What Type of Hosting Is Right For Me?
With all of the hosting options that are present in today’s market, determining what is best for needs can be quite confusing and sometimes overwhelming. Whether you are just deciding to start a website, just bought a domain and need new hosting for it or you are having uptime and delivery issues, you have 5 basic options when it comes to your hosting solutions. In this discussion we are going to assume that you do not want to own your own hosting servers and all of the problems and issues that accompany having your own servers.
The 6 Types of Website Hosting
There are five basic types of web hosting available:
Each of these types of hosting has their own purpose and best use scenario.
Free hosting are places like Weebly.com, WordPress.com, Wix.com and other others that allow you build a website completely free on their subdomain. (An example of a subdomain is mysite.weebly.com) These sites are free for a reason; the host provider is usually monetizing your site in some way, usually by putting ads on the website that you built. The use of a subdomain will make your website look unprofessional making this a non-ideal option for businesses. Free hosting usually can only handle a few visitors at a time so if you start getting any real traffic, a free hosting account just will not be sufficient.
BEST USE OF FREE HOSTING
Free hosting is at its best for a personal blog or a place to disseminate information to small groups such as a site for little league baseball team could make good use of free hosting.
SHARED HOSTING PLANS
Shared hosting plans are where most professional websites start. In shared hosting, several websites share the same server to deliver the various websites. This works well for informational (business sites) and small ecommerce websites. Shared hosting is very economical rarely costing more than $8/month. These hosting plans are pretty simple to manage and easy to set-up the platform for your website.
The downside of shared hosting happens if you do get a flood of web traffic. With many other websites on the same server, many times the host company has levels of shared hosting so they know how many resources to allocate to your website. But if any of those other sites get a flood of traffic, your website could become inaccessible until their traffic drops. You are also limited on the amount of information you can store on the server. This means if you have a site that is picture and video heavy, you may need to consider higher end hosting solution.
BEST USE FOR SHARED HOSTING
The vast majority of websites will be served well with shared hosting. Small business websites, small ecommerce sites, not-for-profit websites and organizational websites are all good candidates for a shared hosting plan.
VPS Hosting Plans
VPS hosting environment mimics a dedicated server within a shared hosting environment. It is technically both shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Sounds confusing but these are technical things all you really need to know is if VPS hosting is a good solution for your website needs. Basically with VPS hosting one server is actually running several operating systems. Imagine having one really powerful computer that was running 5 different Windows operating systems for 5 different people all at the same time. This is basically what VPS hosting does. It gives you a great amount of control over your operating system but still shares the hardware involved.
VPS hosting gives you the power and flexibility of dedicated hosting but pricing closer to shared hosting. VPS hosting can start as little as $19.99/mo and most hosting providers will allow you to scale easily as your website needs increase.
BEST USE FOR VPS HOSTING
VPS is a great solution if you want more privacy than a shared hosting plan, and you want control over all available ram usage. No one else can access your amount of ram so it is there when you need it most. On a more technical side, it is also allows you to have full control over your files so you can easily make customizations as necessary. VPS hosting gives you the ability to do resets on demand, which is especially helpful if you are installing programs that require a system restart.
To remove the concerns of shared hosting, most hosting companies will actually rent you a dedicated server to host your website. This means that only your website will be accessed on your server removing the worry and risk of other websites affecting your sites deliver-ability. Dedicated hosting servers are the fastest and most reliable hosting type. You can expect a dedicated server to start at $85/mo and move up with the size and speed you website requires.
With a dedicated server, you are usually given the option of managed or unmanaged hosting. An unmanaged dedicated server will require more work and expertise on your end. However a managed plan will give you the same ease of application as a shared hosting plan.
BEST USE FOR DEDICATED HOSTING
Dedicated hosting is best for high volume websites and high bandwidth websites that stream a lot of data. A dedicated server also offers a slight safety improvement over shared hosting.
CLOUD HOSTING PLANS
Cloud hosting is the newest wave of hosting technologies. With cloud hosting your website information is stored on a network of servers and accessed by virtual servers. It is more like how we get electricity from the energy grid than how we typically host websites. Your website information is stored in many places that it can be accessed from.
The advantage of cloud hosting is two-fold. First, there is not one-machine that contains all of your information. This makes your website more secure from the physical dangers of fire, flood, weather interruption and the similar type of events that could destroy a single machine. Second, it allows you to scale as need and most of the time you only pay for what you actually use.
WHEN YOU SHOULD USE CLOUD HOSTING
Currently the best uses of Cloud hosting are not hosting websites but rather, data computing and using server and data power for complex calculations and data crunching.
WordPress hosting is usually an upgraded form of a shared hosting plan. Since WordPress is the #1 website platform in the world, they have started offering a solution for the new website owner that does not want to deal with the server side of a website. These services are completely managed which means that they set-up the WordPress platform on your server for you, managed all back-ups and security issues. It normally costs about double a typical shared hosting plan but can be well worth the increase in monthly cost to not have to worry about these issues and to have specific support for your WordPress site.
Where To Start With Website Hosting
The review of the 6 types of hosting above should really help with determining your website hosting needs. As websites evolve they often times will need their hosting to evolve as well be sure that what ever hosting option you choose, it can scale with your needs. Also ensure that you know the level of support and backing with the plan that you choose. If you do not know anything about servers, confirm that your hosting decision is a managed solution and does not require you to maintain the server in anyway.