Learn the six major types of hosting and find the best web hosting for your website.
Get the best possible deal for your web hosting, letting you concentrate on making your website and business.
What Are the Different Types of Hosting?
There are six major types of hosting:
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS Hosting)
- Dedicated Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
- Colocation Hosting
When creating a website, choosing the type of hosting plan to use can be challenging. It’s essential to compare various options, but the cost is not the only consideration. Personal and business websites have different needs based on the website’s purpose and features.
As your business expands, you need more or better web hosting services. The free and cheaper web hosting plans are suitable for startups, but with time they become insufficient.
Let’s look at the different types of hosting and their pros and cons to help you make the right decision.
What is Web Hosting?
All websites exist on a server. Servers are mainly computers designed to handle web traffic, online content, and website data. Every feature on your website runs on a server, including images, videos, files, and texts.
These servers are physically present in data centers that belong to various web hosting companies. They provide the resources and space you need for your website to function online.
When you decide to use a web hosting service, you’re leasing space on a web server from a provider. You can use that space and its resources to create and maintain a website that’s accessible to anyone.
Hosting plans vary in their features and mode of operation. Your choice depends on your specific needs and financial capabilities.
Most website owners choose to use shared hosting plans. This means that many users share one server to host many websites. Monthly payments to the provider allow these users access to some resources that they share. Some resources include:
- CPU (Central Processing Unit)
- RAM (Random Access Memory)
- Bandwidth (also limited to X Mbps)
- Storage (capped at an X GB)
Most plans have other add-on services such as:
- A free domain name and SSL certificate
- Integrated website builder and automatic backups
- Security and anti-malware scans
- Simple control panel
Despite sharing resources, other users can’t access your files, data, or private information.
The main benefit of using shared hosting plans is affordability. Since many users share the maintenance cost, these plans are cost-effective.
Shared hosting is not always the first choice for everyone due to the quality of services. Some providers are excellent hosts, but some plans have limitations.
Pros of shared hosting
- Affordability, the prices range between $0.99 and $6/month.
- Requires no special technical skills
- Unique features to manage native websites
- Pre-built server domain
- No server administration and maintenance by users
Cons of shared hosting
- Not all programming languages and environments are suitable
- Bandwidth limitations when the web traffic exceeds some thresholds
- Restricted storage space and the cost of upgrading is expensive
- Traffic fluctuations on other websites can affect your website’s functionality
It’s most suitable for small businesses, startups, affiliate websites, and personal blogs. Check out more details on the best hosting platforms.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
Virtual private hosting is the next level after shared web hosting. You’ll still share the server space, but everyone is on a virtually-partitioned section or virtual private server (VPS).
Every section functions like a complete system dedicated to your website alone. You get access to dedicated resources and some server configuration capabilities.
VPS hosting offers the ability to run software of any kind. You have no restrictions when it comes to programming language. The bandwidth and storage are better, so your website can handle high traffic.
VPS hosting also has limitations. For instance, some providers can only provide more disk space and bandwidth temporarily. When traffic increases, websites can’t handle the rise without affecting other websites on that server.
Pros of VPS Hosting
- Dedicated server space and resources
- Increased uptime rates and better loading speeds.
- Increased scalability and stability
- Root access to the server
- Ability to accommodate any software
- More affordable than dedicated servers, with prices ranging from $10 to $60 per month
Cons of VPS Hosting
- Requires constant maintenance and configuration from you
- For unmanaged plans, you’re responsible for security and software patches
- Requires technical skills for installation, structure, and management
- Has some limitations on control and configuration
VPS hosting benefits websites that handle large files like videos and small businesses.
If you’d like complete control of your server at a pocket-friendly price, VPS hosting is the best option. Take a look at detailed reviews of the best VPS hosting services in the market.
Dedicated server hosting gives you absolute unshared rights to a server. You have exclusive control over the domain and complete root and administration access. You can accommodate high traffic depending on the server’s capacity. Regardless of the degree in use, you’ll still pay the total price.
Dedicated servers have different management levels. Some providers help you manage the servers, or you can choose to manage it yourself.
For unmanaged servers, it’s also your responsibility to ensure security and maintenance. You’ll also need technical support skills to;
- Install the operating system
- Add the appropriate tools that will help your operation
- Build a firewall to shield your infrastructure
- Optimize your website’s performance
- Install updates and monitor the system for glitches and errors
- Determine the right amount of resources you need
Pros of dedicated hosting
- No restrictions on configuration and customization
- Unfettered access and control of the server
- Assured availability of resources
- Enhanced privacy and security
- Guaranteed stability and predictability in website performance
- Ability to accommodate high traffic and complex web applications
Cons of dedicated hosting
- It’s the most expensive web hosting type, ranging from $70 to $130 per month.
- Requires technical skills for management and maintenance
- Requires constant maintenance
Dedicated hosting is most suitable for established businesses that can afford powerful hardware. Examples include eCommerce websites and web apps that handle sensitive customer data.
Cloud hosting operates on a network of computers (cloud) instead of one virtual server on one computer. Cloud service providers allow you to rent sections of their data center.
You can access infrastructure on several remote servers instead of one shared server.
Every server has a different role. If one server malfunctions, the other servers in the network take over its responsibilities. This means that any issues at the provider’s data center will not affect your website’s performance.
This setup allows instant, affordable scaling depending on the computing resources you need. It will enable provisioning or de-provisioning of resources depending on the amount of traffic.
If there’s a spike in website traffic, you’re able to add the required resources to help you handle the increase. You’ll have minimal latency and downtime issues besides the vast resources.
When using cloud hosting, you only pay for what you’re using. It’s perfect for businesses that have fluctuating traffic loads and need large computing and storage capacities. Once the traffic reduces, you’re able to downscale and pay less.
Cloud hosting guarantees access to new hardware, better security, and other add-on services.
Pros of cloud hosting
- Minimal downtime
- Pay-per-use access to unlimited resources
- Reduced latency
- Enhanced scalability and customization
Cons of cloud hosting
- Customization limitations based on the type of cloud and CSP
- Partial security responsibilities
- Requires cloud expertise
- Possibility of higher costs if you fail to optimize the resources
It’s best suited for eCommerce stores, enterprise websites, and dynamic websites.
Colocation means renting physical server space at a data center to host your servers at a fee. This fee covers server maintenance, cooling, physical security, bandwidth, and power.
You also provide data storage, backup procedures, server software, and networking equipment. In case of hardware malfunction, replacement and IP/DNS configurations are your responsibility.
Pros of Colocation
- It’s more cost-effective than renting servers at physical data centers
- Ensures complete control over all equipment
- Enhanced compliance
Cons of Colocation
- It’s too expensive for small businesses, ranging from $45 to $300 per month.
- Requires refined IT skills
- Has no short-term services
- Increases maintenance costs due to on-site visits
Colocation best suits businesses in highly regulated industries such as finance, government, and healthcare.
WordPress hosting is a content management system and website platform. There are two types of WordPress hosting; shared and managed WordPress hosting.
Shared WordPress hosting is like regular shared web hosting. The difference is that it comes with WordPress already installed. Managed WordPress has extra benefits such as better loading speeds and security, server caching, and staging.
When using WordPress hosting, you’re responsible for maintenance practices. It includes optimizing website performance, plug-in and version updates, security patches, and backups.
Managed WordPress hosting is pricier than regular shared hosting ($15-$60). But, it allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
It suits startups, small businesses, and industry beginners. Take a look at more details on WordPress hosting services.
How to Know the Best Hosting Option for Your Website
When it comes to website hosting, the options are many, depending on your specific needs. Every type has features that benefit different websites in various ways. The first step is identifying what you need.
The hosting you select affects scalability, security, performance, and management level. Some key considerations to make include;
- The amount of traffic to your website
- Type of website
- Financial capability or budget
- Amount of resources you need