Understanding the different types of web hosting
What are the kinds of Web Hosting?
If you want to launch a website, open an online store, or start a blog. Then you’ve probably already realised that you’re going to need web hosting. Ask yourself, what types of Web hosting will fit me?
You may have even checked out a few hosting companies to plan out your budgeting.
You may also be very confused! With the sheer variety of hosting plans available, it can often be hard to know what’s right for you.
In this guide we aim to explain exactly what each type of web hosting is, how they work, and when you should use them.
The most common Types of Web hosting by far, that most websites use, is shared hosting.
As you might have guessed, shared hosting is where one web server split into many different portions. Each customer has access to a portion of the server’s resources such as processing power, storage space, and bandwidth.
Each portion refers to as a hosting account. Shared hosting servers will typically have dozens, if not hundreds of hosting accounts.
With shared hosting, the server’s resources are shared between all of the hosting accounts residing on the server.
This means that you’ll typically have stricter limits on storage space, bandwidth and memory usage. This to prevent any one account from hogging too much resources.
Shared hosting is the most affordable Types of Web hosting you can find. As hosting providers can accommodate many hosting accounts in a single server. It sets the provider back very little in running costs.
This in turn means that shared hosting plans can be very affordable for website owners. Some providers even offers free hosting!
Shared hosting is also the easiest type of web hosting to start with. Many hosting providers will include an easy-to-use control panel. So you can manage everything in your hosting account in one place.
Tools for installing platforms like WordPress are also common, as well as website builders.
The downside to using shared hosting is that the performance can sometimes be worse than you’d find on a private server or dedicated server.
As resources are shared between all of the accounts on the server, spikes in usage could potentially affect your website’s performance.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
A VPS hosting plan is the next step up from shared hosting. It is essentially halfway between a shared hosting plan, and a fully dedicated server.
VPS hosting is similar to shared hosting in that several VPS hosting accounts share the same one physical server.
However, the difference here is that each VPS account acts as its own private server with its own operating system, control panel, and resources.
This essentially acts as one server housing multiple virtual machines, hence the term Virtual Private Server.
While VPS hosting is somewhat similar to shared hosting in some aspects, it’s also quite different.
For starters, the physical server which hosts the virtual machines is often more powerful than a shared hosting server. It is commonly equipped with Solid State Drives which some shared hosting plans might not have.
You’ll also find that there are far fewer virtual machines per physical machine, than there would be shared hosting accounts per physical machine.
So you’re sharing with less customers and you’ll see better performance. Resources also spread evenly, so no one account can exceed it’s resource allowance and affect other websites.
One of the biggest benefits of VPS hosting is the flexibility.
Often you can fully customise your environment including the operating system, control panel, and software. You simply won’t have this luxury with most shared hosting plans.
Scalability is also something that VPS plans accommodate very well. If you find yourself needing more resources, in most cases you can very easily add more resources to your plan.
Dedicated Server hosting
The concept of dedicated hosting is pretty simple.
You have the whole physical server to yourself, not shared between any other customers. So you don’t have to worry about other websites using your resources like you might with a shared hosting plan or even a VPS.
The main reason many website owners choose dedicated hosting is the amount of control you have over the way your server is designed.
Many hosting providers will allow you to customise many aspects of the server’s hardware and software, such as the processor, RAM, storage, and even the operating system.
This makes it ideal for any kind of specialised application or project.
Performance is also a major selling point with dedicated servers.
As you’re not sharing resources with others, your website’s speed can drastically improve with proper optimisations. Resource-intensive websites or complex projects often need dedicated servers for this reason.
The most noticeable downside to dedicated hosting is the cost. You will find that dedicated servers cost considerably more than any other type of hosting plan.
You are of course, paying extra for the exclusive use of the server, however it can be a turn off for some people.
Support can also be an issue with some hosting providers.
While many hosting providers offer a managed service with technical support on standby. Some hosting providers only offer ‘barebones’ servers with no included technical support. This means you’ll need some technical knowledge if anything goes wrong.
Reseller hosting is a form of shared hosting where one main account, referred to as the Reseller, has access to a certain portion of a shared web hosting server.
In this portion, they can create many individual hosting accounts which they can then provide to other customers.
Essentially each hosting account would function the same as an account on a normal shared hosting server, except that the Reseller controls the resource limits, DNS settings and account status, rather than the hosting provider.
This is why it refers to as Reseller hosting – because they resell the hosting provider’s solutions to other customers.
Reseller hosting plans allow for the creation of custom packages with specific resource limits and settings for customers to use. So you can create your own branded service – with hosting providers often providing private nameservers and white-label branding.
Reseller hosting also usually comes with an easy-to-use control panel, just like with shared hosting.
Many resellers choose reseller hosting for this reason, as you don’t have to spend as much time configuring control panels or other options like you might with a dedicated server.
Perhaps the most noticeable downside is the performance – you can expect similar results from reseller hosting as shared hosting, since they are functionally the same.
This will however depend on whether the shared hosting server uses SSD storage or traditional HDDs, amongst other factors.
WordPress hosting is a form of shared hosting that’s specifically designed for websites that use the WordPress content management system.
WP is by far the most popular content management system in the world, with 34% of all websites on the internet using the platform.
Originally introduced as a platform for hosting blogs, it’s grown to be much more and you can now host any kind of website on it.
Functionally WordPress hosting is the same as shared hosting in that there’s one physical server shared between many different customers.
The difference being that while shared hosting is designed to allow for any kind of platform, WordPress hosting is designed specifically for WordPress websites and as such, the servers are usually optimised specifically for WordPress websites.
Website Builder hosting
For anyone new to the world of web hosting, Website Builder plans are a great choice.
Website builders let you to easily build a website with no experience necessary.
These plans are hosted the same as shared hosting plans, with many hosting plans residing on the same server.
The main difference is that website builder plans usually come installed with a tool allowing users to build a website from scratch, with simple tools and no complicated coding.
The downside of website builder hosting is that you may not have as much control over your hosting environment as you might find in other plans.
Many hosting providers will offer only a specific environment tailored for the website hosting plan, with pre-configured software.
Performance may also be less than ideal as website builder plans are usually on a shared hosting environment.
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