It seems like as each week passes there are more and more web hosting plans coming into the marketplace. Whether they’re takes on classic plans such as shared hosting or app specific, optimised solutions, the choice is huge. This can be a good thing if you know what you’re looking for specifically but if you’re not a web hosting expert you probably don’t know your reseller account from your cloud VPS. That’s understandable and is the sole reason why we’re putting together this article.
Below you will find a run down of the common hosting types that are offered by pretty much all of the well known hosting firms. Sure some firms have lots more packages than this but these are the fundamentals that you’re going to need to know about if you’re planning to buy web hosting.
This is the most popular hosting package in the world today. It’s the first hosting plan you’ll come across and is the one offered by every web hosting company out there. It can be used to host a single site or multiple sites. The word shared comes about as you share the resources of the physical web server with other clients of the hosting company you’re buying the plan from. It doesn’t mean that you’ll share your account with other people. Shared hosting is ideal if you’ve got one or two low traffic websites but if you’ve got something that gets a bit more traffic then you’ll probably need a higher end solution.
This is typically for those clients who simply want their own e-mail address e.g. email@example.com. Sometimes they bolt on a website but for the most part it’s solely to provide the employees of a given company with a more professional and corporate e-mail address. There are lots of companies who offer email hosting both in the UK and the US and given the resources they use are not very server intensive they often come quite cheap in comparison to other hosting packages.
Reseller hosting as the name would suggest is typically taken out so people can resell web hosting services. Imagine you’re a web developer and want to sell all of your clients web hosting. A reseller plan would be ideal for this as you can add/create often an unlimited amount of accounts under your plan to then resell on to your clients. Individuals often use reseller plans simply if they’ve got more than one website to host and want to control everything centrally rather than using lots of individual accounts.
A virtual private server is software based server that allows you to control all aspects of the system as if it’s a physical dedicated machine that you own solely. A web server may host several virtual servers an each one is configured to allow its operator to control the resources in a confined environment. Lots of VPS solutions are now cloud based as this gives virtually limitless resources so its users can scale up things like memory, cpu usage, bandwidth and disk space as they see fit.
A dedicated server is a physical machine that you own or lease that you can effectively do what you want with. The only sites hosted on it will be yours and the physical attributes and specification of the machine will be solely used to power your sites. Obviously having so many resources at your disposal comes at a price so this solution would only really be used if you’ve got a super high traffic website or you’re hosting an application that demands a lot of resources.
There are obviously more options than this including all of the app specific solutions which I mention above. But for hosting a plain old regular website, you’ll no doubt be selecting one of the options from the above.
It is important that you match a hosting solution to your needs. You don’t want to be paying for a cloud VPS for example if you’ve got a small blog with < 10 visitors a day. Be sure to research your requirements as it will enable you to get a plan which suits your needs so you don’t end up paying more than you need to.