Hey there, are you new to the web hosting world and want to host your website?
Have you already heard bits and pieces on shared, VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting but these sound super vague to you?
You might also have had a few suggestions or two from your friends but you know, this could be too much to handle all at once.
So, which hosting type will you choose for your website?
I know you are perplexed but do not worry, this article will clear your heads out.
Today, I will help you understand different types of web hosting, how they actually work, and when and who should choose it?
In general, there were three types of hosting: Shared, VPS, and Dedicated. Since the last decade, however, hosting providers have come up with a new and advanced feature for hosting called Cloud Hosting.
Now that we have four main different types of web hosting, let’s discuss them one by one.
Table Of Content
- What is Shared Hosting?
- What is VPS Hosting?
- What is Dedicated Hosting?
- What is Cloud Hosting?
- Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated vs Cloud Hosting
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is the most affordable and commonly used hosting package you can find on the internet.
In shared hosting, multiple customer’s websites are hosted in a single server distributing its resources like CPU, memory, storage, bandwidth, etc.
Individual customers hosting their website on this server will have no idea about other customers’ hosting their website on the same server.
Basically, they are sharing the same server.
How does Shared Hosting work?
In a single high resources server (usually an operating system of Linux), the hosting companies install a web server management application called the control panel (eg: cPanel, direct admin, Plesk, ISPConfig, etc).
These applications allow the hosting companies to create user accounts for each customer allocating a certain portion of the server’s resources.
Suppose, if you buy a hosting package of 5GB bandwidth, 3GB storage, and 2GB of RAM from “XYZ Hosting Company”, the “XYZ company” will create a user account for you, allocating the server resources based on your requirements.
Here, you won’t be able to use additional resources other than the ones you have been assigned with.
Similarly, the “XYZ company” will create a user account for other customers in the same server until its resources are fully used and can no longer facilitate other users.
Example: Image Source.
You can almost compare shared hosting to a hostel. You have separate bedrooms, however, you share the same kitchen and bathroom. If a person next to you makes a noise then obviously you will be disturbed.
Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting
- Cheapest and cost-effective hosting. Starts at $2.49/month.
- Upgradable hosting packages with time. Good choice for beginners.
- User friendly and easy to use control panel.
- No required technical knowledge. One click installation for WordPress and other e-commerce applications.
- Complete maintenance and support is carried out by the hosting provider.
- Limited resources.
- Load time can be affected by other customer’s website traffic.
- Decrement of performance with increment of your website traffic.
- Possible website security risk. You have no idea about your neighbour’s websites.
When and Who Should Choose Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting suits for those who are building their first or new website. This is a cost-effective and most popular option for small businesses, startups, bloggers, portfolio or personal websites, etc generating a low (100k - 150k monthly) amount of web traffic.
You should definitely choose shared hosting if your website meets the above benchmark.
What is VPS Hosting?
VPS (Virtual Private Server) lies between shared and dedicated hosting.
It acts similar to shared hosting and is configured in a dedicated server.
Unlike shared hosting, where multiple websites are hosted on the same server, VPS uses a virtualization concept where multiple sub(virtual) servers are running together in a single server.
Although VPS shares a single server among its users, you will still get a private sub(virtual) server with root access.
You can choose how you want to use the server. Despite the fact that the server is shared, you are less likely to be affected by other users using the same platform.
How does VPS work?
If you have used VMWare Workstation, VirtualBox, ESXi then, VPS works exactly the same as these applications.
A single dedicated server (parent server) with high resources is divided into multiple virtual private servers (child servers) allocating a portion of resources.
In spite of sharing the same hardware resources of a parent server, these virtual machines are independent of each other.
Customers buy a VPS either with Windows or Linux operating systems and configure it with the software they need for their website.
Think VPS like renting an apartment to a family in the building. The individual families in the apartment share the same building but they are independent of each other. Parking, entrance gate, elevator, etc are the resources that apartments share with each other.
Pros and Cons of VPS Hosting
- Easily upgradable.
- It is more secure and stable compared to shared hosting.
- No dealing with the features or software you never need.
- Less expensive compared to dedicated servers.
- More control over the server with root access than shared hosting. Able to run customized scripts.
- Expensive compared to shared hosting.
- Greater issues can be found while configuring the server.
- Need some technical knowledge for maintenance.
- No complete control over the server compared to a dedicated server.
- Many hosts do not allocate guaranteed resources appropriately. This can be because of oversoldness of the space. Be aware of how many VPS accounts are created on a single server.
When and Who Should Choose VPS Hosting?
When your website and its traffic is growing rapidly and has exceeded the limit of shared hosting then it’s time for moving to VPS hosting.
VPS is a solid option for developers to deploy their application that needs a custom environment and dependent software which might not be possible in shared hosting.
E-commerce projects, system management web applications, personal projects and bloggers having medium (above 400K - 500K visits per month) amounts of traffic can go with VPS hosting.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting is the prominent hosting service among other services. From the name itself, it is exactly what it sounds like.
It is a physical server where its complete resources are dedicated to a single customer.
Unlike VPS and shared hosting, the resources won’t be divided into multiple virtual servers or shared with multiple users.
As a customer, you get the entire server and have complete control, privacy, and customization on the server.
How does Dedicated Hosting work?
Here, you will be given an empty box where you configured it the way you wish to configure it.
It’s similar to buying a computer for yourself where you add RAM, CPU, storage, and operating system according to your need.
However, dedicated servers are not personal computers. It has different components which have a huge capacity to compute enterprise-level projects.
Only the software that is required to run the project is installed.
Think dedicated hosting like you own a complete building where the resources like parking, elevator, water, electricity are dedicated only for you. You can use those resources however you want and no neighbour disturbances.
Pros and Cons of VPS Hosting
- No sharing resources with other users.
- Better performance and greatest level of security compared to shared and VPS hosting.
- Complete control and customization over the server.
- Higher monthly cost compared to shared and VPS hosting.
- Requires technical skills for maintenance.
When and Who Should Choose Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting is not meant for every website. If you have a startup or new website then this is definitely not for you.
But if you have exceeded the limit of VPS and are still planning to grow your website, then this might be the best option for you.
Dedicated hosting can be the ultimate option for online game servers because of smooth bandwidth, banking industry for the highest level of security and privacy, big eCommerce website for large storage, big commercial application for powerful computing, etc.
What is Cloud Hosting?
The vogue of cloud hosting is growing gradually and this can be the trend of hosting in the coming future.
Cloud hosting has advanced features. Here, your website is hosted in multiple different interconnected virtual servers located in different geographical regions rather than in a single server. The interconnected virtual servers work together to balance incoming traffic and increase the uptime rate of your website.
How does Cloud Hosting work?
The cloud host provider has multiple data centers in different regions. Data centers contain clusters (chunks of interconnected virtual servers).
When you host your website on a cloud server your website gets spread to the clusters of different data centers. This makes a backup of your website in every available cluster.
When one server fails another aids the failure and makes your website running.
Cloud server approaches on-demand model. This means customers can buy servers with resources based on their requirements rather than a fixed count template.
This is also known as the “pay as you go” cloud service.
Suppose you have one TV which cost you an electricity bill 1$/month. You feel like adding AC in summer which increases your bill by 1$. Now, the total cost will be 2$/month. In the coming winter you will remove your AC which brings your cost again back to 1$/month.
This example can be related to cloud hosting as a reference to the pay-as-you-go model.
Pros and Cons of Cloud Hosting
- Disaster recovery.
- High uptime and availability compared to other hosting.
- Scalability and flexibility(On Demand).
- Low cost(Pay as you go).
- Better performance(Load balancing).
- Cost of data recovery and availability can be expensive compared to other hostings.
- Data is replicated in multiple servers this can cause security risk. Try to avoid confidential data in the public cloud.
- You need internet to access the cloud server because it won’t be in physical presence.
When and Who Should Choose Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is suitable for popular and high-traffic websites. Customers that already have a large business model and continue to grow their business for the long run should definitely use this hosting service.
However, if you are a beginner and still choose to use this service then it’s alright to use it.
As it seems, the cloud is the future that targets medium to large-scale websites. Everyone with a clear vision of growth can use this service.
Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated vs Cloud Hosting
If you look at the trend comparison between the hosting types below, cloud hosting has the highest volume that people search on the internet in the last 12 month.
Let’s make it more clear by comparing these hosting with different performance metrics.
|Cost||Low||Higher than Shared||Higher than VPS||Low|
|Pay As You Go||No||No||No||Yes|
|Resource Sharing||Yes||Yes||No||Depends on server you choose|
|Security||low||Higher than Shared||Higher than VPS||Higher than dedicated|
|Technical Knowledge Required||No||Yes||Yes||Depends on service|
|Load balance||No||No||Depends on Provider||Yes|
Every hosting is better in its own aspect. It basically depends on you and the requirements of your website and the services it offers.
For that, you firstly need to determine your needs (budget, type of website, resources like CPU, storage, bandwidth, RAM, etc) and select the services accordingly.
If you have a new website, I would recommend you to choose a hosting provider and start with the lowest hosting type your website can run. You can always upgrade your hosting package later.
I hope this article was able to help you understand the hosting services offered today.
If you have further queries, feel free to comment down and I’ll be more than happy to help