When you plan to take your business or information online, there are mainly three types of decisions you have to take.
- Choose a Domain Name for your Website
- Build a Website suitable for your business or information
- Choose a Web Hosting plan
The first two decisions are based on personal preferences and the nature of business or information to made online, however the third one, that is choosing a web hosting plan, could be really confusing at times due to so many web hosting providers out there. But irrespective of which web hosting provider you choose to go with, first of all, it is very important to understand which type of web hosting is actually suitable for your website. This decision is also very important because the primary objective of taking any business or information online is to make it available 24×7 and choosing the wrong type of web hosting can cost you traffic or business.
Key factors to consider before deciding web hosting plan
Before you decide which type of web hosting to go with, you should know the key factors that help you make the correct decision. Since the purpose of a web hosting plan is to host website(s) and serve it to visitors 24×7, the key factors are based on the needs of the website to run and its usage on the web. Below are the key factors to consider.
- What type of website you wish to run, i.e. whether its a basic Static or CMS based information website, an E-commerce Site, a WordPress Blog or some Custom product/service based website.
- How much users/visitors Per Day you expect to use your Website within 1 year of your website launch.
- Does your website use some feature or programming that may require more server resources
You need to analyze the above points considering what purpose the website should serve to you or your business.
We will now explain in detail what type of web hosting plan is suitable for you based on the above key factors. Here we will see the types of web hosting plans which are most common and offered by any web hosting service provider.
- Shared Hosting
- Reseller Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
All the above types of web hosting are available with different software and choice must be made based on what is compatible with your website. For example, most common flavors are Linux Web Hosting and Windows Web Hosting, so if your website is a static one with .html pages, you can go for either one but if it’s developed with ASP.NET programming language then you must go with Windows Web Hosting. Also, websites using PHP as a programming language or open source frameworks like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, etc. work best on Linux Web Hosting. So the choice of softwares being used on your Web Hosting plan is subject to programming techniques used. Thus when we discuss each type of web hosting, we will leave the software requirement part of your website aside.
Web Hosting Servers
Before we discuss further, you need to understand that no matter which type of web hosting you use, there will be ultimately one or more physical servers involved where your website will be uploaded and served 24×7 to your users/visitors. So all types of web hosting plans are offered by web hosting service providers are a variety of implementations of these physical servers. For your better understanding, you can assume a single physical server the same as your Personal Computer or Laptop, just that it’s far more capable of handling requests.
Now that this is clear, let’s start with each type of web hosting plan.
Shared Hosting is the most popular and widely used type of web hosting and hence commonly known as just “Web Hosting”. Shared Hosting, as the name suggests, is an implementation of one or more servers acting as a single environment and sharing resources with multiple subscribers. In simple words, 1 system will be used by many subscribers or customers like you and hardware & software resources like CPU, RAM, Hard Disk, Bandwidth, Control Panel, DataBase Engine, Mail Server, etc. will be shared by all. As a Shared Hosting subscriber, you will be allocated only a limited portion of the total resources available. Let us see how this type of web hosting is suitable for you or not.
Benefits of Shared Hosting
- It’s Cost Effective: Since all resources are shared, the service provider has to bear hardware costs and software licensing costs only once and not for each customer hence costs being shared by all subscribers or customers. Hence making this the cheapest type of web hosting available out there.
- No Server Management hassle: The actual administrator of the Shared Hosting is the web hosting service provider, so technical aspects like Security, Updates, Upgrades, and Troubleshooting are taken care by them and you just need to take care of your website.
- Quick Setup: Shared Hosting plans can be purchased and you can start your website in just a few minutes since there is not hardware setup involved and only a new Customer Account needs to be created on the server once you place the order
- Wide Software support: Shared Hosting is meant for use by 100s of websites and web hosting service providers have to deploy most of the commonly used software runtimes used by programmers, thus they are capable of handling most websites without any errors.
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
- Limited Resources: On Shared Hosting you get limited resources for your subscription, this is fine in case your website resource demands are less and traffic on your website is low. But when you need to run some long running piece of code or are running Marketing campaigns to draw traffic, you may reach the resource limits and your website may stop working temporarily.
- Unpredictable Performance: There are no minimum guaranteed resources in Shared Hosting so if several subscribers are using the resources at their limits then it is very well possible that you will get less juice for your website to use maximum. Due to this your website may not perform with same speed and consistency at all times and you will notice a difference here and there.
- More Vulnerable Security: There are many subscribers having access to the same system, even though they do not have administrator level permissions, many time malicious files are uploaded unknowingly. Good web hosting service providers implement necessary security softwares to block such malicious files but they can no way moderate each and every file uploaded on the server. Thus there is a higher risk of abuse and security threats on Shared Hosting as compared to other types of web hosting.
- Risk of Overselling: Good web hosting service providers always maintain sufficient free resources and only sell a limited number of subscriptions per setup for getting estimated profits. However, since there are no minimum guaranteed resources here, many service providers tend to oversell a single setup to squeeze more profits or lower the price of the web hosting plan. This overselling eventually leads to poor performance and high security risks. So as a customer even if you buy a very cheap Shared Hosting, you won’t be able to get any value out of it because your website is mostly working slow or even offline at times.
There are many different types of customers who look for web hosting plans and make purchases. For instance, you may be the owner of the website or you may be the agency/developer who is developing/maintaining the website or you may be just someone who has many websites. Reseller Hosting plans are no different in implementation, benefits, and disadvantages than a Shared Hosting plan. What makes Reseller Hosting different is the ability to Create Hosting Packages and Customers of your own. When you purchase a Reseller Hosting plan, you get a Subscription with certain Disk Space, Bandwidth and other limits and also options to further breakdown the resources into smaller Hosting plans to allocate to further customer subscriptions under you. The subscriptions created by you are completely owned by you and you can charge to your customer as desired.
Whom is Reseller Hosting suitable for
- For Multiple Websites Owners: Reseller Hosting gives the flexible Hosting plan creation and a separate control panel login for each domain name. Thus if you have many websites or blogs of your own, you can take a Reseller Hosting and create a separate subscription for each of your websites. Creating separate subscriptions will firstly help you manage resources of each of them more accurately and most importantly will allow each of your websites to have individual resource limits like max CPU & Physical memory. If you try to host too many websites under a single subscription like an Unlimited Domains Shared Hosting plan, all your websites will share same resource limits and even if one of the websites uses more resources, your other sites will be affected negatively.
- For Web Developing Freelancers & Agencies: As a web development professional, your core expertise is not that of a web server administrator but when you have customers for website development, they also need web hosting plan to make the website online. Having a Reseller Hosting plan is very ideal in such a case because you can offer web hosting as a subsidiary service and don’t have to go through the hassle of managing a server. Web Hosting plans can also be bundled with your web development service to make your offering more lucrative. Also, a major advantage for you will be that you will have quick access to websites of your clients under Reseller Hosting which makes updating and managing them very easily.
- For Making Money Online: It does not matter if you have any knowledge about Web Hosting or not, Reseller Hosting services creates easy money making opportunity for those who have potential customers either via direct reference or through their blog, website, email list, etc.
Next, we come to a more advanced type of web hosting called Virtual Private Servers or VPS Hosting. VPS Hosting plans are offered by service providers on a Physical Server of high configuration, called Node Server, by splitting the resources of servers like CPU Cores, RAM & Hard Disk into several portions using virtualization software. In other words, multiple servers are created virtually on a single physical node server. For example, a node server with 4 CPU Cores and 64 GB RAM can be split into 4 VPS Hosting Plans of 1 CPU Core and 16 GB RAM each. Each of the VPS created will have their own independent Operating System and administrator access. As a VPS Hosting subscriber, you get full administrator access and can add, modify or remove any software on. Let us see what VPS Hosting Plans bring more to you and some of the downsides.
Why choose a VPS Hosting Plan
- Guaranteed Resources: With a VPS Hosting plan, the most important advantage is the minimum guaranteed resource it comes with. Most VPS Hosting service providers offer Guaranteed RAM, Disk Space and CPU Cores which helps your website(s) to work with great consistency. Also unlike Shared Hosting, you get to use resources to the fullest as committed in the plan
- Full Administrator Access: A VPS Hosting plan gives Full Administrator access to the Virtual Server and you are the only used under the operating system. This gives you complete freedom to take full advantage of the available hardware & software resources. If your website uses some features or programming that requires the installation of supporting software, unlike Shared Hosting, its easily possible on VPS Hosting plans.
- Better Security: Since you will be the only user having administrator access to your VPS Hosting plan, you can rest assured that it will be less prone to compromises. Also, the files being uploaded to the server are known to you, you can take extra precautions to make sure the files are clean and free from any malicious content.
- Scalable Plans: VPS Hosting Plans are offered with various configurations. Its. It is usually best suited to start with the minimum configuration plan and see how your website(s) perform. If you feel the need for more processing power or memory or space, VPS Hosting Plans are very scalable and you can upgrade at any time to higher configuration. You don’t have to switch to a new server and migrate your website.
- Better Load Handling Capabilities: When we compare a VPS Hosting Plan with a Shared Hosting plan, its expensive than the later but gives a lot more value as well. If you are running a critical application like an E-commerce Site or a Service Based System or an Office CRM/ERP etc. the number of simultaneous users/visitors and daily visits will be surely higher. In such situations, Shared Hosting can easily cave-in and impact your operations. On the other hand, a VPS Hosting plan will give much better uptime and consistent performance.
What are Limitations of VPS Hosting
- Server Management: If your VPS Hosting service provider does not offer any basic or full management service with the VPS Hosting plan, you must have a complete know-how of the operating system you choose so that you can setup all your software correctly.
- Limited Scalability: VPS Hosting plans generally start with as low as 512 MB RAM and the highest plan is limited by the actual Node Server configuration. These are sufficient in most medium traffic websites but if your needs grow even higher, you will have to move your website to a Dedicated Hosting or Cloud Hosting plan.
- Shared I/O: This type of web hosting does give guaranteed resources but ultimately multiple VPS Hosting plans share the same Node Server, so Network and Disk Input Output is shared between all subscribers. This may impact your performance in case if any subscriber’s VPS Hosting plan is using too much much Disk I/O for a longer period of time.
- Dependency on Node Server: Your performance and uptime highly depend on the health of Node Server and other VPS Hosting plans on the same Node as well. Any maintenance & updates required on the Node Server will impact your VPS Hosting plan as well. Good VPS Hosting service providers use best practices to offer highest uptime and protection against malicious traffic & DDoS attacks.
Dedicated Hosting or Dedicated Servers is the traditional type of web hosting where you can get one or more Physical Servers to host your websites. This is a powerful piece of hardware with a very wide range of configurations in terms of Server Brand, CPU, RAM, Hard Disk, Network Ports, etc. There is no sharing involved and you can use full resources of the server just for your websites. Dedicated Hosting plans are useful in case of Websites having to run intense programs or having too many users/visitors. Ofcourse you have to pay much higher than Shared Hosting or VPS Hosting Plans of similar configuration but that’s because you get a full physical server at your disposal just like getting a Personal Computer or a Laptop. There are two ways you can get a Dedicated Server, either contract it from Web Hosting service provider directly which includes cost of keeping the server in DataCenter, Power, Monthly Bandwidth and the Server itself, or there is also a Collocation method where you buy the Dedicated Server from any Server Brand like Dell, HP, SuperMicro, etc and just pay the DataCenter for other services.
Few things to know about Dedicated Server Hosting
Being the administrator of the server, it has most of the benefits you get with a VPS Hosting plan but below are some aspects of Dedicated Hosting you must be aware of before you decide.
- Flexibility in implementation: There is a great deal of flexibility in Dedicated servers when it comes to setting them up because you can micromanage the hardware inside a server and also you can setup multiple Dedicated Servers to work together as well.
- Choose your Dedicated Hosting plan wisely: When you get a Dedicated Server, it is important that you check for the Maximum Upgrdability of the server you choose. This will decide the scalability of your Dedicated Hosting plan. If your website needs in next 1 year may surpass the maximum CPU or Memory or Storage that can be upgraded to, then you must choose a plan accordingly to avoid the hassle of migrating to a new server or create multi server setup.
- Hardware Guarantees and Warranties: You must always check with your Dedicated Server provider for two things, one is whether they give a Free or Paid Hardware Replacement and the other is within how much time they do the replacement. In the rare event of failure of any part of the Dedicated Server, you must be able to keep things running at no extra cost and quick service.
- Ease of Upgrade: With this type of web hosting, upgrading the Dedicated Server configuration is a bit tedious as compared to Shared Hosting or VPS Hosting. Upgrades depend on the availability of compatible hardware components with DataCenter or Server provider and may take some time to schedule and complete.
Finally, we come to the last type of web hosting on our list. Cloud Hosting is a very trending type of hosting nowadays and has its own advantages. It usually costs more to get a Cloud Hosting plan when compared to VPS Hosting or Dedicated Server with a similar configuration. The reason Cloud Hosting is different from other types of web hosting lies in the implementation of Physical Servers that come together to work as one ecosystem. In Cloud Hosting multiple Servers are connected in one network and their resources like CPU, Memory, Storage, etc. combined together with the help of Cloud computing software. This allows Cloud Hosting service providers to offer very flexible & scalable configurations to you. When you buy a Cloud Hosting plan, its functioning is similar to that of a VPS Hosting plan since a Cloud Hosting Plan, also known as Instance, is a Virtualized server making use of resources from multiple servers.
Why you should consider Cloud Hosting
- Best in scalability: Cloud Hosting servers lets you scale up or scale down the resources of your Instance within few minutes and you can resize it as per your website needs to increase or decrease from time to time. This is very handy when you are running marketing campaigns or have some short time online events where you need more power and upgrade the instance, and once you are done, you can switch back to lesser resources with ease.
- Pay for what you use: Most Cloud Hosting service providers bill you on an hourly basis and if you use more resources for a short period of time lets say few days or a week, you don’t have to pay for the whole month for these.
- High Availability: This type of web hosting has the maximum hardware and network uptime because there are failover systems and in case of any hardware failure on one of the servers, there are other servers in the network to support your instance.
- Better control over the system: Cloud Hosting service providers offer you options at your end to make a lot of system level options to have better control at your fingertip. This cuts down on time to perform a task can do it more quickly.
These aspects make Cloud Hosting a very promising type of web hosting but it is always recommended that you understand the billing of your plan properly from your Cloud Hosting service provider so that there are no surprises. There are Cloud Hosting service providers as well who offer upfront and transparent billing model that helps you keep hosting budgets under check.
Now that we have seen all common types of web hosting plans, it is time to conclude our topic and which one is best for you.
- If your website is small and fairly new with about 100 visits per day, then Shared Hosting is the best option for you and there is no need to invest in more resources as they will never be used.
- If your website is small but has fairly higher number of visitors like upto 5000 per day Or your website is a more complex one and runs a critical application like an E-commerce Site, and Office CRM/ERP where there are always few Staff/Employees working and also there are visitors then you should go with a VPS Hosting Plan or a small Cloud Hosting Plan for optimum performance.
- For website(s) that have a large number of visitors every day and have complex programming, a bigger VPS Hosting or Cloud Hosting plan is a must or even Dedicated Server(s) of suitable configurations are recommended. You must choose the best combination of performance and data security in your budget.
We hope this article helps you to make an informed decision and you choose the right type of web hosting for your websites to get the best results.
Hope this article helps you.
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