All websites must be hosted on a server for people to be able to access them. Hosting is essential if you want to run your online business. However, the problem for most people is knowing where to start and what kind of hosting plan is best. You will need to make a choice depending on many factors including the number of visitors to your website, required resources, storage space, and server management.
Shared hosting is where most people start because it’s the cheapest option available. You can find some plans starting for a little as two or three dollars a month which makes shared hosting a popular choice. Shared plans are recommended for beginners and sites that don’t require a lot of resources.
With shared hosting, you share the resources of a server with other websites. These websites could be your own or they could belong to other people using the same shared server. Your website will be allocated a certain amount of resources which is shared with the other users on the server.
A big disadvantage of shared hosting is that other websites on the server can use up a lot of resources, which could cause your website to slow down. However, shared hosting plans are often good enough for most small businesses.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS servers are still shared plans but the way they are shared is not the same as shared hosting packages. A VPS is one server which is split into equal amounts between the users using that server. For example, a server with 20 users, 20GB Ram, and 400GB of storage space is split equally. This means that every user receives 1GB ram and 20GB of storage.
Therefore, any bad neighbors sharing the same hosting as you won’t take up any of your resources. Your websites will always have the allocated amount of resources available.
On top of this, VPS hosting is highly configurable and you can set up your VPS in many different ways. Another advantage is that VPS plans are often scalable. This means that you can easily upgrade RAM, increase storage, or buy more bandwidth.
Even the lowest level VPS plans are better than any shared hosting plan and packages can be as low as ten dollars per month. It’s possible to scale up to a plan which could cost in excess of one hundred dollars per month.
If your site is getting a large number of visitors, then you should consider upgrading to dedicated hosting. With dedicated plans, you will be the only customer using the server and you can utilize 100% of the server’s resources.
Many companies allow you to customize dedicated servers and you can often choose the amount and type of RAM, a range of operating systems, and other hardware setups. There are managed options available where the hosting provider will set up and manage your plan for you. Unmanaged options are more complicated and will require you to install an operating system and other tools in order to run your website.
Dedicated servers can handle a huge amount of traffic, but it’s all served from one location. Unless you have really specific requirements, then it would be better to go for a cloud-based option instead.
Cloud hosting is significantly different from the previous hosting types described so far. Cloud-based plans will host your website on a number of servers around the world. With shared, VPS, and dedicated packages, your website is stored on just one server.
Basically, the nearer you are to a server, the faster the website will load. If your website is stored on servers all over the world, then it becomes closer to people all over the world. Users will experience a fast loading website which is served from the closest server.
Cloud hosting plans can range in prices and you can scale up fairly easily. Therefore, you only need to pay for the number of resources required.
Moreover, cloud-based hosting can protect your website against DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks will attempt to shut down your website by overloading your server with requests which then cause it to crash. If a website is hosted on a number of servers, it can withstand stronger attacks.
If you’re a beginner or your website only receives a low number of visitors, then you should start with shared hosting. If you outgrow shared plans, then you should consider going to a VPS or cloud-based plan. From here you can scale up your hosting plan to suit your requirements. Finally, if you have highly specific needs, then you should consider a dedicated option.