What are the different types of web hosting?
In the world of web hosting, there are many options that will all put your site on the web. However, each of them directly addresses the needs of website owners, whether those needs are big or small.
Although they all act as a storage location for your website, they differ in the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge required, server speed and reliability. Here are the six types of web hosting you will encounter most often:
Shared hosting is perfect for entry-level website hosting. This is where your website will be stored on the same server as several other websites. With a shared hosting plan, all domains share the same server resources, such as RAM (Random Access Memory) and CPU (Central Processing Unit). However, since all resources are shared, the cost of shared hosting plans is relatively low, making them a great option for website owners just starting out.
In most cases, beginners will find sharing the easiest method of hosting their website; So whether you’re a small business owner, a community group, or a stay-at-home mom who wants to blog, your site will be accessible on the web. Shared hosting plans often come with many useful tools such as: website builders (opens in a new tab)WordPress Hosting (opens in a new tab)and the ability to send emails to customers (opens in a new tab).
Although shared hosting gives website owners a simpler approach to the web, the tradeoff is that you’re sharing the server with multiple other website owners. This means that usage spikes can ultimately affect your website user experience.
Shared hosting plans are ideal for website owners who don’t receive a large amount of web traffic.
A VPS hosting plan is the ultimate compromise between a shared server and a dedicated server. It’s ideal for website owners who need more control, but don’t necessarily need a dedicated server.
VPS hosting is unique because each website is hosted in its own space on the server, although it still shares a physical server with other users. Although VPS hosting offers website owners more customization and storage space, they are still unable to handle incredibly high traffic levels or usage spikes, which means that performance of the site can still be affected by other sites on the server.
Typically, VPS hosting is used by website owners who want dedicated hosting but lack the technical knowledge. VPS hosting offers the economic benefits of shared hosting with the control of dedicated hosting. A great choice for advanced users and those who want specific software and package installations.
Dedicated hosting gives website owners the greatest control over the server their website is stored on. This is because the server is exclusively rented by you and your website is the only one stored there. That means you have full root and admin access, so you can control everything from security to the operating system you’re running.
However, all this control comes at a price.
The cost of dedicated servers is one of the most expensive web hosting options. Typically, they are used by website owners with high levels of website traffic and those who need complete control of their servers. Additionally, a high level of technical expertise is required for the installation and ongoing management of the server.
Cloud hosting is the current buzzword in the tech industry. When it comes to web hosting, this means many computers working together, running applications using combined computing resources. It is a hosting solution that works through a network and allows companies to consume the computing resource as a utility.
This allows users to employ as many resources as they need without having to build and maintain their own IT infrastructure. The resources used are spread across multiple servers, reducing the risk of downtime due to server malfunction.
Cloud-based hosting is scalable, meaning your site can grow over time, using as many resources as needed and while the website owner only pays for what they need.
Most of the hosting packages you find online are likely to be managed. Hosting companies provide technical services such as hardware and software installation and configuration, maintenance, hardware replacement, technical support, patching, updating, and monitoring. With managed hosting, the provider takes care of the day-to-day management of hardware, operating systems, and standardized applications.
While there are many different options when it comes to web hosting, it all comes down to picking a plan that suits your needs. Each plan meets the specifications of different groups and understanding what your needs are in a website will help you ensure that you choose the right plan for you and your business.
Instead of keeping servers in-house or in a private data center, you can choose to “colocate” your equipment by renting space at a colocation center. The center will provide the power, bandwidth, IP address and cooling systems your server needs. Space is rented in racks and cabinets.
Colocation provides access to higher levels of bandwidth than a normal office server room at a much lower cost. You’re on your own (literally) and you’ll have to take care of everything, including hardware, software, and services.
Which is best for you?
While there are many different options for choosing the best web hosting, it all comes down to picking a plan that suits your needs. Each plan meets the specifications of different groups and understanding what your needs are in a website will help you ensure that you choose the right plan for you and your business.
Crucial factors you need to keep in mind when selecting a web host include the type of website you have, the resources you need, your budget, and the expected traffic. Here is a brief overview of the advantages of each type of accommodation:
Shared Hosting: The most cost effective option for low traffic websites.
Managed Hosting: Ideal for non-technical users who prefer to leave more technical tasks to experts.
VPS Hosting: Simply put, this is the best option for websites that have moved beyond shared hosting.
Cloud Hosting: Works best for websites that grow quickly and need scalable resources.
Dedicated hosting: Expensive option for large websites where you need to stay in control.
Shared accommodation: The most expensive option that gives you maximum control over hardware and software.
- This is an adapted excerpt from an eBook titled “The Ultimate Guide to Web Hosting”, published by TechRadar Pro in association with Planet Hippopotamus (opens in a new tab)