Choosing the right type of web hosting can be a bit confusing especially if you are beginner. Most web users start off posting content on free platforms or blog sites that offer free space but with a few restrictions. This isn’t a bad starting point at all. However, once the web user gains a little bit more confidence and becomes a little bit more web savvy, the need for more control over how content is presented and delivered levels up. It is at this point that the web user starts considering self-hosting his content.
Web Hosting Options
There are many web hosting companies out there offering various types of web packages that will match the demands of your website. What are the basic things you need to look out for to figure out which plan best suits your needs? Let’s take a look at each one.
Shared web hosting, currently the most popular type of and most common form of web hosting service, is a web hosting option where many websites are hosted on the same server. This means that numerous clients’ websites are housed together to share the same resources (processor, memory, bandwidth, software), and the number of sites per server can be up into the thousands. You could say that it’s like a huge tray of pizza with different flavors cut up into as many little squares or triangles as possible.
- Cheaper, affordable rates
- Ideal for small businesses, blogs, and personal websites. Clients pay for what they need and can upgrade as their business needs grow.
- Web hosts handle the “tech stuff” like installation,updates, control panel management and administration, server maintenance, MySQL and PHP support,etc.
- Clients typically have limits on disk space, monthly bandwidth, and other resources such as CPU, RAM, and i/o.
- Problems with one site can affect other sites on the same server.
- Upgrade to some system software can sometimes cause issues with your code or scripts if they are not compatible
Virtual Private Server or VPS
VPS hosting is a type of web hosting that uses Virtual Private Servers. The easiest way to visualize how VPS work is to use the apartment analogy. Each virtual server, or “container”, on the machine is like an apartment suite. You can install any software you like or restart your own container without affecting the other containers on the machine, much like how you can renovate your own suite without affecting the others. A single computer can have several VPSs, each one with its own operating system (OS) that runs the hosting software for a particular user.
- Hardware and network infrastructures are maintained by the hosting provider.
- VPS enables the user to install any kind of software that is capable of running on that operating system.
- Less expensive than dedicated server plans.
- VPS hosts don’t always offer unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Costs more than Shared Hosting.
- With unmanaged or self managed hosting, the customer is left to administer his own server instance.
Cloud server hosting is a type of hosting in which hosting services are made available to customers on demand via the Internet. Rather than being provided by a single server or virtual server, cloud server hosting services are provided by multiple connected servers that comprise a cloud. Cloud server hosting is also sometimes referred to as cluster server hosting or server on-demand hosting.
Cloud server hosting offers the advantages of increased accessibility and reliability, seamless scalability and potential cost savings, as customers are freed from having to invest in on-premises servers and hardware, and they pay only for the resources they consume. On the other hand, security and lack of access and full control are potential concerns with cloud server hosting.
- You have access to resources you need as you grow.
- You can increase your available resources immediately, when you need it.
- You can get what you need when you need it and you only pay for what you use.
- Possibility of serious security issues.
- Perceived as unstable and unsafe.
- Cloud web hosting services are very restrictive for people dealing with commerce especially on security matters where the data kept on the systems are maintained by a third party.
Dedicated hosting is an Internet hosting option in which an organization leases an entire server, which is often housed in a data center. The host not only provides the server equipment, but may also provide administration and other services. This is considered a more flexible arrangement for the client because unlike in shared server arrangements, it gives the organization total control over the server, its software and security systems. In some cases, a dedicated server can be less expensive.
Dedicated hosting is also known as a dedicated server or managed hosting service.
- A unique and dedicated IP address.
- A greater degree of security that can be customized according to a client’s needs. Difficult to hack, making this ideal for companies with lots of customer information or large corporate accounts.
- Custom firewall which can help in enforcing the access control policy.
- Dedicated hosting is more costly.
- Need to administer the server so prior knowledge (or outsourcing the job) is needed.
- Diagnostics and problem resolution is more difficult
At the end of the day, it boils down to your website needs, how much you can afford, and how much time you want to spend on maintaining and managing the whole backend. Once you have defined these items, you can more or less decide which hosting option is best for you.