Web hosting, to put it simply, is where your website will sit on the internet.

Most of your current files (documents, pictures, software etc) are sitting there on your personal computer/laptop. Only you can access them, right? If you wanted to show those files to other people, you’d have to send the files to those people.

Well, think of web hosting as sending your ‘files’ to a whole lot of people.

Your website is the ‘file’ and essentially it’s being put up on the internet for people to view. So instead of having to send complex website files to people in order for them to be able to see your website, they’re able to simply type in your website URL and view it all there! As an example, my website URL is www.WebsiteSetup.org

web-hosting

Image from executionists.com

Why do I need web hosting?

I pretty much covered this in the previous section, but here’s another explanation of it.

Web hosting allows you to put ALL your website content up on the internet; it allows everyone to view what you upload on there, whether it’s a professional website, a blog, or just some pictures.

Instead of sending files to people, it allows you to host those files online, so other people can access them. So in terms of a blog, instead of writing the documents offline and having to send them to everyone, people can simply read them online – easy.

Oh, there’s also the fact that if you had to send the documents to everyone, you wouldn’t find many people reading it! Because the internet is so open and can be accessed by anyone, it allows people all over the world to read your blog. Having web hosting means all those potential readers will be able to view your blog, even when you’re asleep.

It makes sharing content (your website) VERY easy.

Down-side of Web Hosting: It’s NOT Free…

As always, there’s also a down-side of using web hosting: It will cost you some money.

Prices can vary a lot from $2 per month to $500 per month, but I’ll explain everything in the next paragraphs. In short, without web hosting you won’t be able to set up your website for others to read & browser. Yes, that awesome webpage that you just created will sit on your laptop/PC, but only YOU can see it. Thus, you’ll need a hosting.

What are the different types of Web Hosting? Which one should I choose?

That’s a tricky question. It all comes down to one simple question: What are you going to be using it for?

Are you setting up a business website? Running a blog? Showing a bunch of photos (thinking of making the next Instagram)?

First off, there four main hosting solutions – Shared, Dedicated, VPS and Cloud hosting.

Not only does it depend on what you need the hosting for, a lot of it depends on your budget as well. As you can imagine, shared hosting is quite a bit cheaper than dedicated hosting, so it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and figure out which one might be best for you.

Well, I’m about to explain the pros and cons for you, so all you really have to do is read them, and then choose one. Easy, right? Let’s do it. I even put together an infographic that perhaps gives you a better overview:
What is Web Hosting - comparison infographic

Want to embed this infographic on your own blog/website? Use this image URL: http://websitesetup.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/What-is-Web-Hosting-comparison-infographic.png

SHARED HOSTING

Prices vary from $2 to $25 (per month).

This is the most classic and most popular hosting plan along most people on the world. The main reason why people pick this plan is that they actually don’t need more than that. It’s also usually the cheapest hosting option.

It’s very similar to living with your friends in one apartment. Like sharing your kitchen facilities for making food, using one internet provider and watching one televisor.

What it means is that you’ll share all your resources with each other, such as data, CPU time, memory and disk space. If you are lucky (99% you are), you should be fine with that. However, there are some rare cases when someone is using a lot of resources and thus your site speed will go down a bit. If that’s happens, it’s usually wise to get in touch with your web hosting support and tell them your problem. If you are lucky, you’ll be moved to another “room”.

PROS:

Shared hosting is easy, to put it simply. It’s very affordable and easy to start. There’s no complications or really complex setting up. It’s considered the entry level option for people looking for hosting, since it requires the least amount of tech knowledge and financial investment.

CONS:

The issues with shared hosting however, are based around the plain fact that you don’t have control. You don’t control the server or its performance (could be seen as a plus for those of us who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about anyway), so for those of you who know server stuff, this might be a severe restriction.

Recommended hosts for shared hosting:

Here’s a handy list of best web hosting companies.

VIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVER (VPS) HOSTING

Prices vary from $10 to $70 (per month).

Now, VPS is very different. This one’s more like owning a condo. So you’re still sharing and playing nice with the others in your place, but you’re responsible for what happens and keeping everything patched up.

There’s a lot less sharing because there’s less people, and you have separate allowances each. The CPU time and memory are still shared by everyone, but you also have a chunk of both of those allotted just to you.

PROS:

Virtual Private Server hosting is more powerful than shared hosting, since everyone gets a nice private virtual server each. So technically, you get a nice chunk of server space etc for yourself. That’s a nice step up from the shared hosting option.

So even though technically you’re on the same physical machine as others, you have your own little space – so no sharing with others. This usually means a better performance and faster loading speeds.

CONS:

But, you’re paying for that private space. You’ll find it quite a bit more expensive than shared hosting. But if you’re looking for your own little space on the internet, VPS hosting is a good consideration.

Recommended hosts for VPS hosting:

DEDICATED HOSTING

Prices vary from $60 to $1700 (per month).

Now we’re talking. So you want to own your own house? No problem. That’s what dedicated hosting is all about. All the resources belong to you now. You don’t share resources like CPU time and memory with anyone else, and there’s no one else’s accounts on your hosting (unless you let them, of course, but that’s another post for another time).

About the cost, well you can probably find the cheapest dedicated hosting starting from $50, but this can go up to $500 as well.

PROS:

This is the most popular, and the one most entrepreneurs and people who are serious about websites use. It gives you full control. You control everything that goes on. So if you’re looking for maximum control over things, and great performance from your server, this is where you’d like to be.

CONS:

However, make sure you bring your wallet. It’s the most expensive option. And if things goes wrong, it’s on you. Call up that IT buddy of yours, because you just might need him at some point if things go south. Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for with dedicated hosting.

While the freedom is great, it comes with the issues of freedom; namely, your stuff is your responsibility, and no one else’s.

CLOUD HOSTING

Prices vary from $1.60 to $170 (per month).

Cloud hosting is an entirely different animal. I guess you could say it’s a little like renting. With normal hosting, you get a machine that gives you resources, like memory and CPU time. With Cloud hosting, you don’t have a machine. Your hardware is virtual, which brings a whole host of cool benefits. It’s pretty advanced and can be pretty cost efficient when compared with the other types of hosting, but it’s definitely something that is trending on 2015 and beyond.

PROS:

Of all the hosting options we’ve talked about, cloud hosting is by far the most scalable and efficient. With cloud hosting, you only pay for what you use. So for example, let’s say your blog had a fantastic month where you got double, no, triple the traffic than it usually does.

The server starts screaming because it can’t handle that much loading. With cloud computing, the server doesn’t just pack up and run. You can simply ask for more server space and bandwidth. It’s flexible, and that makes it very cost effective. Rather than paying X amount each month for an amount you may never even reach, depending on your goals, simply pay for cloud hosting and only pay for what you use.

It’s similar to pay as you go compared to a monthly phone contract. Pay for the minutes you actually use, not a big bundle that costs a lot more.

CONS:

Again, there are negatives to this option as well. It takes advanced knowledge in terms of IT, so be aware of that when considering cloud hosting. Unless you know what you’re doing, it could get pretty confusing.

The other negative, which is widely discussed, is that cloud hosting is potentially insecure. Hotly debated, there is the consideration that your servers are all hosted in the ‘cloud’, meaning in virtual space. That could leave it open to cyber-attacks, some suggest. It’s an arguable point, one to be considered when choosing hosting.

There are your options. Which will You choose?

So there you have it; the pros and cons of each type of hosting. I know, it’s a bit to take in. I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to decide, pointing out the obvious pros and cons of each.

It’s up to you to decide what your needs are. If you’re planning to build a huge blogging platform where thousands of people are going to visit each month, you might want to consider dedicated hosting or cloud hosting, due to the demand you’re going to have. For more information about different hosting companies, feel free to check out web hosting reviews on HostingFacts.com

However, if you’re just starting up something smaller, why pay an arm and a leg for what you don’t actually need? Grab some shared hosting or even VPS hosting, and save yourself some cash.

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18 comments

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  1. Hey Robert, thanks for sharing the differences of VPS hosting vs the shared one. Yes I have experience with VPS hosting – I switched from the general shared hosting of my provider. So results were encouraging – within 40 days, my site ranked higher for a couple of my main keywords. Also I noticed a significant decrease in my bounce rates and an increase in my page views – so yeah I also confirm that if you want to take your site to the next level – SEO wise, switch to at least VPS hosting.

    Anyways, thanks again Robert for sharing!

    Cheers

  2. Hi Robert,

    Can you please help me? Assuming I have bought a reseller cloud hosting package, but only for hosting my websites, sites that are basically focused on the same niche (so they’d be pretty simillar), how would Google see this… arrangement?

    Each site would have its own dedicated IP (and from as many different classes as possible). I’m thinking 15 websites, so 15 different IP’s, all hosted in a “cloud hosting package”, without any links between them. Will Google slap my hand or will the whole thing go unobserved because it’s in the cloud?

    • Hi Gene,

      I think you’re overthinking here. It shouldn’t be a problem for you. If you’ve 15 sites you can host them on Shared, Dedicated, VPS or even cloud hosting – doesn’t really matter 🙂

  3. Hey! I am a bit confused to choose hosting for my forum site (http://developersnation.org), and also for blog.
    I am thinking to go for cloud, is it a good choice and also does cloud hosting include any script installer(Softaculous or QuickInstall) to install WordPress and Drupal?

  4. Hi Robert!
    So a client of mine is interested in getting me to learn WordPress and becoming his WordPress guru; mainting his site, etc. This whole website development is new to me. So, as I am learning about WordPress, which hosting server should I go with? I was looking at Hostgator.com and their options are 1) Web Hosting 2) WordPress Hosting and 3) Cloud Hosting?

    Which one should I use. I didn’t see you talk about WordPress hosting? Does this fall under one of the umbrellas of the 4 servers you mentioned? Or is this something totally different? And should I only use WordPress Hosting if will only be working with WordPress? Thank you so much for your feedback and help! Much appreciated. And your information is awesome!!! It was explained thoroughly well. Thank you!

    • I hope you got your answer already but seeing that I was in the neighbourhood I figured I’d give my 2 cents. You were right in that WordPress hosting falls under one of the 4 main types. WP Hosting is basically a type of shared hosting except it’s optimized for WP sites.

      You don’t have to use WordPress hosting if you will only be working with WordPress. A regular shared hosting package is fine for most people.

  5. I am an education professional. I plan to start a blog on educational issues,parenting and other articles. I had hosted my earlier website with the Mumbai based company but payment etc was a problem, and we did not get the admin rights, so to update a small thing we had to contact them. I need your recommendation for a host that will be affordable, payable in INR in India, preferably, Guwahati or can send by draft, and simple enough for me to use and update. Also how will I ensure traffic to my blog?

  6. Quick question Robert: I ran a few price calculators on some cloud hosts and it seems their costs are pretty low even for very small setups. I wonder then why does everyone not move to cloud hosting (its scalable, less hassle and you pay for what you use). For small businesses, it seems dedicated hosting would be less cost effective than a cloud hosted setup. For small web sites, even the shared hosting cost seems to be closer to cloud hosting costs since its pay per use. Am I missing something?

    • Cloud hosting lefts you alone – meaning you’d need to do all the server installing for cPanel and other integrated apps (emails etc..)
      It’s perfect to just store your files, but not good for websites.

  7. That’s a pretty decent explanation. Thanks for the article.

    Could you please suggest me, what is better for a person like me who cannot play with Linux commands? Shared hosting with more resources turns out to be pretty costly while cloud hosting for Dreamhost and Digital Ocean can be pretty cheap for handling the same amount of traffic.

    And you have guys like cloudways and some others who can configure the server for you. But is server configuration everything? What would happen if I accidentally delete some core files of my WordPress? Would it be as easy to repair it as it is with Cpanel Hosting?

  8. Presently, I’m on a GoDaddy’s shared server.
    I have a plan to move my blog from shared hosting to an upgraded option.
    I was so confused about what makes VPS, Dedicated & Cloud Hosting different from each other.
    My budget doesn’t allow me to go for a dedicated server. I hope, “Cloud Hosting” is going to be the next home of my blog. 🙂