Home » Breaking Down Web Hosting Options: An Overview

If you want to run a website on the internet, then you need two things: a domain and a web host. Without either or both of these things, your site will be nothing more than a pipe dream. However, while a domain can be easily obtained, what kind of web host do you need? When it comes to hosting, there are four primary methods from which you can choose. So, with that in mind, let’s break each of them down and see which one will work best for your needs.

Shared Hosting

This is the most common type of hosting, and it refers to when your data is located on a shared server with other websites. This means that things like site speed, network connectivity, and bandwidth are also shared, which can be limiting for some websites. Nonetheless, the reason that shared hosting is so popular is that it is exceedingly cost effective and easy to get started.

For the most part, think of shared hosting as living in an apartment building. Each website is a tenant, and you all have to use the same electrical grid and plumbing. Overall, the more resources you use, the more you have to pay, and vice versa.

In the end, shared hosting is ideal for anyone who wants to run a simplistic website and is on a budget. If you aren’t trying to do any kind of programming or developing for your pages, then this is by far the best option. Most of these plans also come with auto installers for wordpress, joomla, and the other most common CMSs.

Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Easy to get started
  • Built in perks from hosting service

Cons

  • Limited capacity
  • Site can be affected by others
  • Fewer security options

VPS Hosting

If you want to take your hosting to the next level, then you may want to try a virtual private server. In this case, you are still technically sharing space with other websites, but you are paying extra to have dedicated resources that are specifically for you.

Most of the time, VPS hosting is ideal for sites that need to have some level of customization but don’t have enough traffic or development needs to rent a whole server. VPS plans usually include a guaranteed amount of disk space, RAM, and bandwidth, meaning that your site is not affected by others on the same server.

Another benefit of VPS hosting is that you can run different operating systems without having to switch computers or install new software. Since the host creates a virtual server, you have a lot more leeway in how you can control the different components of your site.

Overall, if you want the added benefits of having your own server without paying the full price, VPS hosting is the best way to go. That being said, though, you still are limited in how much space and services you can have, so you have to make sure that you can operate within whatever parameters your host sets.

Pros

  • More customization options
  • Guaranteed performance metrics
  • Site unaffected by others on the same server
  • Increased security
  • Cheaper than getting a dedicated server

Cons

  • Limited options based on hosting service
  • May not provide enough customization for your site

Dedicated Servers

If you run a website that has a ton of traffic, or you have to set it up in a particular way, then you will most likely need a server all to yourself. In this instance, rather than sharing disk space and bandwidth with other sites, you have everything at your disposal.

Overall, the people who benefit the most from dedicated servers are those who have specific needs for their site or developers who want to control every aspect of the programming and operating system. By having a dedicated server, you can build your site however you want without worrying about limitations.

Ultimately, however, all of this freedom and customization comes at a hefty price. Since the host can’t make extra money by renting server space on your machine, they charge a lot more for the privilege. As such, you should only invest in dedicated servers if you have extensive operating requirements or your site is large enough to warrant the added cost.

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Not affected by other sites
  • Better network connection and uptime
  • Costs less than buying and managing a server
  • More reliable
  • Better security options

Cons

  • High cost of maintenance (monthly fees)
  • Requires extensive technical knowledge

WordPress Managed Hosting

If you are building your site in WordPress, then you will need a hosting service that can work with the software. Standard hosting plans utilize proprietary systems and programs to create the functionality of your site, which means that they don’t work with WordPress.

Although you could manage your WordPress site yourself, it requires a ton of knowledge and effort on your part. If you have the time to spend on it, or if you have a dedicated staff that can take care of the ins and outs of the program, then you may not need a managed hosting service. However, if you want peace of mind and extra convenience, then this is the way to go. Not only that, but most WordPress hosting is relatively cheap and cost-effective, falling somewhere between shared and VPS hosting regarding price points.

Pros

  • Site stays up to date
  • Usually pretty affordable, depending on the host
  • Optimized speed and functionality
  • Automated backups
  • Technical support
  • Increased security
  • More convenient and saves time

Cons

  • Some hosts can be quite expensive
  • Less control over certain functions

Hopefully, this guide will help you figure out the right kind of hosting for you. There are dozens of different services out there, so shop around and see which one can provide the right combination of price, services, and customization that you need.