Different Types of Web Hosting

James Kramer

If you know anything about web hosting you’ll know there is plenty of ways to get your website up and running, from shared to managed cloud hosting these things can get very complicated when finding the top web hosting services. But each of the different types of web hosting serves each type of web admin needs such as pricing, performance needs, and loads of other things you may need when setting up a website.

Hold your horses! We are here to help you out. First, we will be discussing the different types of web hosting services that are available. Next, we will give you some tips on how to shortlist the one which will suit your requirements. For starters, even getting the hang of technical terms like “Bandwidth”, “DNS”, “Uptime” “Storage” etc can be a handful, let alone the worry of researching about web hosting services.

Best of all, with the majority of web hosting services you don’t need to stick to one. Initially, you should opt for an inexpensive one. But, once you start generating traffic (which you surely will in no time), you can always go expand and opt for another service, or choose a managed web host like Cloudways. There is no obligation to stick to only one. Often referred to as scalability.

What is Web Hosting?

In a nutshell, it is the “home” of your website’s data. All the website data is stored there and the web host server puts it out from there. Depending on the features being offered, the plans can start from free up to hundreds of dollars per month. So, opting for a fully hosted server or a simple site is totally up to you.

What Are The Different Types of Web Hosting?

There are plenty of methods to host your next website. Here are the different types of web hosting currently available:

  • Shared Hosting
  • VPS Hosting
  • Dedicated Server Hosting
  • Cloud Hosting
  • Managed Hosting
  • Colocation

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the easiest and most basic type of hosting service, you can opt for. If you are going to have less traffic on your website or if you are a newbie, this is the best type of hosting for you. It is cost-effective as you are sharing resources with others. It’s just like hostel days. You share an apartment with others, only your bedroom is different, but you share all other resources.

How Does It Work?

When you opt for this type of plan, all the domains share the same server. Moreover, resources like RAM and CPU storage, everything is shared between different websites. Therefore, it is excellent for a start-up business. As the cost is also shared between the sites, it becomes very economical.

Not only is the cost a big driving factor for people to go for this type of hosting, but you also get many tools along with it. For instance, the best WordPress hosting, website builders, and the authority to email clients. But, there is a trade-off here. Where you get a slash in the cost, you are dependent on the other sites that share the servers as you.

Advantages 

  • Easy to set up
  • Cost-effective
  • Free tools to manage your website
  • No technical know-how is required
  • Excellent for small websites

Disadvantages

  • Slow loading time
  • Threat of virus attack
  • Performance issues
  • It can’t be scalable
  • Resources are shared

Shared Hosting target market

Shared Web Hosting is for people who are:

  • Tight on a budget
  • Have a smaller website
  • Expect less traffic
  • Don’t expect too much interaction on their website

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

This is one step above the shared hosting services. Once your website has expanded or is gaining more traffic, you can shift to a VPS. This will give you more control over the resources. Simply put, it is between a dedicated server and a shared hosting server. It is like renting an apartment in a building. Even though you will have your own resources, you will share some with the entire building.

How Does It Work?

Just like a shared server, your website will share resources with other websites on a single server. But, the difference is that the number of websites sharing resources will reduce drastically. On the other hand, each website is allocated a slice of resources. Think of it as a virtual partition. Therefore, a website has more control. It is a little costlier than shared hosting but cheaper than dedicated hosting. The host splits the main server into different parts and gives one part to each website. Therefore, it gives better loading time, uptime, and response time as compared to shared hosting.

Advantages

  • Dedicated resources
  • You can perform custom configurations
  • Much better uptime
  • Quicker loading time
  • Cost-effective compared to a dedicated server plan

Disadvantages

  • You are not alone on the server
  • Complicated to set up as compared to the shared server
  • You don’t have full control over the server

VPS Hosting target market

This type of hosting is for:

  • People who want to exercise control over their server, but don’t have sufficient technical knowledge
  • If you have grown as compared to the shared hosting plan
  • Medium and small-sized websites
  • Highly interactive websites and those websites which host a lot of videos etc
  • Clients who want package installations and specific software

Dedicated Server Hosting

Are you looking for something top of the line? A dedicated server hosting plan is just the thing for you. In this, you rent an entire server just for your website. All the resources are dedicated JUST for your website. Hence, the name: a dedicated server. You will have full admin and root access. Moreover, you can configure it any way you like without worrying about security issues. Only the physical needs are being met by the server host. This means the server provides things like power, security, maintenance, and space. All the rest is up to the client.

How Does It Work?

It is simple. You rent a dedicated server, then set up your website on it. All the resources are dedicated to your website and no one else is sharing anything with you. This is one of the most expensive hosting services that you can opt for. It can cost you around $2000 per month.

Advantages

  • Full server control
  • No sharing of resources
  • High security
  • No risk of virus attack
  • Higher uptime
  • High performance
  • Fast load time

Disadvantages

  • Expensive as compared to VPS
  • Required a lot of technical knowledge
  • You have full responsibility

Who Should Go for It?

The following should go for a dedicated server:

  • Enterprise-level websites
  • The websites which have a higher level of traffic.
  • Sites that need higher levels of security
  • Those which have sensitive information like medical or financial statistics

Cloud Hosting

This is the latest service being offered in the web hosting space and is the most unique one also. You can think of it as a hybrid version of the Virtual Private Server, but cost-effective. It has multiple remote servers. Each server has its own responsibility. And the best part is that even if one breaks down, your website will be automatically directed to another server. Hence, don’t worry about any slack.

Moreover, cloud hosting also overcomes the trade-off traditional hosting faces. You won’t have to worry about the prices and resources. A website can choose which resources and how many resources they want to use. And the fact that they are spread over many servers, secures your website further and reduces any downtime it can face. The best thing is that it is scalable. Yes, you can grow easily over time.

How Does It Work?

It simply uses multiple servers to provide your website with different resources. It lets you work over a network of servers. Also, the amount of resources dedicated are not fixed. You can use them like a utility. Hence, if you get a spike in traffic, you can always increase the resource usage without any further hassle. Thus, pay for only what you consume and not a penny more.

Advantages

  • High level of security
  • Almost zero downtime
  • Scalable
  • Full control and authority over the resources
  • Pay for only what you use

Disadvantages

  • Price is not fixed – can be higher or lower than expectations
  • Higher traffic – higher cost
  • Can’t customize much

Who Should Go for It?

  • Large and medium businesses which are expanding quickly
  • The website that needs to be scaled
  • Any site with more than 50,000 page visits per month.

Managed Hosting

If you don’t have enough technical knowledge or the time to manage your website on a daily basis, go for managed hosting. Moreover, if your site is gaining traffic and becoming complex, go for managed hosting.

How Does It Work?

There are many companies out there which are willing to manage your website for a certain price. They provide services like software management and setup, hardware, technical support, updating, monitoring, patching, hardware replacement, maintenance, security, technical issues etc. In short, everything! All the responsibility lies on the shoulder of the web hosting provider. Also, they look after day-to-do activities and standardized applications. Although you can get many options to choose from, pick the one that suits the needs of your website.

Advantages

  • Top of the line services
  • Easy maintenance
  • Enhanced security
  • Customized plans available
  • Cost-effective
  • Excellent uptime

Disadvantages

  • You have zero control on the host
  • Updates are not always smoothly done

Who Should Go for It?

The following people/websites can use managed hosting services:

  • When you want to expand your business
  • Complex websites
  • For websites which require more resources and time
  • Require advances support to customers
  • When you need higher storage space
  • When the website is big, expanded, and large

Colocation

If you don’t want to rent a private server or keep it in-house, you can always rent out space in a colocation center. If you don’t have enough resources to maintain a server, go for a colocation service. These are dedicated centers, which host multiple servers on their hardware. Hence, the center will give you the bandwidth, power, cooling system, and IP address required to run the server. Think of it like cabinets and racks. This is exactly how they rent out space.

How Does It Work?

It works by providing you with dedicated racks. You get much higher levels of bandwidth as they have huge processors and other high-end equipment. As they have so much space and resources, the price is significantly lower as compared to the other services.

Advantages

  • High bandwidth
  • Lower costs
  • Severs in different geographical locations
  • Scalability
  • Reliability

Disadvantages

  • None

Who Should Go for It?

The following website/people should go for this service:

  • If you don’t want to invest in too many staff members. As you don’t have to worrys about the petty issues like installing equipment, managing power, running cables etc, you will need to hire fewer people.
  • The websites whose focus is reliability. These centers are built with the best equipment like excellent security, backup generators, etc. Thus, the reliability quotient will be outstanding.
  • When you want to focus on geographical expansion.
  • When you aim at scalability.

Now comes the difficult question: “How to find the right web hosting provider”

Well, it depends on the following:

  • What type of website do you have?
  • What is your budget?
  • Are you located locally or expanding geographically?

Let’s see what we recommend

Shared Hosting:  Best for entry-level, low-budget and low-traffic websites

VPS: For those sites which are not suitable for shared hosting.

Managed Hosting: For sites which want to leave the technical details for the experts

Dedicated Hosting: For the larger sites which need to be in control

Cloud Hosting: For websites that aim at scalability and are growing rapidly

Colocation Hosting: Gain full control over software and hardware. It is the most expensive option.