There’s a lot of confusion regarding what web hosting options are available in the market.
In the world of web hosting, many options will get your site on the web. However, each caters directly to website owners’ needs – whether they are big or small.
While they all act as a storage place for your website, where they differ in the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement, server speed and reliability. These are the six types of web hosting you will most often come across:
Shared hosting is perfect for entry-level website hosting. This is where your website will be stored on the same server as multiple 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, because all resources are shared, the cost of shared hosting plans is relatively low, making them an excellent option for website owners in their beginning stages.
In most cases, beginners will find shared the simplest website hosting method. Whether you’re a small business owner, a community group, or a stay-at-home mom who desires to blog, your site will be accessible on the web. Shared hosting plans often come with many helpful tools, such as:
- Website builders.
- WordPress hosting.
- The ability to email clients.
Although shared hosting provides website owners a more simplistic approach to the web, the trade-off is that you share the server with multiple other website owners. This means that surges in usage can ultimately affect your website’s user experience.
Shared hosting plans are ideal for website owners who do not receive much web traffic.
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting.
A VPS hosting plan is the ultimate middle ground between shared and dedicated servers. It’s ideal for website owners needing more control but not necessarily needing a dedicated server.
VPS hosting is unique because each website is hosted within its own space on the server, though it still shares a physical server with other users. While VPS hosting provides website owners with more customization and storage space, they’re still unable to handle incredibly high traffic levels or spikes in usage, meaning that the site performance can still be affected by other sites on the server.
VPS hosting is typically used by website owners who want dedicated hosting but don’t have the necessary technical knowledge. VPS hosting offers the cost benefits of shared hosting with the control of dedicated hosting. An excellent choice for advanced users and those that want specific software and package installations.
Dedicated server hosting.
Dedicated hosting gives website owners the most control over the server on which their website is stored. That’s because you exclusively rent the server, and your website is only stored on it. This means you have full root and admin access to control everything from security to the operating system you run.
However, all that control comes with a price.
Dedicated servers cost are one of the most expensive web hosting options. Typically, they are used by website owners with high website traffic and those requiring complete control of their servers. In addition, a high level of technical expertise is needed for the installation and ongoing management of the server.
Cloud hosting is the current buzzword in the technology industry. It’s a hosting solution that works via a network and enables companies to consume computing resources like a utility. In web hosting, many computers work together, running applications using combined computing resources.
This allows users to employ as many resources as needed without building and maintaining their computing infrastructure. The resources being used are spread across several servers, reducing the chance of downtime due to a server malfunction.
Cloud-based hosting is scalable, meaning your site can grow over time, using as many resources as it requires, while the website owner only pays for what they need.
Most hosting packages you will find online are likely to be managed. Hosting companies provide technical services such as hardware and software setup and configuration, maintenance, hardware replacement, technical support, patching, updating and monitoring. With managed hosting, the provider looks after the day-to-day management of the hardware, operating systems and standardized applications.
Although there are many different options to choose from regarding web hosting, it all comes down to choosing a plan that fits your needs. Each plan caters to the specifications of different groups, and realizing what your needs in a website are will help you ensure that you’re choosing the right plan for you and your business.
Instead of keeping servers in-house or at a private data centre, you may choose to” ‘co-locate” your equipment by renting space in a colocation centre. The centre will provide the power, bandwidth, IP address and cooling systems that your server requires. Space is rented out in racks and cabinets.
Colocation gives access to higher levels of bandwidth than a standard office server room at a much lower cost. You’re left to your own devices (literally) and will be expected to take care of everything, including the hardware, software and services.
Which is best for you?
Although there are many different options to choose from regarding the best web hosting, it all comes down to choosing a plan that fits your needs. Each plan caters to the specifications of different groups, and realizing what your needs in a website are will help you ensure that you’re choosing the right plan for you and your business.
The crucial factors you should keep in mind when selecting a web host include the type of website you have, the resources you need, your budget, and expected traffic. Here’s a quick overview of the advantage of each hosting:
Shared Hosting: The most cost-effective option for low-traffic websites.
Managed Hosting: Ideal for non-technical users who’d rather defer the more technical tasks to experts.
VPS Hosting: This is the best option for websites that have outgrown shared hosting.
Cloud Hosting: Works best for websites that are growing rapidly and need scalable resources.
Dedicated Hosting: Expensive option for large websites where you need to be in control.
Colocation Hosting: The most expensive option that gives you maximum control over the hardware and software.
(Credit: This is an adapted excerpt from an eBook called “The ultimate guide to web hosting”, published by TechRadar Pro in association with Planet Hippo)