Selecting a web hosting provider isn’t just about finding the cheapest option, or even finding one that has five-star reviews. It’s about finding the service that’s right for your business’s needs. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution that’s perfect for everyone. Therefore, you will need to research the options and carefully consider the pros and cons of each.
Listed here are the different varieties of web hosting worth bearing in mind, along with their benefits and drawbacks. Compare your company’s objectives with these features to see what type of web hosting service will be best for your business.
Shared hosting is exactly what it sounds like. Your website will be hosted on a server that is shared by several other websites. The number of different websites hosted on that server can vary. There may only be a few, but there will often be hundreds or even thousands. These websites will typically share the common pool of server resources. They are often much cheaper, require little technical knowledge and offer enough resources for basic websites with minimal or moderate traffic and so are often the first choice for new businesses or websites. There are some drawbacks, however.
Shared hosting is generally the cheapest option available and prices can start from just a few dollars per month. As well as being cheap, this type of hosting is relatively simple to set up and tends to require little or no specialist technical knowledge. As shared hosting is so popular, there are lots of choices available.
As different sites sharing the server also share its resources, your website’s performance could be adversely affected, particularly if there are a large number or some of them are particularly big or traffic-heavy. Shared hosting sites tend to have low bandwidths and provide lower speeds for each individual website. You will have no root access, which is required to change server settings and install some software, and your ability to handle high traffic levels or spikes will be limited.
With a dedicated server, your website(s) and any other resources will be the only ones stored on the entire server. Some major companies, particularly those in the tech sector, maintain their own private servers. However, it is much more common to rent a server when it comes to web hosting.
As your website will be the only one hosted on the server, all its resources will be available to you. This can allow for greater speeds, larger volumes of traffic and the ability to cope with sudden spikes without crashing or suffering an outage. You will also be able to choose between managed and unmanaged hosting. With a managed hosting package, the host will offer support for various problems, tasks and elements of the hosting. This could include support for issues with the operating system, server setup, control panel and any pre-installed applications. With an unmanaged package, the host will still undertake tasks such as rebooting servers and maintaining the network, but will not typically offer additional support in areas such as additional software and installations.
The main drawback of dedicated hosting is that it costs a lot more than other solutions. This also means that it is often not the most beneficial choice for sites that do not require high performance or experience high volumes of traffic.
With cloud-based web hosting, your site is not hosted on a single server but rather a cloud network that lets hundreds of different servers act together like one super-server. This is scalable, meaning that extra resources can be added when needed but are not generally wasted (or paid for) when not in use.
The scalable nature of cloud hosting means it has a virtually unlimited ability to handle high volumes of traffic and unexpected (or expected) spikes. The fact that cloud hosting is not reliant on a single server means your site will still function should any one in particular crash. Cloud networks also tend to have high levels of protection in general and the maintenance costs are relatively low.
While the costs might be scalable and are generally lower than dedicated hosting, they still tend to be higher than shared hosting. There may be fewer support services available and the occasional technical issue might arise.
Qualities to consider
Even after determining the type of web hosting that best suits your needs and criteria, you still need to find the right provider and individual package for your business.
Server downtime is one important consideration as this can lead to website downtime, which can have a major impact on your operations. Some server and website downtime is due to scheduled maintenance, but other instances are caused by glitches and technical issues. You ideally want a company that can offer minimal downtime and high performance coupled with strong security.
Some other things to look out for include advertisement-free websites and free customer service.