There is a sea of web hosting companies out there offering different services with several different web hosting plans. It is very natural to get overwhelmed by all the options available. Even developers with good technical knowledge can get pretty confused with so many variables involved in web hosting. Let us here make an effort to clear up the basic differences between the common types of hosting services available for you to choose from.
When you just start an online business, visitor traffic may be less and so inexpensive web hosting plan will suffice. But as the business grows and you see surge in web traffic on your website, you will need to upgrade your hosting type to handle the growing web traffic. The list below is a progression of type of hosting that you would consider as your business grows.
Shared Web Hosting
As the name suggests, shared hosting is where several websites share server resources. So the hosting provider will basically take a server and host hundreds or even thousands of websites of different customers on this server. The greatest advantage of such a shared hosting environment is low cost. Since the resources are shared, web hosts charge you very little for shared hosting plans. You could get a good shared hosting service at a price of $4 to $10 a month. For example Siteground offers plans that start at $3.95 a month. Check out Siteground Offers for details.
The disadvantage of such a shared arrangement is that your website could be at the mercy of other websites hosted on the same server. If one website becomes popular and gets a lot of traffic, it would consume most server resources which would leave the remaining sites hosted on the server with very limited resources. This would increase the load time of other sites making them slow and inoperable. This is known as “bad neighbour” effect.
Shared hosting is good for static websites which do not get a lot of traffic. If you are on a tight budget, then you should consider web hosts like Godaddy Hosting that offer plans to host a single website nearly for free. Another good shared web hosting company is Justhost. It belongs to EIG group, the largest provider of hosting services. Take a look at Just Host Promo here.
Virtual Private Server is the next step up the ladder. A VPS server is also essentially a shared environment but handled very differently from a shared hosting. A VPS server is partitioned based on the number of users allocated on the server. So each partition simulates an individual server for a customer, therefore each website gets to expand up to a certain fixed amount of resources. This eliminates the risk of one website using up all the server resources so your website will never suffer from bad neighbourhood effect.
Another benefit of using a VPS is that it is very flexible and configurable. The website owner has the ability to make changes to the container environment which he/she is allocated. As a shared hosting client you do not get to control any aspects of your hosting server. A VPS solution is also very scalable. You can increase the amount of resources you are allocated by paying some extra cash each month. So as your business grows, you will not need to migrate your website to another hosting solution, just an upgrade of resources will do the job. Hostpapa Webhosting classifies as a good VPS host. They also offer Windows based servers in addition to Linux servers.
In this type of hosting, you rent out an entire server for hosting your website(s). So if you have a high traffic website and you want the highest level of control, a dedicated server is what you would go for. A dedicated server comes with a lot of benefits, like complete customization flexibility. Some hosting companies offer a fixed server configuration, while others allow you to choose the server configuration like OS to install, amount and type of RAM, hard disk and other hardware components. Bluehost is known for offering good dedicated server hosting. Here are details of latest Bluehost Hosting Plans and offers.
You get maximum performance, speed and uptime with dedicated servers. You can deploy the highest level security features on your server. The only flip side is that you need to be an advanced user with good technical skills to manage a dedicated server on your own. If you are not one of those users, you can opt for a managed dedicated server hosting, where the maintenance of server is a responsibility of the hosting service provider. Dedicated servers do not come cheap, but if your business has grown to the level where you need one, you will surely have enough funds to pay for an expensive hosting solution.
There are other varieties of web hosting too, like, Cloud Hosting. But it is less common than the ones listed above.