In the world of web hosting there are many options available to help you get your website online and shown to the world but which of those options is right for you. Each option can cater to your exact needs no matter the scale of the site you are building.

Whilst they all act in the same way, different hosting options will give you differing amounts of storage space, functionality and control over the hosting but coming with that are the differing levels of technical knowledge needed to get everything set up and running reliably. These are the most commong types of hosting you will come across.

Shared hosting

Perfect for entry level hosting whether you are a small business owner, community group or simply running a blog. As the name implies, shared hosting accounts share resources on a server with multiple other sites belonging to other people. Sharing the server resources such as RAM (Random Access Memory) and CPU (Sentral Processing Unit) is what helps reduce the cost of these packages but can have an impact if other sites on the server start taking too much of the resource so be careful to choose a reputable company to host with.

In most cases, simple websites will run perfectly on shared hosting packages and they often come with built in tools to build and run websites of all kinds. Different providers offer different features so be sure to shop around for the features that will help your website run perfectly.

VPS hosting

The next step up is a VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting plan. This is the middle ground between a shared server and a dedicated server as the website is hosted in it's own space on the server but still shares the physical server with other sites. VPS hosting can provide more customisation and storage space and can handle more traffic than most shared hosting packages but still wouldn't be able to handle incredibly high traffic levels or spikes in usage meaning that the site performance can still be affected by other sites on the same server.

Typically, VPS hosting gives website owners much more control over the server setup compared to dedicated hosting, meaning that specific software and packages can be installed on the hosting to help the website run smoothly.

Dedicated server hosting

Dedicated hosting gives website owners full control over the server the website sites on. The physical server is rented by you and you control everything from the operating system, security and the website.

There is a down side however. A dedicated server is the most expensive form of hosting and requires a highly technical knowledge of how to setup and maintain the server however it can cope with high levels of traffic to the website.

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is a bit of a buzzword in the technology industry at the moment. When it comes to web hosting, it refers to many computers all running applications and combining computer resources. This means that users can employ as many resources as needed without having to maintain their own infrastructure, spreading the workload across multiple servers and reducing the chance of any downtime due to a server malfunction.

Cloud based hosting is scalable meaning that your site can grow over time, using the resources needed at any one time and makes it perfect for dealing with large amounts of traffic and spikes in traffic and you only pay for what you need.

Many hosts now use cloud architecture and use it to support their traditional hosting plans. You may see plans like 'cloud shared' or 'cloud VPS' which usually provide the same amount of resources as the standard plans but with a bit more flexibility.

Managed hosting

These days, most hosting packages you will see are managed. The hosting companies provide technical services such as hardware and software setup as well as configuration, maintenance and technical support. With managed hosting the provider looks after the day to day management of the server.

When choosing a hosting plan, it usually comes down to a plan that fits your needs and having a managed option can remove some of the hassle of keeping things running. Be sure to check if the hosting plan you are looking at is managed or not, and if it isn't then make sure you familiarise yourself with what would need doing on a regular basis to keep your website online.

Which is best for you?

There are many options available when it comes to web hosting but the key thing to remember is to choose an option that fits your needs. Your web developer should be able to tell you things like how much disk space you will need, what software needs to be running on the server and other key information like that. Then think about your business needs. Are you moving from an existing website, in which case how much traffic does that generate? Could there be large spikes in traffic generated from marketing efforts or will the number of visitors be reasonably constant?

If you are unsure about any of these questions the get in touch with us.

Published: 25th Mar 2024

« Back