Hosting is one of the most important components of starting and running a website. This point is clearly stressed in any blog teaching people how to create their own website. Without a reliable hosting provider, websites can’t function properly. Many people are surprised to realize that there are multiple different types of hosting. In order to determine which type of hosting is best for you, it’s important to understand the different hosting resources offered through each.
In general, each hosting type provides the same function. Providers will offer space on their server where your website can be stored. The difference between each hosting type is only in reference to the amount of each resource that is offered. Some of the most important resources offered by hosting providers include reliability, server speed, control, storage capacity, and privacy. It’s important to understand the importance of each resource before choosing a hosting offer. A common question involves premium vs discounted web hosting. If you compare the discount hosting resources to those of premium hosts you can see a massive discrepancy. Higher end hosting companies often have 3-4X the resources of lower tier ones.
Here is a brief overview of these critical resources:
Reliability: This term refers to a server’s ability to operate in a consistent fashion in a manner related to its specifications. Reliability is usually expressed as a percentage.
Server Speed: When people complain about web pages loading slowly, the real issue lies in server speed. This term refers to a server’s performance in getting files, images, and a website loaded overall.
Control: A vast majority of hosting providers offer each user a control panel. With this dashboard, users can manage specific features of their hosting services.
Storage Capacity: Servers are essentially places to where the contents of your website are stored and manage. Storage capacity refers to the amount of space that is available on a particular server. This can greatly impact the performance of other resources.
Privacy: Privacy simply refers to the varying safety measures and protections that a hosting offer has for users.
How Different Types Impact Hosting Resources
Although it may seem as though there is an endless number of hosting types, many providers make up different names for the same offers in order to sound unique. In reality, there are four primary types of servers: Virtual Private Servers, Shared Servers, Dedicated Servers, and Cloud Hosting.
Each of these hosting types will offer the general function of being a storage location for your site. However, the number and efficiency of the resources offered by each server will vary. It’s important to understand each hosting type and its accompanying resource when deciding which is best for your particular situation.
Virtual Private Server Hosting
Virtual Private Server Hosting, also known as VPS Hosting, takes a large server and divides it into multiple different sections known as ‘virtual private servers’. Technically, this form of hosting still involves several websites being hosted on the same server. However, each website has its own private space carved out of the server overall.
Most VPS Hosting options offer root access to give owners control over their virtual space. This also ensures a higher level of security. Reliability and server speeds also tend to be higher on this type of hosting in comparison to shared options. The virtual divisions ensure that the functioning of one domain doesn’t impact another on the same server. VPS Hosting is popular with sites that want a greater level of control without having the desire to spend extra on a dedicated server.
Although VPS Hosting offers sites slightly more privacy and protection from the performance of other sites on the same server, there is still limited storage capacity. This will make it very difficult for sites to handle sudden surges or high traffic altogether.
The reality of shared hosting is implied by its name. This type of hosting sees one server hosting many different sites at one time. The number of websites on a server depends on the provider and the cost of the service. There could be anywhere between a dozen and several thousand websites on the server at one time. Every site on these types of servers is sharing its resources with the other sites involved.
Shared servers are recommended for newer websites or those that don’t require many operational resources to function properly. Sites on these servers will only be able to store a minimal amount of information and can’t sustain too much traffic without having issues. This is generally assumed to the entry-level option because it requires very little technical knowledge. Fortunately, the simplicity of shared servers is reflected in affordable prices.
Sites on shared servers won’t have any root access and much less control when compared to other server types. Users will also see that these servers don’t handle spikes in traffic well at all. A site’s performance can also be impacted by the operation of other sites within the same server.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated hosting is a breath of fresh air for people who have been struggling with sharing servers. As its name suggests, this form of hosting offers users the maximum amount of control over the server hosting their site. With dedicated server hosting, users can have access to their own server. Your site, or sites, will be the only ones on the server.
Having your own server greatly optimizes all of the resources that will be available. Reliability will be near its pinnacle, server speed will be maximized, and storage capacity will be at its highest. You’ll also have access to a control panel with more options overall.
As you can expect, all of these extra features come with a higher price tag as well. However, the resources offered through this option are well-worth the price.
Cloud hosting refers to a group of servers, nicknamed a cloud, which operates in tandem to host some websites. This cooperation between many different servers results in greater storage capacity and server speed. This directly translates to an ability to handle higher spikes in traffic greater than other hosting types. A majority of cloud hosting options don’t offer root access for users. The cost of these servers is also higher.