There are so many different types of web hosting, so it can be confusing for a newbie to determine which one is best for his or her needs. Before you dive into this article, you should spend some time thinking about your business requirements. How important is it to have a fast website? Do you expect to do a lot of heavy database lookups, or is your website just a simple landing page for people to find out basic information? How important is the affordability of your hosting plan, versus the speed and functionality? So, are you ready to learn what are the types of hosting plans you can choose from?
Did You Figure Out Your Business Requirements?
If you aren’t quite sure about your business requirements, then read up on what kind of hosting you need for your website. You’ll have a better understanding of the difference between a simple content site, and a robust ecommerce platform, as well as other types of websites. From there, you can dig into the different types of hosting plans to determine what is best for your needs. Most users will choose from three types of web hosting plans:
- Shared Web Hosting – simplest, cheapest option
- VPS Web Hosting – requires a bit more configuration, relatively inexpensive and scalable
- Dedicated Server Hosting – a robust hosting option that gives you a great deal of customizability, but which also requires a degree of technical knowledge
Shared Web Hosting
A shared web hosting plan will share resources with anywhere from two, to hundreds of websites hosted on the same server. If you’re lucky, most of the websites will have relatively low traffic, and will not require a lot of resources like RAM or database access. If you’re unlucky, then you may end up on a server with hundreds of other websites, and some of those websites may be resource hogs. When that happens, your webpages will load slowly, and users may abandon your website before they even have a chance to read your content. But if your budget is tight, then a shared web hosting plan might be the way to go, especially if you’re just serving up a few static pages of content. It may also be enough if you are able to set up page caching or a CDN that offloads some of the bandwidth requirements. Keep in mind that a shared server environment is generally the least secure type of hosting plan.
VPS Web Hosting
A VPS web hosting account is where you have a Virtual Private Server. This means that your VPS container will act like a mini dedicated server, where you have guaranteed minimum amounts of resources such as memory, bandwidth, and CPU power. If you’ve got a bit more budget and are able to hire a server administrator to perform basic updates periodically, then a VPS web hosting plan might be a good option. Often, hosting companies will offer a fully managed VPS web hosting account, where they handle server upgrades and security for you. The best part of a VPS web hosting plan is that it is usually expandable as your needs change. For example, you might start out with a VPS plan that has one CPU core and 8gb of RAM. Then, when your traffic goes up, you can expand it to have several CPU cores, and 16gb, 32gb, or more RAM to suit your needs.
Dedicated Server Hosting
A dedicated server hosting plan is one where you have a full computer dedicated to your websites. This machine is usually stored on a rack with many other dedicated servers. But, it is its unique hardware, meaning that nobody else has access to your files, database, processor, or bandwidth. It is dedicated to you and your website(s). If you believe that you will need a significant amount of memory, hard drive space, bandwidth, and other resources, then a dedicated server hosting plan might be the best choice. Just keep in mind that upgrades generally require physical hardware changes to your machine, unlike a VPS where upgrades are seamless.
Which Hosting Type is Right for You?
Now that you have an understanding of the different types of hosting plans, you can make a decision on a set-up. If you’re still not sure about things, and you’re not in a rush, then start with a shared web hosting account. You can learn the basics of hosting your website with very little money up front. You’ll also learn about the limitations that a shared hosting plan has. From there, you can decide whether to upgrade to VPS or a dedicated server.