One of the most important questions users must make is what type of web hosting they want to deploy. The decision is crucial because making the wrong choice can result in big problems in site speed and searchability down the road. Therefore, whether you are new to website hosting or unhappy with your current situation, this guide will explain the different types of hosting available and how you can select the best options for your needs.
Web hosting, explained
Before we begin the discussion of which hosting services to use, it is worth explaining why a website needs a host in the first place. Every website you’ve ever visited exists on a server, a place for hardware and data exists. Most servers are computers, each configured specifically to display content and manage online traffic. Servers, therefore, enable visitors to search for a website and view their associated pages online.
As a website owner, this means that when you sign up for web hosting services, you’re renting space on a server, or in some cases, the entire server. Websites can use that space and a certain allocation of resources to maintain their own online space. Although the concept sounds simple, hosting plans vary greatly in what they provide and how they operate. Typically, there are four types of hosting, including shared hosting, unmanaged or managed VPS hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated hosting.
The right decision for your website will come down to fitting both your website’s needs and budget. Although many website owners opt for a more expensive plan, this is not always the best use of funds that are already stretched thin.
At the most basic level, users will find shared hosting. As its name implies, shared hosting requires websites to distribute their resources with other websites while using the same server. Sharing is often a possibility since many websites are smaller and do not require an entire server for their use. Therefore, website owners will pay monthly to access a certain amount of RAM, CPU, Bandwidth, and Storage. The hosting plan will then determine how much of the shared pool of resources a website will access. The major drawbacks here are that if another website on your shared server has a traffic spike, other website owners might face performance issues.
For these reasons, shared hosting is a popular choice for simple setups and those on a tight budget like a new blogger, startups, affiliate websites, small business owners, or any other website that receives under 30,000 monthly visits. For these, benefits include cost-effectiveness, easy setup, and no technical knowledge to set up.
Furthermore, since so many web hosts are available today, prices are becoming increasingly competitive, with some plans costing between two and five dollars a month. These deals are further improved if a website owner can purchase a multi-year contract.
For website owners that have found that their website has outgrown the shared plan, the logical next step is VPS, or “virtual private server.” When using a virtual private server, website owners still share a server; the only difference is that each website has a piece of “real estate.” Since servers allocate more resources to each site, each one will achieve faster loading times and higher uptime rates. Website owners that choose this model can select between unmanaged and managed VPS hosting, the difference coming down to what the service maintenance owners must do on their own time.
For these reasons, VPS hosting is the preferred choice for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t want to risk long downtimes on their website. It is also a smart choice for website owners who want to make custom changes to their server configuration or have large videos or other files that may need greater resources.
Some VPS hosts will offer limited elasticity, enabling websites to temporarily increase their bandwidth or disk space in response to an unforeseen traffic spike. Unfortunately, flexibility is still minimal since redistribution would impact the other websites on the server.
Cloud hosting is last on the list, complete with multiple remote servers, each containing its own responsibilities. Therefore, if one of the servers is compromised or lacks the necessary capabilities, another server within the network will meet the website’s needs. For this reason, higher uptimes and fewer downtimes ensue, making cloud web hosting an attractive alternative for website owners who want to ensure performance remains at a high level.
However, above all else, the number one benefit to cloud hosting comes down to scalability. Unlike traditional hosting, where you purchase too little or too many resources, the cloud can be scaled on-demand in response to traffic surges. As a result, website owners end up paying only for what they use and have the luxury of adjusting these resources from a consolidated dashboard.
Therefore, cloud hosting plans are often the most effective for any website owner facing periods of rapid growth or subject to several periods of unpredictable traffic. They are also great choices for those interested in customizing their server’s configuration.
If you consider using a managed Cloud hosting, then this link may help you understand it better.
Dedicated hosting is the best choice in web hosting since each website receives its own server that belongs to that site and that site alone. With full control of the server, the website owner can configure it to their liking, choosing server software, hardware specifications, and operating system (OS). For these reasons, dedicated hosting is often the preferred choice for larger organizations and websites that generate significant traffic.
Dedicated plans are available in managed and unmanaged formats. The hosting center will support the client if problems arise with a managed plan, making them more expensive than their unmanaged counterpart.
Therefore, users can expect more benefits compared to the previous two types of hosting, including greater uptime, faster speeds, and ultimately peak operations. The only caveat here is that it is also the most expensive type of web hosting. Website owners can expect to pay upwards of $100 a month or more at this stage.
When it comes time to decide, website owners are encouraged to start by identifying their needs. With this foundation, users can start aligning their needs with one of the four basic types of hosting, later comparing pricing and ruling out any providers that don’t pay special attention to speed and reliability.
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