Web hosting is one of the most important components of the internet. In fact, without it, there would be no internet! Through the power of web hosting, millions of servers throughout the world are hosting data and bouncing it off millions of other servers, computers, IP addresses and everything in between to deliver what you access and see on the internet when you visit a website. The backend complexities of web hosting and how it all works is quite crazy. However, the good news is that most bloggers and site owners will likely never have to deal with, as it’s all handled on the backend by the hosting companies themselves.
What is important for site owners to know, is what type of web hosting is best for them and what they should look for when joining a new web host. This includes not only the pricing structure but also the different type of hosting plans out there, and the type of CMS they might be using to run their site. Just like how not all websites and blogs are the same, nor are the hosting plans they may be set up with. A simple hobby blog would be fine on a shared server, while a full-business e-commerce site should be on its own dedicated server to make sure it’s running smoothly and at full performance at all times.
To help with this process, I wanted to break down the many different components of web hosting — specifically shared hosting, virtual private servers, cloud hosting, and dedicated servers. You will find a brief review of each server solutions below.
Beginner’s Guide to Web Hosting
When it comes time to choose a web hosting solution for your blog, brand or business, you want to make sure you choose a plan that’s right for your site goals, but also one that can grow and scale with your site over time. Since web hosting is something quite complex, it’s best to put in the time and research, in the beginning, to make sure you go with a reliable company from day one. It is possible to switch web hosting providers, but it is a big pain, and if you aren’t well-trained in the process, you could end up losing your site data or having significant downtime while in the transfer process. In addition to choosing the best web hosting possible, there are many on-site architecture tips that can be made to improve the performance of your site as well.
Below you will find some of the most common hosting solutions on the market today.
Shared hosting is one of the most commonly used forms of web hosting, and it will often be more than enough for most individual site owners and bloggers. The benefits of shared hosting are that it’s one of the most low-cost hosting solutions out there. This is because hundreds of web sites are often placed on single servers. Shared web hosting is generally cheap, with offers ranging around the $3-$5 range. The business logic being that hosts rely on a quantity of sites being loaded on each server to turn a profit.
The disadvantages of shared hosting, is simply that you are sharing a server with a ton of other sites. Should one of these sites be hacked or have some big data/processing issues, it could potentially slow down your site in the process (of course, the host’s security level is another participating variable).
A virtual private server (or VPS) is the next level up from shared hosting and is often used by businesses or brands that want to have a little more security with their sites. While hosting costs will be higher than that of shared hosting, most sites on VPS hosting will experience higher levels of performance, while also keeping your site isolated from others and not sharing the same server in the process. There are some disadvantages that come with VPS hosting as well, such as the CPU and RAM still being shared by other websites, which can ultimately affect the performance of your site in the process.
In an effort to improve performance and bring down costs, cloud computing has quickly become a popular solution for sites of all sizes. Another common reason why businesses will choose cloud hosting over other options is that it allows for immediate setup without the need to deal with the frustrations of server monitoring and IT. Another perk is the potential for unlimited growth and scalability, which is why cloud computing has become one of the top choices for businesses that manage a lot of customer data or transactions. There are some disadvantages that come with cloud hosting as well, such as the downtime. Since cloud computing systems are internet based, access is fully dependent on your internet connection. In comparison to other hosting plans, cloud hosting is often somewhere in the middle of VPS and dedicated hosting.
When looking for the best performance and security, dedicated hosting is the way to go. When running your site on a dedicated server, it’s only your sites, which means you also have full control over all resources and maximizing the performance of your site. With such power and exclusivity in place, dedicated hosting is also going to be at the higher end of costs when it comes to choosing a web hosting plan. However, if you have a brand or business online that is generating a lot of traffic or revenue, there is no excuse for ever experiencing downtime.
Dedicated servers also come with a wide range of features and options, such as choosing what operating system you’d like to run (Windows or Linux). When it comes to the disadvantages of dedicated hosting, there aren’t many — except for the fact that it will be pricey in comparison to other plans. You will also want to make sure you go with a reliable hosting company that offers managed hosting services as well.
Choosing the Right Hosting Plan for Your Site
As you can see, web hosting in its most basic form is quite simple, but when it comes to selecting the right hosting plan for your site it becomes a little more complex. Don’t stress too much over the pricing of your web host, as most are very competitively prices and will fall within just a few dollars of each other. Instead, spend your time and resources on making sure you choose a web host that has a reputable history and the necessary services in place to host your site with confidence for years to come.