To create and host a website on the internet, you will need to rent or buy space on a server from a website hosting provider such as Hostinger or DreamHost.
Each web hosting provider offers a range of packages to suit different budgets, needs and service types; shared, cloud, dedicated, VPS and managed WordPress hosting.
Within these services, there is also a range of price options depending on what performance speed, bandwidth, ecommerce features or other resources you are looking for.
Knowing the difference between web hosting services and their benefits can help you decide which to choose.
Shared hosting, or virtual hosting, is when you host your website on a server that uses its resources to host many websites at the same time.
Here are four advantages of shared hosting:
- Shared hosting is the most affordable hosting service option, as server maintenance costs are spread over many customers.
- Shared hosting providers offer software applications that simplify managing and accessing your website.
- Most shared hosting providers also offer flexible plans to upgrade if you need access to more resources or features as your website grows.
- A shared hosting provider handles the technical aspects and all maintenance, so you can focus on web design, SEO, marketing, and uploading content.
Here are four disadvantages of shared hosting:
- You will share storage space, bandwidth, CPU power, and other resources with websites on the same server.
- A sudden spike in traffic towards other sites on the shared server can negatively impact your website’s performance, and with 4.66 billion internet users across the world (as of October 2020), this is quite common.
- You will have no root access to your website, which is the highest level of access to the server and allows you to run alternative operating systems and install server-wide applications.
- You’ll share an internet Protocol address (numerical – not like a domain name) with other users, so you cannot use the shared IP to access your website when experiencing domain name issues.
You should consider shared hosting if you run a small business website or a non-commercial personal website, such as a blog or portfolio. Shared hosting will do its job as long as your website traffic is small to medium.
You should not consider shared hosting if you need a high level of security or have an online shop with high traffic, as you’ll need a lot of bandwidth.
Cloud hosting takes place on a virtual server that is accessed through a cloud computing network instead of relying on a single physical machine.
Here are four advantages of cloud hosting:
- All data is stored on the cloud, so there is no need for onsite hardware, which may be helpful to smaller companies that have limitations to their space or resources.
- You have complete flexibility to upgrade when you need access to more resources.
- Your chances of losing data are improbable as you can back up your entire server from anywhere in the world and from any device.
- Depending on your plan, cloud hosting isn’t much more expensive than shared hosting, and some providers offer pay-as-you-go options.
Here are two disadvantages of cloud hosting:
- You have to constantly rely on the internet, and cannot access your files or data if you lose connection.
- There are potential storage limitations.
You should consider cloud hosting if your website gets a high level of traffic or if your website’s speed has previously been affected by traffic spikes on a shared server.
You should not consider cloud hosting if you don’t have access to a stable and fast internet connection.
Dedicated hosting means all resources are dedicated entirely to you, as your website is hosted on a single server.
Here are three advantages of dedicated hosting:
- The server is entirely your own, so you never have to worry about performance issues or compete for resources such as storage space, bandwidth, and CPU power.
- Again, the server is entirely yours, so you only have to worry about your own security and should, hopefully, be more secure from cyber-attacks.
- You have complete administrative control to install and update any software or applications you want.
Here are three disadvantages of dedicated hosting:
- All the increased security and management features mean increased costs. Dedicated is the most expensive hosting service.
- You will need someone on your team with technical IT knowledge to manage the admin and maintenance of your website.
- Following this, you are then responsible for keeping up-to-date with duties such as admin and maintenance.
You should consider dedicated hosting if your business has high bandwidth requirements and specialised needs. Large companies with lots of valuable data would benefit from the higher level of security.
You should not consider dedicated hosting if you have no experience managing websites or if your website has low traffic.
A virtual private server (VPS) is when a physical server is split into multiple virtual servers with the same resources. This means each website has its own private server space.
Here are five advantages of VPS hosting:
- A VPS is private, so, like dedicated hosting, you never have to worry about performance issues or compete for resources.
- You get the same resources you would with dedicated hosting, but at a fraction of the price as you are splitting the cost of the physical server.
- Unlike shared hosting, you get full root access to your server and complete admin control.
- You have better privacy than a shared server, as the files and data are locked from other server users.
- You can benefit from add-ons, such as VPS apps, to help control different aspects of your projects.
Here are three disadvantages of VPS hosting:
- Despite being cheaper than dedicated hosting, it remains a more expensive option than shared hosting.
- It requires some technical expertise to set up your VPS; if you set it up wrong, it can lead to security issues.
- Server management is more demanding than shared servers, so you will need technical IT skills and the time to keep up-to-date with the added responsibilities.
You should consider VPS hosting if you need more control and flexibility over your website than shared hosting offers but don’t want the price tag and maintenance requirements of dedicated hosting.
You should not consider VPS hosting if you have no experience managing websites or if you are hosting a low-traffic website.
Managed WordPress hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is available through a selection of web hosting providers as a specialised service.
Your chosen hosting provider will take on tasks associated with running a website, such as data backups and security updates. This means you can enjoy day-to-day tasks such as updating content, adding new posts or responding to customer queries.
Here are three advantages of managed WordPress hosting:
- The web hosting provider is responsible for website maintenance and all backend work, such as security, so you don’t need technical IT skills and will have very few responsibilities.
- Compared to other web hosting services, WordPress hosting plans are optimised for WordPress sites.
- If you have questions or concerns with WordPress, the hosting provider will assist with anything you need.
Here are two disadvantages of managed WordPress hosting:
- It is more expensive to opt for managed hosting than unmanaged or semi-managed alternatives.
- There is a limitation to what plugins you can use, as WordPress must support them.
You should consider using managed WordPress hosting if you are a small business, lack technical skills, or run a high-traffic website. This is because an expert does the hard work for you, saving time and worry.
You should not consider managed WordPress hosting if you want complete control over your website or access to its backend, as the web hosting provider tends to control all website functions on our behalf if you opt for this service.
Every business needs a website in today’s digital age, and every website needs a host to put it online, so make sure you choose features and prices that suit your needs and can help optimise the performance of your website.
Choosing the most suitable web host service and provider for your business will put you one step closer to creating your website, and then it will be time to start thinking about domain names and how to implement SEO best practices.