When launching a website for yourself or your business, one of the most important things to consider is the type of hosting that you’ll use. While researching your options, you’ll quickly discover that there are many different types of web hosting to consider. Learning about the most popular options helps you make the right decision regarding your site’s hosting.
On this page, you’ll find a brief introduction to the different types of web hosting so that you can decide which one is right for your site. Specifically, you’ll read about things, such as:
- What is web hosting?
- Introduction to shared hosting
- Introduction to virtual private server (VPS) hosting
- Introduction to dedicated hosting
- Introduction to cloud hosting
- Introduction to reseller hosting
- Managed vs. unmanaged hosting
Find What You’re Looking For
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is where your website is located physically. In the simplest terms, it’s the service that runs the server for your website and the connections needed for people to visit your page.
For small websites, web hosting uses one part of a single physical server. A single website may be hosted on multiple physical servers or even spread out over multiple geographic locations for larger websites.
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Most Popular Types of Web Hosting
Understanding the different types of web hosting technology allows you to decide which is right in what situations. The various technologies can be quite complicated, however. So, on this page, you’ll get a basic introduction to the best choices for individuals and small businesses.
Shared hosting is the most popular option, especially for small businesses and personal websites. This technology allows many websites to share the resources of a single web hosting server. The specific number of sites hosted on one server varies greatly between the different hosting providers.
While each site’s files are kept separately so that only the website owner can edit them, all the sites have access to resources such as disk space, central processing unit (CPU) power, network capacity, and memory. Finding a good shared hosting provider is a great way to get good service at a very affordable price.
- Inexpensive ― often starting at less than $5 per month
- Available from most hosting companies
- Typically easy to set up new sites
- Other sites can impact your page’s performance
- Limited control over various features
A VPS works similarly to a shared hosting environment in that multiple sites are run on one physical server. However, the big difference is that each account is assigned exclusive access to specific system resources. This exclusive access means that even if another site on the same server is getting flooded with traffic, it won’t cause slowness on your site.
It’s often possible to get a great VPS hosting package for not much more than it costs for shared hosting, which makes it a great option in many cases.
Pros & Cons of VPS Hosting
- Exclusive access to assigned system resources
- Can make custom configuration changes
- Often very affordable
- Can be difficult to determine what system resources you need
- Technical know-how required for advanced configuration
Dedicated Server Hosting
When you select a dedicated server for your hosting, your website is the only one running on a given server. This means that you’ll have full access to all of the system resources on that server and can even configure it to meet your specific needs. If you have a site that gets a lot of traffic, it’s even possible to link multiple physical servers together and have your one website running across them all to handle all the visitors.
Different hosting companies offer different types of servers, so you can always find the exact level of service you need. Some even let you purchase your own server and have it housed in their data center.
Pros & Cons of Dedicated Server
- Virtually limitless growth potential
- Access to all the resources on the server
- Full control over server configuration
- Can be very expensive
- Generally requires a high level of technical knowledge
Cloud hosting solutions use the incredible power of cloud environments to power websites. The web hosting company will set up a virtual environment to host websites for their clients. Rather than having multiple clients on one server, such as shared and VPS, cloud hosting puts multiple websites onto multiple servers.
Cloud hosting environments usually use dozens of separate physical servers to create one virtual hosting environment, which you can use for many websites. You can configure the environment to have the sites sharing all system resources of servers, or each site can be assigned a specific amount of system resources.
Pros & Cons of Cloud Hosting
- Very reliable hosting
- Easy to upgrade when needed
- Housed physically in massive data centers
- Can be hard to figure out what resources you’re getting
- Price varies significantly from company to company
Reseller hosting is a unique option designed only for people or businesses who want to offer web hosting to other individuals or businesses. If you sign up for a reseller hosting account, you can turn around and sell hosting services to other parties at a profit.
For example, if you operate a web design business, this can be a great upsell opportunity for your clients. Of course, you’ll need to have a technical understanding of how hosting works to sell and support this service.
Pros & Cons of Reseller Hosting
- Great income stream for your business
- Easy to get started
- Not typically used for individual site hosting
- Lots of variability in price
Managed vs. Unmanaged Hosting
When looking at the different types of hosting, you should consider whether you’ll be getting managed or unmanaged hosting. Generally speaking, you can provide all types of hosting mentioned above as managed or unmanaged services depending on what the hosting company offers.
Ensure you know the difference between managed and unmanaged hosting when signing up for any new hosting package.
Managed Web Hosting
Managed web hosting is when the hosting company manages almost all aspects of the hosting environment. When they manage the aspects, you don’t need to understand how hosting works, which makes it much easier.
In most managed hosting situations, the only thing you need to take care of is setting up and managing the content of your website. The hosting company handles the rest.
Pros & Cons of Managed Web Hosting
- Very little technical knowledge required
- Allows you to focus on your site
- Avoid worrying about back-end upkeep
- Little to no say in when upgrades or patches happen
- Typically cannot make configuration changes to the server
- Costs more for comparable hosting
Unmanaged Web Hosting
Unmanaged web hosting services are where the hosting company provides you with the hardware and networking connections, and you’ll handle the rest on your own. This means you can decide what operating system you use, when to upgrade the database version, and much more.
Pros & Cons of Unmanaged Web Hosting
- Greater control over server configuration
- Less expensive
- Schedule upgrades during times that are ideal for you
- Must know how to manage the server
- May be responsible for costs of software you put on the server
Which Type of Hosting Is Right for You?
There’s no one right answer to this question. The type of hosting that is best for you’ll depend on several things, including your budget, the type of site you’re running, and much more.
Most people who are launching a new site want to start with either shared hosting or cloud hosting, and then they can upgrade from there if needed. If you expect that your site will get a lot of traffic right from the beginning, it’s often a good idea to go with a VPS or even a dedicated server.
Take the time to understand your options and choose the type of hosting that’ll meet your needs today. Remember, you can always upgrade to more advanced hosting in the future if the need arises.
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Compare Popular Web Hosting Plans
Need a great web host? Want to save some time? This shortlist is your best place to begin:
Popular Host Choice for 2021
BlueHostStarting at $2.75/mo View Current Deal
DreamhostStarting at $2.59/mo View Current Deal
A2 HostingStarting at $2.99/mo View Current Deal
SiteGroundStarting at $3.99/mo View Current Deal
GreenGeeksStarting at $2.49/mo View Current Deal
HostingerStarting at $2.59/mo View Current Deal