There are several different types of web hosting available today, and the options can be confusing unless you know exactly what you want. Should you choose a dedicated server, a VPS, or shared hosting? Here we will cover the basics of the different types of web hosting plans, so you can better decide which one is best for you.
1. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting can be compared to living in a house vs living in an apartment building. You have sole access to all of the resources available on the machine and only your account resides on the machine. You lease the entire server that isn’t shared with anyone else. This option is more flexible than shared hosting, because you will have 100 percent control over the server including choice of hardware and operating system.
The benefits of using dedicated servers include email stability, high performance, control, and security. This type of hosting is often used by websites with a decent budget and large volume of traffic.
2. VPS Hosting
VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is a virtual machine that is sold by an Internet hosting service. One powerful server is divided or partitioned into multiple virtual servers. It will run its own copy of an operating system and customers can have access to install any software that is compatible with that OS. In many cases a VPS is the functional equivalent to a dedicated server, and because it is software-defined, it will be easily configured by the user.
VPS hosting can be compared to owing a condo. You still have to share things on the property with other owners, but you are responsible for keeping up your own property and any maintenance or repairs required inside the condo.
VPS hosting tends to be quite a lot more economical than dedicating hosting and is a step up from shared hosting because not all of the resources are shared. The overall memory and CPU time are shared, but portions of those resources are dedicated to each account holder.
Virtualization offers a higher level of security and each user may run their own software. Other benefits include better site security, guaranteed performance, and complete server root access.
3. Shared Hosting
With shared web hosting, many different websites reside on one web server that is connected to the Internet. This is the most affordable option for hosting since the cost of server maintenance is shared among its many customers. Shared hosting can be compared to living in an apartment complex where all the residents live in the same location and have to share the available resources with the other tenants.
Shared hosting will most often have usage limits and usually offer basic email and web mail services, statistics support, updated PHP and MySQL, auto script installations, and basic after-sale tech support that will come included with a monthly subscription. This type of hosting usually uses a web-based control panel system.
The shared hosting provider will be responsible for installing server software, managing servers, technical support, security updates, and most other aspects of the service offered. Most are based on the Linux operating system. Shared hosting providers range from small design firms and mom-and-pop shops to huge, multimillion-providers with many hundreds of thousands of customers.
The downside to shared web hosting is that because the service administration is shared by its many users, power users who want more control will not find what they need. It is inappropriate for those who need software development outside of what the shared hosting provider can offer. It usually has usage limits.