Types of Web Hosting Compared with Pros and Cons
Most web hosting companies offer each customer a vast array of different types of hosting, whether it be Shared, VPS, Dedicated, Cloud, or Reseller based accounts. Each type of web hosting usually reflects the overall power, level of performance, and technology used. Let's take a close look at each type, define what they are, and examine the pros and cons of each type.
Shared Web Hosting:
This option is at the lowest end of the web hosting spectrum. A shared server is exactly as the name implies - the server is shared by various customers. The number of customers that share a server can vary greatly depending on the size and popularity of a particular web hosting company. None of the server configurations can be modified, as all customers share much of the same software and configurations as determined by the web hosting company.
- Usually more economical and easier to setup than other more costly options.
- Server performance can sometimes be negatively affected due to the high number of customers that a company assigns to one server.
- The level of customization and control that each customer receives is limited as compared to VPS or Dedicated solutions.
VPS Web Hosting:
This is the next step up from a shared hosting solution. VPS, stands for Virtual Private Server, and in itself is not actually a separate server. Each VPS can run a virtual environment with its own operating system, software, and system configurations. VPS accounts are similar to Shared servers, because many times they are shared on the same server with other VPS customers, the only difference is that VPS accounts offer the flexibility and control that Shared servers do not. VPS is an excellent option for webmasters that need extra control and reliability without paying the steep price of a Dedicated Server.
- Offers more customization and control when compared to lower plans.
- Server hardware is usually better in terms of quality and performance.
- Not a true dedicated server solution, as servers are still shared by various customers.
- Sometimes support is can be limited or non-existent depending on the company and type of plan.
- Learning curve can be higher than Shared Hosting, therefore, more computer skills are required.
Dedicated Web Hosting:
This is the ultimate when it comes to web hosting, but with high quality comes high prices. A Dedicated Server is a truly separate server that has its own hardware, software, server configurations, and best of all - it doesn't share its resources with anyone or anything. Dedicated Servers offer amazing performance and as one would expect amazing hardware and uptime (depending on the hosting company). However, most Dedicated server plans are at least 5 times more expensive than Shared hosting, and most website owners will never need a Dedicated server anyways. These servers and suited for extremely popular websites that receive millions of visitors per month.
- The ultimate in performance and flexibility.
- Doesn't share its resources or server space.
- Extremely high prices and other requirements.
- Many of the same disadvantages as VPS plans.
Cloud Web Hosting:
This is a fairly new yet popular type of web hosting to make its arrival into the arena. Cloud hosting is similar to the other types of hosting, except it harnesses the power of cloud computing, which means that a series of remote servers share and provide resources to create a grid-like environment. Think of this environment as a type of "utility grid" much like the power grid that we use everyday in our homes and businesses for electricity. This type of hosting can be beneficial due to its sheer flexibility if a particular resource on the network experiences trouble, since other resources can come to the rescue and compensate for an outage or other issues.
- Very reliable, cost effective, and easy to manage.
- Uses cloud computing technology to create a powerful network.
- Some experts question the overall security of cloud-based services.
Reseller Web Hosting:
Reseller hosting is a specialty service that gives customers the opportunity to resell hosting services and start their own web hosting company. Reseller hosting allows anyone to run a complete hosting company without the hassle of having to maintain hardware, pay for expensive building space, or deal with monthly utility bills. Each Reseller account usually includes at least 5 accounts which in turn can be re-sold on a monthly or yearly basis to potential customers for a price specified by the reseller/owner. The owner can then customize how much bandwidth and disk space is allotted to each customer.
- An excellent and easy choice for someone who wants to start a hosting company.
- More affordable to setup/manage than a traditional hosting company.
- Some reseller accounts can be expensive, which in turn can affect return on investment.
As you can see, there are many different types of hosting, some of which are less common and therefore we decided not to cover. Overall, the important thing to consider when choosing a web hosting is the reputation of the company providing the services, the features that you and your website need, and the price.