Every website or e-commerce that you access online is hosted on one type of server or another. In this article, we will answer your question of what type of hosting should you choose.
When you turn on a website, your computer, through a long chain of computer hardware, turns to hosting – a server for hosting and managing websites, which does all the work necessary to make the website appear to you quickly, smoothly, and with high quality.
If you are creating your first website, you have probably noticed that hosting companies offer at least a few different types of hosting services, and their prices vary from a few to several dozen times.
In this article, you will learn how the most popular types of hosting differ, and how to choose the right hosting for your project.
What is Web Hosting?
Before you start wondering what are the types of hosting, you should find out what hosting is and how it works.
All websites are hosted on servers – large and powerful computers that store not only website texts, photos, video files, and other website information, but also software for managing websites. These servers are called hosting servers.
Servers are typically stored in data centers, and the data from their websites are accessed through the systems of Internet providers to the computers or other smart devices of website visitors (i.e., you).
The most popular types of hosting
Websites are different, they use server resources differently. Dozens of sites can run on one server at a time, and for some sites, even a single server is too small.
Different types of hosting are used for this:
1. Conventional web hosting (often used term Shared hosting);
2. VPS hosting;
3. Dedicated hosting;
4. Cloud hosting.
The type of hosting you choose will depend on many important nuances – website speed, security, management and configuration options.
Depending on the type of your website and how many people visit it regularly, the choice of hosting also depends. For example, a blog that is visited by 1,000 people a month will need a different type of hosting than an online store that is visited by half a million people in the same period.
Regular web hosting – Shared hosting
Shared type of web hosting is the simplest type of hosting. It is great for small websites, such as representative corporate websites, small blogs, and similar types of sites that do not have sophisticated features and are not very high traffic.
This type of hosting is quite cheap, and the reason for its cheapness is that a large number of websites are hosted on a single server. Depending on the chosen plan, they all have dedicated disk space, but they share all other resources – working memory, processor, network connections – with other sites on the same server.
A good example for comparison is that you are renting one apartment with several friends. You have your own room, but you have to share the bathroom, kitchen, hallway.
So the main advantage of shared hosting is the price. Another advantage is that this type of server is usually fully maintained by the hosting company, so you do not have to worry about server security or server software updates. Just take care of your website.
The disadvantages of this type of hosting should not be forgotten either. Because you share a server with other websites, there may be situations where a site receives a very large number of visitors, which will slow down the server significantly, and thus your website.
Benefits of Shared Hosting
- Low price;
- Easy to use without any sophisticated technical knowledge;
- Suitable for beginners or low-traffic sites (up to 10,000 visitors per month).
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
- Have to share server resources with other websites
- Narrower control and configuration options than with VPS or other types of hosting
When a website “grows” with shared hosting, the next logical step is VPS hosting.
VPS stands for “Virtual Private Server”. This type of hosting, like shared hosting, uses a single server for multiple websites, but each of them, depending on the plan chosen, allocates resources that can only be used by that website. So you do not need to share your CPU or RAM with other sites on the same server.
A site on such a server will run faster, and you will not have to worry about other sites consuming the resources you need.
An example of comparison is as if you were renting an entire apartment alone. You will not need to share the kitchen or other rooms with your neighbors, but you will still share some space (like the stairwell).
Another feature of VPS hosting is that usually with VPS plans you have the ability to access more server hardware and configure the server software in a way that is more beneficial to your website.
VPS hosting is suitable for small or medium-sized websites or e-shops that require high speed, regardless of whether the number of visitors to the site at a time is several or several thousand.
Advantages of VPS hosting
- Only your site has dedicated technical resources
- websites load faster than using shared hosting
- more server configuration options
- good value for money compared to other types of hosting
Disadvantages of VPS hosting
- still, multiple sites use a single server;
- not so easy to get started compared to shared type hosting;
- configuration options are narrower than using a stand-alone serve.
Dedicated servers are the most expensive, fastest and most stable type of hosting.
By using this hosting for your website, application or online store, you get a separate server that does not need to be shared with any other websites, so the website will always run at maximum speed.
With a dedicated server, you have full control of the server in your hands – you can install the software you want, you can do whatever server configuration work you want.
Because you have complete control, you are also responsible for software upgrades and security with dedicated servers.
An example of comparison is as if you have your own house. You can change whatever you want in it, but at the same time, you are responsible for everything.
Dedicated server hosting is typically used by those who use or allow others to access massive online applications that are concerned with maximum speed and security. For example, financial systems or similar complex and resource-intensive software.
Advantages of Dedicated Servers
- No resources need to be shared with other sites;
- all control of the server in your hands;
- always high speed and stability.
Disadvantages of Dedicated Servers
- the most expensive type of hosting;
- requires a lot of technical knowledge;
- you are responsible for the speed, security, and functionality of the server (basically everything).
Cloud hosting is one of the newer branches of hosting. When you subscribe to a hosting service in the cloud, you do not subscribe to one specific server – you subscribe to the possibility to host your website or parts of it on several servers located in different places.
In this case, the advantages are several – if one server is down at a certain time, its functions can be taken over by another at the same time. Or, if one server is heavily busy, part of the load can be shifted to other servers in other locations.
Often, when choosing a regular web host (even a VPS), it is not easy to predict how much resources will be needed depending on the potential popularity or completely reckless functionality. With cloud-type hosting, you do not have to worry about that – if a site suddenly receives a huge number of visitors, cloud hosting will automatically adapt and connect additional resources.
Cloud hosting is best suited for projects that have difficulty predicting potential traffic or the number of visitors but want to make the most of available resources.
Advantages of Cloud Hosting
- Very rare situations where a website is down due to lack of server resources;
- It can operate stably and quickly with very high traffic.
Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting
- Limited configuration options;
- The cost of hosting can vary depending on the load.
Another popular type of hosting is WordPress hosting. This type is specific to sites that use the WordPress content management system.
WordPress hosting is not distinguished by the server’s configuration capabilities or technical features, but by the fact that it is already configured so that WordPress websites run on it as securely and quickly as possible. So you only care about the WordPress site and the server makes sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Typically, this type of hosting allows you to install a WordPress system without any technical knowledge in just a few minutes.
What hosting should I Choose?
The answer to this question is different for everyone, depending on the type of website you use, how many resources it will need, how many visitors it will have.
Once again, briefly about all types of hosting:
- Shared hosting (the simplest web hosting) – the most affordable hosting for small websites or “newcomers” to websites;
- WordPress hosting – inexpensive hosting for websites with WordPress content management system;
- VPS hosting – for sites with more visitors, “grown” from shared hosting;
- Dedicated hosting – for large websites and applications that require huge resources and maximum security;
- Cloud hosting – for fast and unpredictable growing websites.
Still not deciding which plan is best for you? Then choose a cheaper and simpler option – when you find that the available resources are no longer enough, you can always climb a step higher.