting out, or have low requirements.
Cloud hosting is the next option, with this your website is hosted on two or more servers, and will have automatic load balancing, to ensure your site runs as fast as possible. Due to the load balancing, this can cause problems if the website is not setup correctly as users might be redirected mid-session to the alternative server. While this is rare, it can happen. Not all providers offer this kind of service yet, and many do not plan to due to the complexity involved.
Thirdly we have Virtual Private Servers, these are blocks of the resources of the server dedicated to you as a virtual server. Generally, you will have root access to the server so you can install anything you want on the server. This means you will be able to run game servers, but be warned not all providers will allow game servers or long running tasks on the VPS. This is also quite difficult to setup, as you will need to deal with the security of the server as well.
Lastly, we have Dedicated servers, with this, you get an entire server all to yourself. You should always have root access on a dedicated server, and you can install anything and run anything you want on it. But again you will need to deal with the security yourself.
As you can see each type has an advantage and disadvantage, in the next article we will go into more details on the different types and their strengths and weaknesses.