Editor in Chief

You’re about to create a website or start a blog, you’re lurking around and thinking of what type of web hosting you need.

But first – the basics:

What is Web Hosting?

To put it simply, web hosting is where your website will be located on the Internet.

Most of your current files (documents, pictures, software etc) are sitting 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. Instead of having to send complex website files to people for them to be able to see your website, they can simply type in your website URL and view it all there! As an example, my website URL is www.websitesetup.org.

If you don’t have a domain name yet, use these 10 tips to choose a domain name.


Image from executionists.com

Why do I need web hosting?

I 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 have uploaded 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 that other people can access them. 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.

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. 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 & browse. Yes, that awesome webpage that you just created will sit on your laptop/PC, but only YOU can see it.

Thus – you’ll need 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 are four main hosting solutions – Shared, Dedicated, VPS and Cloud hosting.

Not only does it depend on what you need the hosting for – choosing a web host 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.

I’m about to explain the pros and cons for you. All you really have to do is read them, then choose one. Easy, right? Let’s do it!


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

This is the most classic and most popular hosting plan among most people in 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 television.

What it means is that you’ll share all your resources with each other, e.g 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 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 (+)

  • Simple
  • Affordable
  • No complex setup process

In short – it requires the least amount of tech knowledge and financial investment.

CONS (+)

  • There’s more than one website on the same server
  • You don’t have the full control over the server or the performance

Recommended hosts for shared hosting:

Here’s a handy list of the 10 best WordPress hosting services.

2. VPS (Virtual Private Server)

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

Now, VPS is very different. This one’s more like owning a condo. 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 are fewer 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 (+)

  • No “sharing” with others
  • More powerful than shared hosting
  • Usually better performance and faster loading times

CONS (-)

  • Higher cost
  • Sometimes comes with a more technical set up process

Recommended hosts for VPS hosting:


Prices vary from $60 to $800 (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 are 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 – you can probably find the cheapest dedicated hosting starting from $50, but this can go up to $800 as well.

PROS (+)

  • Full control over the server
  • Great performance

If you’re looking for maximum control over things, and a great performance from your server, this is where you’d like to be.

CONS (-)

  • High costs
  • Higher responsibility

Make sure that you bring your wallet. It’s the most expensive option. If things go 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 getting into 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!


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

Cloud hosting is an entirely different kind of 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 to the other types of hosting. It’s definitely something that is trending from 2015 and beyond.

PROS (+)

  • Only pay for what you use
  • Flexible

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. 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 which 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 monthly phone contract. Pay for the minutes you actually use, not a big bundle that costs a lot more.

CONS (-)

Again, there are disadvantages 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 really confusing!

The other downside, 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, definitely something to be considered when choosing your hosting.

There are Your Options

Now 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

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.

I 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: https://websitesetup.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/What-is-Web-Hosting-comparison-infographic.png

Want to ask a question or leave a comment?

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  1. Avatar

    Thank you so much, I’ve been searching for this type of easy to understand article for long now, I’m glad I found one here, I so much love your work here! Cheers!

  2. Avatar

    Hi WebsiteSetup Editorial,
    It was very useful.One question in mind, if I want to have a payment gateway on my e-commerce website then which web hosting would be preferable?

  3. Avatar

    Hi WebsiteSetup Editorial,
    Nice and easy article on different types of Web Hosting. It’s very easy and understandable for beginners in simple terms and solid examples.

  4. Avatar

    You’ve provided a nice explanation on the different types of hosting. For about half a year I’ve been using one of BGOcloud’s shared hosting plans to host my 2 wordpress-based websites and it’s great. They give radi-10 ssd storage and thanks to that my websites’ speed has increased.

  5. Avatar

    Great blog! It cleared all my confusion regarding the different web hosting categories. Moreover, detailed insights on pros and cons of each service will go a long way in helping beginners like me.

  6. Avatar

    Excellent article! You made a complicated topic easy to understand 🙂 Quick question… can you upgrade from one type of server to another? I’m just starting to create a website (blog/store feature) and I’m not sure if I should start with Shared and then upgrade to VPS in the future or if I should start with VPS from the very beginning? What would you recommend?

    • WebsiteSetup Editorial
      WebsiteSetup Editorial

      Hi ML,

      If you’re starting a blog or a small store, the best option is to go with shared hosting. I’m recommending Bluehost (there’s also a discount link on my homepage).

      And yes, you can switch from one to another – that’s fairly easy process and web hosting companies usually help you with that.

  7. Avatar

    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. 🙂

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      Hi Susan,
      I too have been with Bluehost on a shared server and recently upgraded to a VPS. I like it but it does require some knowledge of WHM and Cpanel to maintain. Bluehost does not offer support in the package I got but they do maintain the backups…can’t say they have done that well either but I think it’s finally behaving correctly now. It’s light years faster than the shared server I came from. You get security certificates for each of your sites which is a huge bonus for marketing – google loves secure sites. I haven’t had any huge problems but I have had to login via the command line and run commands that I didn’t think I was capable of doing but thanks to the internet I looked it up and the resources are there. VPS is a big jump above shared if you ask me….at least with Bluehost it is and I didn’t find it to be expensive either..even after having to “add on” more space almost immediately. Email is the biggest pain with this option in my opinion. I am hosting other people’s sites and email problems it seems on a VPS are many. Alot of servers reject mail from these servers…haven’t figured out why yet. If you are familiar with WHM and Cpanel you will be fine with this option if you aren’t you’d probably have to hire someone to manage it or at least set it up for you initially as a one time management. Hope this helps!

  8. Avatar

    Great article. Thank you! I’ve been on a reseller shared server with Bluehost for well over 10 years. I only host my own websites. I’m getting some extra traffic from my podcast on one of the sites and would like to move all of them (5) to some other type of hosting. Lots of reloads, and white screens now. Plus updating posts in WordPress takes several attempts. Last week I tried out the free CloudFlare service to see if the site would be faster. I see very little difference, so I’m concluding it must be the shared server. I’m somewhat tech savy but not when it comes to patching things and keeping a dedicated server up to date. I’m also on a budget. $40/month tops. I want to upgrade but am confused what type of hosting to choose. With that, I’d also want the entire account migrated (with all 5 domains) under one account. Bluehost offers a migrating service. Has anyone had experience with it? Does everything function as it did before? WP plugins, etc? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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    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?

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    Quick question WebsiteSetup Editorial: 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?

    • WebsiteSetup Editorial
      WebsiteSetup Editorial

      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.

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    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?

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    Hi WebsiteSetup Editorial!
    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!

    • Avatar

      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.

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    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?

  14. Avatar

    Hi WebsiteSetup Editorial,

    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?

    • WebsiteSetup Editorial
      WebsiteSetup Editorial

      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 🙂

  15. Avatar

    Hey WebsiteSetup Editorial, 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 WebsiteSetup Editorial for sharing!