When you buy a domain and then develop a website, you need space over the internet to make it accessible to other people. Web hosting service is what you need to upload or publish your website content on the internet.
Every blog and startup on the web starts with hosting!
Hosting is such a big monster with so many variations that everyone gets lost, even developers with plenty of prior experience. In this article, I’ll cover up the common types of web hosting like shared, VPS, cloud, reseller and dedicated etc. Let’s get started with the most simple question.
What is Web Hosting in general?
Web hosting is a service offered by the web host providing space on the internet to upload website contents. There are plenty of web hosting companies such as BlueHost, SiteGround and GoDaddy etc. which provide hosting services by charging a minimal fees per month. These services work by storing your website files in high speed computers called Web Servers connected with a very fast network. When someone types in your website address (for example https://lhe.io), the browser contacts with the web server holding your website contents to download the requested files. The web server then transfers the requested files backed to web browser. The browser then renders those files to show you the results.
A list of features you can expect from a domain hosting registrars that help you manage your domains.
Web hosting services include – not limited to – software, security, support, bandwidth, speed and many more to effectively manage web servers. There are different types of web hosting services designed specifically to complete different types of tasks.
Different Types of Web Hosting
As technology has evolved, different types of web hosting services have appeared to meet the different needs of websites and customers. Most hosts offer multiple hosting packages which may be wildly different. The easiest way to get started is to figure out which type of hosting you need, and then look at the different hosting packages offered by different companies.
The following are the types of web hosting services that are commonly offered by web hosts:
- Shared Web Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- Managed Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
- Reseller Hosting
- Website Builder
- Free Web Hosting
- Do-It-Yourself Hosting
- Collocation Web Hosting
In following article, we will discuss these hosting services one-by-one.
Shared Hosting — Cheapest, Best for Beginners
Shared web hosting is the most common type of web hosting, and it is also the easiest to start out on. It is a service where one web server resources such are space, space & bandwidth are shared between many customers. Since it is the most common type of web hosting, many hosting companies simply refer it to as virtual hosting, web hosting, or website hosting.
Each customer is provided a control panel to manage the allocated resources whereas the web host control the server. There are various pros and cons of shared web hosting. It is cheaper and easier to use and manage. On the other hand, you share the server resources with other customers which can make it less flexible and sometimes slow.
Remember how a shared web server is installed? It is a computer with resources like hard drive space, CPU speed and RAM. The host puts a large number of users on a single server — by large number I mean that it can be over 2,000 users. Each user may have a number of sites so that one single server hosts somewhere around 6,000 sites.
The problem is that these websites all share the server’s resources. If one website has some buggy code or simply gets a lot of visitors it could eat 80% of a server’s memory lets suppose, which means that the other 5,999 sites are left with just 20% of the total RAM.
Dedicated Hosting — High Traffic Websites
Dedicated Hosting is a best option if your websites receive high traffic — more than 100k visitores per month. Dedicated hosting providers provide access to an entire computer that is not shared with any other customers and all of the computer resources are allocated to your usage. You may pay more amount than for shared web hosting, but in return, you will use all the server computer resources whether you are hosting just one website or many.
Dedicated hosting are good choice if your business needs are more specific and required dedicated resources in terms of hardware (RAM, computing power and bandwidth), or you want a lot more control over your data’s privacy than anywhere else. A dedicated server compartmentalizes you which can be a bad thing, but from a security point of view it’s great.
Since you get a computer all yours, many dedicated hosting companies allow you to customize it sizable. You may be able to choose the amount and type of memory, the OS to install, and other hardware elements that make up a computer. This gives you a lot of flexibility which may be needed to run some specialized software.
But it has few drawbacks. First, you need to know quite a lot about computers and server technologies. Although there are managed dedicated hosting solutions but you’ll still need to do a lot more on your own. Second, you may get a completely unmanaged host where you would even need to install the OS yourself, all the tools needed to run a web server, security scanning, malware removal and so on. I wouldn’t say this a downside, but it is something you need to know upfront before buying such a plan.
VPS Hosting — Powerful than Shared Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) – also referred as Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS) – provides similar services to that of a dedicated server except that the resources such as memory & bandwidth are reserved for the your usage. These resources are not affected by the presence of other websites on the same server. That is why it seems as dedicated server although it is essentially not.
The VPS services providers make sure that your service will continue without any problem even when demand exceeds the allocated resources. The hosts normally charge per month fixed amount for VPS services but it may add extra money if server usage exceeds the reserved resources.
Cloud hosting is essentially in between shared web hosting and dedicated hosting more like a VPS hosting with some awesome advantages. Cloud servers still share the physical server hardware with other cloud servers the physical hardware is partitions or splits-up with some special virtual technology in such a way that each cloud server has its own dedicated resources and can be configured almost like a fully dedicated server.
Cloud hosting is somehow very near to VPS hosting as the environment of a VPS is exactly as the Cloud server. So a Cloud server can be called as a VPS server but not vice versa. The differences are subtle as following:
- Cloud servers are usually accessible via an API allowing you for dynamic resource allocation.
- Cloud servers have a pay as you go payment whereas VPS usually has a fixed monthly price.
- VPS services are mainly focused on the server and computing power with hard disk local storage whereas Cloud servers mostly provide more services such as large data storage, load balancing, and high speed networking etc.
If you don’t know how to manage your web hosting or you are lacking of time, managed hosting is what that can be helpful. Although it is one of the most expensive hosting service, but it allows you to focus on your website development and marketing strategy aspects.
With managed hosting service, you get a dedicated host and a dedicated hosting manager assigned by the web host to take care of administration and management of your server as well as other services. you don’t need to be worried about downing of services or anything else.
WordPress hosting is a kind of managed hosting specifically designed to run WordPress backed websites & blogs. WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) which has been installed on millions of websites and blogs. It is very easy to install and manage without any knowledge of programming.
WordPress hosting services are normally costly but includes many awesome features such as easy setup, automated updates & backups, 100% network up-time, web pages caching, no bandwidth limitations & dedicated WordPress support.
If you want to sell web hosting services to your customers, you may need reseller hosting plan. In this form of hosting, you make a contract with any hosting provider to lease a dedicated server. Then you resell that server resources to your customers. There are different form of reseller hosting contracts and it varies based on the resources attached to reseller hosting account.
One possibility can be to buy a dedicated server to host your own site(s) and then resell the rest of the space to others. Since you are the reseller, you can easily determine how many site(s) can be hosted and can keep an eye on resources usage to insure that all sites have sufficient resources all the time.
This is one of the most profitable form of hosting plan but it comes with some extra responsibilities. Usually, you are also responsible for any kind of support required by your customers as per terms of services.
Website builder is the most convenient way to build a website and get online in no time. The website builder usually provides hundreds of professionally designed templates that can be completely customized as per your own needs; no prior experience is required. Majority of the website builder providers offer a free domain name and a web hosting account that is setup automatically.
The website builder has various pros and cons. It is the easiest way to get online and offers professional results at low cost. But it may become tricky for large e-commerce websites or for the websites with highly custom functionality. InMotion Hosting, GoDaddy & 1and1 offer the services which are very near to Website Builder.
Free Web Hosting
There are few hosting companies which offer free web hosting plan to their customers to test the hosting features. Sometimes, it is also a good option if your website is minimal and does not required much resources. Nevertheless, free web hosting service can help you to put your website over the internet at no cost upfront. There are some drawbacks as well for free web hosting such as provision of only a sub-domain, limited tech support, limited features like memory and bandwidth etc.
If you are a techie and know your way around server management, it is possible to host your own server. In order to make it possible, you may need to contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to provide you a static or live IP (Internet Protocol) address which is accessible over the internet. You will then run the server on that IP and manage the host in same way as any hosting providing company does.
It provides you a flexible to arrange the resources in any order as you want but it may involves a lot of additional work in term of customer support and servers maintenance.
If the allocated servers offered by dedicated or managed hosting services provider do not meet your needs, it is possible to provide your own custom server and have it housed with the host, where it is connected to their system. You and web hosting service provider share the responsibility for the server.
Choosing a perfect hosting package can be pretty difficult. The first step is to understand the type of hosting you need: shared, VPS, dedicated or cloud. Hopefully this article has given you the background to figure that out.
If you’re just starting out (building your first blog or website) – go with shared hosting. It’s cheapest and usually more than you need at the beginning.
The next step is to figure out your business needs: what exact resources such as memory, computing power & bandwidth are required by your website. I’d advise to carefully scrutinize your business requirements before making any decision to buy a hosting plan.
The last step you should take a look at a different hosting companies packages. Look at what’s on offer and compare the RAM, disk space, CDN usage, bandwidth and other quantify-able resources as well as any additional features on offer.
At the end of the process, you should have 2-3 favorite web hosts at which point it will boil down to personal choice. Perhaps a short talk with selected host support – to measure their helpfulness – will go a long way.
Need further help to decide the right host? Drop us a message and we’ll be happy to figure that out for you.