The Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Web Hosting
Many new website managers often get confused by the many different website services and their hosting plans. There are so many of them, and not understanding how they work leads to a lot of confusion and unanswered questions. If we add all those technical elements into the equation, it is really no wonder why people get so overwhelmed with all the various hosting types.
Depending on what you want from a website, you need to take care when it comes to the many aspects of hosting a website. These include price, the amount of storage and bandwidth, the number of emails and domains, and more. Site backup is also one of the features that you need to take into consideration, along with the choice of operating system. Then, there are extra apps, uptime, up-to-date software, tech support, and accessibility of your site to different devices.
In short, all of these features are needed for every type of hosting. They will, however, often differ in amount and quality. A blog does not need as much security and storage space as a site belonging to a major corporation. For example, a small business will start small, and the business won’t have a huge budget for hosting, so its site might not be secured. When the business starts to grow and expand, your web hosting needs are going to increase as a consequence. You will get more traffic, need more storage, better protection, regular backups, and more. If you do not change your plan and type of hosting, it might become overwhelming and crash your website. You can’t allow something like that to happen, since it is bad for the reputation, and might damage your business.
So, in the case of the growing small business you will need an upgrade. That is why there are so many different plans and types for you to choose from. We will now go into detail about the different types: what are their strengths and weaknesses, how much do they cost, and which provider is best for each specific type of site.
Shared Web Hosting
This is a cheap option, but not great when it comes to quality. Shared hosting works by putting a very large number of individual users on one single server. That means that up to 1,000 different account holders use one server for their websites. And, if they have several of them, that can make the total number of websites go up to 3,000.
This can cause some serious problems, since each server has its own resources they each have their own limits. They all use RAM, hard drive space, CPU speed, and all of these features need to be shared. For example, if there are some really popular websites sharing your server, and they have high traffic levels, then all the rest of the websites on that server, including yours, will suffer.
Shared Hosting Pros & Cons
This may lead to issues like sites going down, or loading very slowly. These issues will affect the other websites. Even worse is the fact that other websites can’t do anything to prepare themselves for such problems since they are totally unpredictable. Hosts would typically try to resolve this issue, but unless the website owner changes their plan and leaves the shared hosting, there is not much that anyone can do about it.
However, that doesn’t mean that shared hosting is the wrong choice. There are many types of websites that don’t need much speed or RAM. Shared hosting is perfectly capable of supporting small sites that you can use as a personal diary or a small blog, test sites, or even development sites. Shared hosting is also very cheap. And, if your website turns out to be the popular one (fingers crossed!), then you have a great website that dominates the server space for a small price. All in all, this type of web hosting is the equalizer, since most can afford it and use it as they like.
As for the price itself, such hosting plans usually go from $5 to $20 per month, depending on the web host itself. One recommendation for this type of hosting is Bluehost. It has very low prices, even for this type of package, and very good quality of service.
Cloud-Based Web Hosting
This is a relatively new hosting technology, that was developed in order to resolve the issues seen in types like shared web hosting. Cloud-based hosting basically combines hundreds or more individual servers into a large grid, that acts as one big, super server. That way, as the website’s need grows, the host can simply add more and more servers to expand the network. Additional hardware will take a part of the traffic, while at the same time it adds its own portion of the storage space and memory to the rest of the cloud.
Cloud-Based Hosting Pros & Cons
This method carries a lot of pros with it. For example, it can allow a lot of website traffic without the danger of crashing. It can also withstand problems like DDoS attacks. These attacks are not a threat when it comes to privacy or protection of websites and their users. Instead, their whole point is to overwhelm the server with multiple information requests.
Cloud hosting will then easily bounce back and handle such an attack much better than a single server ever could.
As for its disadvantages, they may include additional costs for add-ons and extra apps. Another thing that might pose a problem is security. Despite the fact that cloud can absorb a DDoS attack, its flaw are potential privacy breaches. If a hacker can find their way into only one of the connected servers, it can get to all of them.
One of the best hosts when it comes to Cloud-based web hosting is definitely JustHost.com. And as for the cost, it goes from just $3.95 per month to start.
Dedicated Web Server
A dedicated server is a fairly good option for those who can afford it. What this means is that you can rent an entire server for site from a hosting company. This carries a lot of advantages since you won’t have to deal with other users and their added traffic. A server is completely yours, and nobody will take away speed or a part of storage from you.
Dedicated Web Server Pros & Cons
Another good thing is that many hosting companies will allow you to customize everything in a way that meets your needs and desires. That means choosing the type and amount of free memory, the different hardware elements, and even the OS that you wish to use. It is a very flexible option that might work if your website is expecting high traffic volumes, and you want high reliability from your server.
Next, you can also make your site faster with a bunch of different tools that serve that very purpose. You can do pretty much whatever you want with dedicated server hosting, since you are in full control. If you have a lot of traffic on your website, it will handle it much better than a shared web hosting option, although still not as well as a Cloud.
When it comes to downsides, there are two main ones. One is the fact that the entire server depends on you. That means that you need quite a bit of knowledge on how to run it, and how to organize things. Chances are that you will remain its only management, which is not that great if you are not sure of what you are doing.
Alternatively, you can hire someone to organize and maintain your server, but then you will have to pay them. Which leads us to the con number two, which is the cost. Since you are renting the entire server for yourself, instead only a part of it, the price goes from $100 and up. A large company can afford this if they need it, but a majority of them are drawn in by Cloud hosting. On the other hand, this price is often way too expensive for a small business.
Both of these things are mostly money-related issues, if you decide to hire someone to keep an eye on your server when it comes to technical aspects.
As for a good host for this type of hosting, we would recommend GoDaddy Hosting Service. GoDaddy offers a full range of award-winning, dedicated hosting plans, and has been a reliable industry leader for years.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
This is probably the best option for everyone except for the largest of companies. VPS works by using one server that multiple account holders share, so it is similar to shared hosting. However, there is a big, beneficial difference, and that is the fact that each user gets an equal amount of server space for themselves.
Basically, you have one big server that acts as many smaller ones put together. Not entirely different to how a Cloud works, and this is probably what inspired the idea of a cloud hosting in the first place.
Virtual Private Server Pros & Cons
There are many benefits of having your website on a VPS, first of which is cost itself. The price can go from $10 at the very cheapest of hosts, to $150 or more if you happen to need the most expensive package. Most of the time, you will probably have everything that you need and stay between $20 and $50 per month.
There are many benefits to VPS hosting hosting. First of all, you get your own space, and you don’t have any sort of interaction with other users. The number of other users is much smaller too, and usually, it is between 10 and 20 people. You won’t suffer consequences of their traffic, and the only problem you might have is the limit of your own storage space.
You can also configure your part of the server any way you want to. This is something that you could not do on a shared hosting type because you would also affect everyone else’s space. It is more of a dedicated hosting type of perk, but the difference is that you will have to pay much less with VPS hosting. And also, if you are expecting your site to grow and expand, you can also get even more resources.
It is a very popular solution for VPS hosting, and our top choice is InMotion hosting. InMotion offers great customer support and competitive prices, so you can’t go wrong with this choice in VPS hosting.
Self-Service Web Hosting
This is probably the least practical option that you can choose because all the responsibility falls on you. You have to buy the servers, install the software, and configure it. Then you need to provide enough power, a good cooling system, enough space, and then add some more servers for backup. Not only that, but if you are planning on running a website on a server that only you manage, you will also need to double up on pretty much everything, just in case that you need to change a part of the hardware. Your website cannot be allowed to go down for a long time, and speed is very important.
Self-Service Pros & Cons
Then, there is the expert technical knowledge that you will need – not only for setting up a website, installing WordPress, and the like, but also for keeping the server maintenance. You will also have to take care of security, safety, and privacy for your server, not to mention all the money that you will spend only on buying all that you require.
Self-service is usually beyond the capabilities of someone with average computer and technical skills. Provided that you do have the funds, there is still a tremendous amount of work and effort that you will have to put in to be sure your server runs effectively and securely.
The upside of self-service web hosting is that you will have to answer to no one, and you will have complete control over the server, the website, and everything else. The choice is yours if you think that you can manage to do everything mentioned, and if you have the time and resources to invest, then this will definitely give you the most freedom of all the hosting options.
Colocation Web Hosting Service
Using this method requires you to bring your own server to the data center of another company. Basically, all of the hardware is your own, as well as software. The company will simply provide a place for your server, as well as power, physical security, internet connection, and a cooling system. You can say that they will provide the conditions and environment, while the server and its software is your responsibility.
Colocation Web Hosting Pros & Cons
That means that with colocation web hosting you have to fix the server yourself if the hardware fails. You also have to keep your software up to date, maintain cyber security, backup procedures, data storage, and more.
As you can imagine, this is only a little less ‘hands on’ than self-hosting. Colocation web hosting still requires a lot of technical knowledge on your part, not to mention the funds to set it all up, and rent the space for your server. It will take time, money, and energy, and you will have to have someone on watch at pretty much all times to fix any issues.
The benefit of this method is essentially the same as self-hosting. Basically, you have total control over the server and the website. The only difference is that you don’t have to provide the proper environment for a server to work properly.
Managed Hosting Service
Managed hosting is the type that will work best for you if you don’t have technical knowledge. You are the owner of a website, while the service provider does all the rest with regards to hosting.
That includes taking care of the server when it comes to hardware and environment. But it goes even further than that, and the service provider will actually take care of the software elements as well. Your apps and entire software will stay up to date, and the server provider will set up the needed protection, install WordPress, and generally completely take over the technical stuff.
Managed Hosting Pros & Cons
You will have much more time to concentrate on your business itself, and increase the speed of its online development. The obvious pros here are that you don’t need to know much about how it all works. All you need to do is make regular payments, and the service provider will do the rest.
The obvious cons, however, involve the price. The price is not fixed, and it can vary depending on what you need from your hosting provider. The price can go from $30 to $1,000 per month, depending on the size of your site, the site needs, maintenance, security, and more. Another issue is that you will have to go to the management for any sort of change on your website and ask them to do this. This might complicate things, and you will have the least amount of personal freedom.
For this type of hosting, we would recommend iPage hosting as the best provider, because it has been around a long time and is an industry leader. iPage is reliable and offers plans that fit almost every need.
There are many types of web hosting plans and types, and it can be overwhelming trying to decide between them all. The information is the key, and you should always know what it is you are getting into. Hopefully now you have a better understanding of various types of hosting, and their pros and cons. With that knowledge, you will easily know which type will suit yours and your website’s needs best.
To find the right hosting plan for you, check out our Top 5 hosting reviews, and discover our exclusive offers with the top brands in hosting.