These days, very few businesses can afford not to have an online presence. But bringing a website to life involves more than building a few pages or choosing the right hosting provider. Deciding which type of web hosting works for your business is also critical. Shared hosts, dedicated hosts and virtual private servers (VPS) are the most common types of web hosting, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Pros: Convenient to use, exceptionally cheap and cost-effective.
Cons: Offers a limited degree of custom control, limited bandwidth for heavily trafficked sites.
Shared hosting is the go-to choice for millions of customers looking for an inexpensive way of building web presence, especially individuals and small businesses that are new to web hosting. If you’re buying web hosting space for the first time or if you’re working with a limited budget, shared hosting plans offer an amazing amount of affordability and flexibility.
With a shared hosting plan, your website resides on a single server along with hundreds or even thousands of other websites, all of which share that particular server’s CPU and RAM resources. You’re allocated a set amount of space and bandwidth (although most plans offer both in “unlimited” forms – just remember to read the fine print) and given access to your space via control panel (Plesk, cPanel, etc). The hosting provider takes care of the maintenance, upkeep and upgrades, eliminating additional costs.
Since the costs are spread among everyone on the server, shared hosting plans often come out cheaper than most dedicated hosting plans. However, websites on a shared server have to compete with each other for resources. As a result, spikes in traffic or database demand can slow down most, if not all of the sites on a particular server.
Shared hosting works if you need a fast and inexpensive way for your business website or blog to get off the ground, but you’ll wind up outgrowing it once your site takes off. For more breathing room, you’ll need dedicated hosting.
Pros: Exclusive access to server resources, scalability.
Cons: Costs more than shared hosting.
Whereas shared hosting is like an inexpensive but somewhat cramped apartment, dedicated hosting is the equivalent of a spacious four-bedroom home. Sure, you’ll end up paying more for a dedicated hosting plan from a reputable provider, but you get more room to stretch out, plus a variety of other benefits not available on the average shared hosting plan.
With a dedicated hosting plan, your website resides on its own server. The entire physical server is also yours and yours alone to manage as you see fit, plus you have complete and unfettered access to your server’s CPU and RAM resources. That means you can configure your server to tackle CPU-intensive tasks, handle high-traffic volume websites, manage complex databases, etc. Many providers allow you to choose the equipment, the operating system, software and security features, giving you complete and total customization capabilities that go a long way towards keeping your website running smoothly.
Dedicated hosting gives you the most resources and the most freedom of all available plans, but it also comes with a price that’s much higher than the average shared hosting plan. Nevertheless, large businesses and established blogs with large amounts of site traffic and projected growth will appreciate the scalability this form of hosting offers.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
Pros: Less expensive than a dedicated server, offers more flexibility than a shared server.
Cons: Limited resources when compared to a dedicated server, costs more than shared hosting.
When compared to shared and dedicated hosting, a virtual private server seems like the man in the middle. It offers more useful features than the average shared hosting package while costing less than a dedicated server.
A virtual private server is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a virtual server partitioned on a physical server, complete with its own reserved and protected amount of CPU and RAM resources. Unlike shared servers, websites hosted on virtual private servers don’t have to compete against one another for resources since each virtual instance has its own allocated resources. As a result, your websites performance won’t suffer from demand spikes caused by other websites or databases on the same server. While virtual private servers don’t offer the sheer level of administration of a dedicated hosting package, you’ll still have root access to your virtual instance, allowing you to perform root-level tasks and install software.
Virtual private servers offer a workable compromise for those who need the flexibility and performance of a dedicated hosting package, but on a reasonable budget.
In this day and age, even the small businesses can compete against the big corporations, even with a limited budget. With all the hosting options and plans available on the Internet, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a service that meets your needs.
What type of hosting are you planning on using?