A couple of years ago, I was new in the entrepreneurial world. Just like everybody, I thought my business idea would be the next big thing (which I still do). I had everything figured out from business name to people who I believed would lead the company toward success. Just when I thought nothing could go wrong, I came across various hosting types, and that marked the beginning of challenges on my entrepreneurial journey.
Hosting per se isn’t very daunting. I mean, hosting is a service that helps you move your website to a server and, in turn, pay fixed monthly charge against the same. Simple, right? May not.
There are six different types of hosting and each has almost twenty plans tailored according to customer requirements. When the sales representative first presented all these options, I was so baffled I began searching for alternatives but there were none.
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to what options are available in the hosting marketplace. Having figured out my hosting needs, I am aware that hosting plans, although similar, differ in the amount of storage, control, server speed and uptime. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, to be honest.
I felt it was imperative that I write an article that would describe each hosting in a manner so precise that the reader wouldn’t Google any other guide again.
Following are the various hosting types –
Shared hosting is perfect for websites (and businesses) that have no prior experience in hosting. In shared hosting your website (and all the files) is stored on the same server as several other websites – thus the name ‘shared’.
In a shared plan, all the websites share the resource of the same server. Shared plans are the cheapest because the overall server cost is distributed among all users.
Shared hosting, due to its tremendously low-cost, is an excellent solution for websites in their beginning stages.
Most beginners will find shared hosting the ideal service for hosting their website. It is perhaps the easiest and budget-friendly way to get started with a website or blog.
Nowadays, shared hosts combine the server space with some more advanced tools (WordPress, website builder, etc.) that make it easier to work on these hosts.
The only tradeoff in shared hosting is that you are left to share server resources, which at times may be unavailable. Any surge in the usage will eventually affect the performance of your website.
Who should opt for shared hosting –
Businesses and bloggers that do not receive a lot of traffic on their websites and blogs. It is also a decent place to host your first blog.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated server hosting – or simply dedicated hosting – is the service that gives website owners more control than any other host. That is because dedicated hosts rent the entire server to a single client.
Besides, you also have full access to the root, so you can control everything from applications, Operating System to security.
The only downside is the price. Dedicated servers aren’t anywhere near as cheap as shared servers. You can expect a hefty operating expense that can sail as high as $1,000 per month. In addition to its unusually high operating expense, dedicated servers also require technically proficient administrators for day-to-day management.
While very lucrative in terms of control and performance, these servers are way too expensive, and easily the most expensive web hosting.
Who should opt for dedicated hosting –
These servers are used by website owners that experience a very high amount of traffic and need complete control of their servers.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
Most website owners needed control from their shared hosts but weren’t willing to spend on dedicated servers. Service providers, realizing on this opportunity, came forward with VPS hosting plan, the ultimate middle ground between dedicated and shared servers.
VPS hosting is quite exceptional because it allows each website to have its resources defined (even on a shared server). Which is to say, every website will have private resource despite sharing a server with multiple websites at once.
VPS hosting is an upgrade over shared host because it scores better in performance and control parameter than its rival. It, however, isn’t as robust as a dedicated server but somewhere near it, and definitely better valued for the price at which it is offered.
What VPS Hosting can and cannot handle
VPS hosting cannot handle incredibly high traffic level, so your website is still vulnerable to surge in usage. Because you own only a part of the server and not the entire server, your website wouldn’t perform as well as it would on a dedicated server, but definitely better than on a shared server.
Who should opt for VPS hosting and who shouldn’t
Typically, VPS hosting is for websites that have outgrown their shared server but not enough to rent an entire dedicated server. Virtual servers are also popular among administrators that are sort of ‘noobs’. For an advanced user, it might not pack too much control but with specific applications, that could be taken care of.
Cloud hosting is all the hype these days. Clouds work just like any other hosting but have a slightly different deployment model.
In terms of hosting, clouds mean that several computers work together to create a single running pool of resources. The resources that you request might not come from the same server twice.
Clouds work via a network of computers and enable companies to consume computing resources like they use utilities. The advantage of such a deployment model is that users can deploy as much resource as they want without needing to maintain data centers of their own.
Who should opt for cloud-based hosting?
Typically, organizations that have fast-changing needs opt for cloud hosting to allow them the freedom to scale resources as and when needed. This is usually the case with budding businesses.
Cloud hosting will benefit startups or bigger enterprises that need people from different geographies to collaborate.
More than 90% hosting plans that you will find online are managed. Unless otherwise told, each plan is managed by default.
In managed hosting, the hosting company will provide technical and development support and include updates, monitoring, patches and hardware replacement in the bundle. The provider is also liable to oversee day-to-day management of the server, hardware and OS while also optimizing all the applications on your server.
In unmanaged hosting, on the other hand, the provider isn’t accountable for a thing except for the hardware, so you are on your own. Internal server issues, however serious, are all yours to handle. The only plus side, in my opinion, is that you would save some bucks, but the amount of time you would end up spending managing your server would null it.
If you need way too many dedicated servers, you may instead choose to collocate your servers in a nearby data center. The data center will provide bandwidth, power, and other equipment needed to get your server started.
In colocation services, you rent cabinet and rack space and procure them with your own hardware. The colocation data center would charge you a fixed monthly rent payable upfront or in parts. Besides, your monthly bill would also comprise of a variable component comprising power, cooling and bandwidth charges.
Who should opt for colocation service?
Colocation gives the highest level of performance and control possible with a server. It is also an easier and budget-friendly way to provision your own data center at a fraction of the cost. However, it is also equally difficult to maintain. The colocation services provider expects you to take care of everything and will have little to no say in problems encountered, be it hardware or applications.
So, what’s the ideal solution for you?
As a buyer, you get a plethora of options when it comes to hosting but not every plan would fit into your requirements.
Each plan is customized to cater to the specifications of a particular client type. This helps ensure that no client is left out and the provider is able to service a multitude of customers. This, in turn, helps businesses to boom in the long run.
From what I have learned, you need to carefully analyze what you need and what you don’t. Know that your website will grow in the future so have enough free room in your server to accommodate traffic surge in the future. Note that each website is different, so it is normal for you to have bizarre computing needs.
The choice of hosting is way too personal so it is really impossible to suggest one without knowing your needs in the first place. Just so that you can quickly reminisce all the rant, I have included a short summary on who should choose what –
Shared Hosting: The most cost-effective hosting ever – best for websites and blogs with low traffic.
VPS Hosting: Virtual private servers are for websites that witness a considerable amount of traffic on their websites but not considerable enough to rent an entire dedicated server.
Managed Hosting: Is ideal for those who aren’t enough proficient to handle the server on their own. If you are a busy bee, this is your thing.
Dedicated Hosting: It’s the muscle car of hosting. Dedicated servers provide enough power for any website to handle any amount of traffic.
Cloud Hosting: For businesses that are growing rapidly. Cloud hosting will work best for people who travel a lot due to work.
Colocation Hosting: If dedicated hosting is a muscle car, colocation is the monster truck. Colocation is the most expensive option that aims at providing control and power.