Web hosting plays a significant role in your small business’s website. It’s a fundamental part of housing your website and making it accessible to internet users. Moreover, website speed and performance will depend on the hosting you choose.
While web hosting is critical for offering quality online services, it can also feel overwhelming to decide which one to choose.
What are the different types of web hosting, and which one is best for you? Let’s find out!
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service provider that hosts your website on the internet. Essentially, users can only access your website when the web host provides the technical power for accessibility.
These servers store websites and are physically located in data centers. When you have someone trying to access your website, their device connects to the server. In turn, this allows users to view your website through the browser.
The Different Types of Web Hosting
Many websites have different purposes. That’s why you have different types of web hosting to meet individual needs. For instance, you might have several websites shared on a single server. In contrast, other websites will have a server to themselves.
The many different types of web hosting we’ll cover include:
- Shared hosting
- VPS (virtual private server) hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Managed hosting
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting makes a great choice for beginner websites. It’s the most basic type of hosting, and it’s cost-effective.
With shared hosting, you share the same resources with other website owners on a single data server. Ultimately, it costs less because the web host divvies up the resources. However, each website will have limited resources through a specific hosting plan.
One drawback of using a shared server is that performance issues can occur when traffic spikes. While shared hosting is cost-effective, it’s not the highest quality type of web hosting around.
- Cost-effective hosting
- Easy set-up
- No technical knowledge required
- Pre-configured server
- Limited bandwidth
- Traffic surges impact your website’s performance
- Limited storage and costly upgrades
2. Virtual Private Server Hosting
Virtual private hosting is the next best choice after a shared hosting service. Of course, you still share a server with other website owners. However, the number of websites you share the server with is lower.
How it works is the main server splits into multiple virtual servers. The virtual servers are then customized by the number of websites.
You can think of VPS hosting as renting a space in an apartment building. You can do anything with your rental space, but you can’t change the actual structure of the building.
VPS hosting offers custom configurations to your server with different types of web hosting plans. This feature gives you more resources, faster loading times, and increased uptime rates. So, you don’t have to think about your site crashing.
However, you have some limitations when sharing the same resources with other websites.
- Custom configurations to server
- Increased uptime and loading speeds
- Dedicated server resources
- Sharing of the main server with other website owners
- Control limitations
- Software patches and security is website owner’s responsibility
- Requires technical knowledge for installation and maintenance
3. Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting, or cloud computing, is quickly gaining popularity and allows you to access different resources—in a pay-as-you-use scenario. This type of host creates on-demand access to security services, storage, RAM, CPU and the internet.
Like VPS, it allows you to rent part of the data center, hosted through a cloud services provider. You can run your website through their infrastructure, consisting of multiple servers.
So, instead of renting from a shared server from one location, you get access to the provided resources. In turn, this feature contributes to a reduction in latency issues and increases access to more resources. For instance, if one web server is experiencing downtime at a specific vendor, this won’t impact your website. It will remain fluid and at a high-performance level.
What makes cloud computing an appealing alternative to traditional web hosting? The scalability is the best part.
Traditional hosting comes with pricing and resource dilemmas. You can end up overpaying for a plan because you’re not using the resources provided. On the other hand, website performance issues can occur if you access additional resources on a lesser plan.
That’s why cloud hosting makes a great option. Essentially, cloud hosting makes sense for people with fast-growing websites, business websites, e-commerce stores and web applications.
- Pay-as-you-use pricing
- Scalability on demand
- Access to additional resources
- Limited downtime
- High security
- Pricing increases with an unexpected surge in traffic
- Limited customizable options
- Cloud expertise is required
4. Dedicated Hosting
This type of hosting gives you full control over configurations and exclusive access to renting rights through your web server.
Dedicated servers make the best choice because you get more benefits. Some of these would include faster loading speeds and more uptime. However, it’s the most expensive option because you’re not sharing resources.
The good thing about dedicated hosting, though, is that your site will operate at its highest performance.
Dedicated servers are typically best for enterprises with website traffic of 100,000 monthly visits. Although, you still pay the full cost of hosting even when you’re not using the server to its full capacity.
Another downside to this type of web hosting is that you’re responsible for security and maintenance. Unless you have an IT department, you’ll need some expertise in this area. Some responsibilities will include:
- Installation of operating systems
- Finding and adding the right tools for running the operations
- Establishing a security perimeter around your infrastructure
Dedicated hosting is essentially right for you if you have an established site with consistently high traffic.
- Fully customizable configuration
- Full control and access of hosting server
- Guaranteed availability of resources
- Privacy and security is a non-issue
- Stability and predictability of website performance
- The most expensive type of hosting
- Requires technical support for server management
- Regular housekeeping and maintenance required
5. Managed Hosting
Managed hosting is a hosting solution subtype. To elaborate, a managed service provider will offer a hosting plan, infrastructural support and occasional hardware maintenance.
With managed hosting, you get several types, including:
- Cloud hosting
- Shared hosting
- Managed data center
Big enterprises will opt for this type of web hosting because they require a larger powerhouse. For example, some services they’d need include separate storage of sensitive data or consolidation of server resources.
Meanwhile, small websites can benefit from managed hosting, especially when they lack IT resources. For instance, they might need in-house technical support and regular data backups.
One example of a managed host is WordPress. WordPress is considered one of the market’s leading content management systems and platforms for websites.
However, it requires some upkeep on your end through certain aspects such as website backups, performance, loading speed and more.
Managed WordPress hosting is a bit more costly than shared hosting. However, you get added security as a benefit.
- Optimized for WordPress
- Easy to install
- Increased security for WordPress users
- Less flexibility
- The updating process isn’t always seamless
- Shared resources with other WordPress users
Which Types of Web Hosting Do You Need?
The answer to this question will entirely depend on the type of website, resources required, budget and traffic.
Once you analyze your needs, you’ll be able to determine your best option with the recommendations listed above. Getting started is easy, but you’ll need to narrow your best choices first before you decide to commit.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.