Getting your website up and running smoothly begins with one of the first decisions you’ll make as a webmaster: choosing your hosting setup. There are several hosting options to choose from, and which works best depends on your specific needs and goals. However, understanding how to pick the best hosting solution can be difficult. Different features and capabilities make each option unique, and with the right hosting company, you’ll have all your basics covered. Here are pros and cons to the four primary hosting options: shared hosting, cloud hosting, virtual private server, and dedicated server.
Shared Hosting is a type of web hosting where the service provider uses a single Web server to host multiple pages, each with their own domain name. This is the most popular hosting option for webmasters because of the pros of shared hosting. This hosting option is the cheapest available choice, which is the biggest pro for most people who choose it. It’s perfect for blogs, beginners, small businesses, and even early shoestring budget ecommerce sites. Additionally, those who opt for this method don’t have to understand technical work, as most of the background technology is handled for you. It allows webmasters the ability to own a cost-effective website that’s easily maintainable, month after month.
However, the pros of this option are cons for other webmasters who have or expect high volumes of traffic. Webmasters who have or are expecting high traffic shouldn’t use this type of hosting. If an influx of traffic hits the site, it will most likely crash, as this hosting option has limited resources that need to be shared with others. Shared hosting also makes it difficult to add new programs into the system because you’re unable to modify the system. For those who seek complete control over the backend, it would be better to go another route.
Cloud hosting has gained traction over the years as a reliable hosting option. Just like shared hosting, cloud hosting divides resources among several websites, and those resources are divvied as needed. These resources are virtual servers in the cloud. This works well because it helps manage peak loads and prevents bandwidth issues from occurring. If one server fails, another server takes over. Additionally, cloud-based hosting plans are flexible and can work for a variety of budgets. Because resources expand and decrease as needed, you won’t pay as much during slower months. This is particularly beneficial for seasonal businesses and blogs.
Despite the many pros of cloud hosting, choosing the right host is crucial to ensure a great hosting experience. Uptime and stability are critical factors when choosing your hosting company. If the server crashes in the cloud, it could be down for quite a while, and cloud hosting is particularly at the mercy of the host, much more than traditional hosting. Another downside for some is cost -- because you’ll be using space on an as needed basis, expect your bill to be higher during peak times. This is a con for people who would rather work with a flat fee and know what to expect month by month or year by year.
Virtual Private Server
A virtual private server (VPS) is essentially a hybrid of shared and dedicated hosting, and webmasters who opt for this reap the benefits of both. Unlike shared hosting options, you don’t share your resources with others, making this type of hosting is also a lot less risky than other options (especially for businesses). This also allows for more flexibility and power.Those who want total control will also have the ability manage complete root access and add custom software packages.
The primary disadvantage of using a virtual private server is that it’s slightly more expensive than other hosting options, though not by much. Pricing could be a nuisance because, unless you require dedicated resources, this could be an arbitrary cost. As with other hosting choices, picking the right hosting provider is imperative. Even with a VPS, with the wrong company, you could run the risk of working with a company that oversells their resources.
When you have a dedicated server, all risks are virtually eliminated. With unlimited disk space and bandwidth, your capabilities are endless. Webmasters are given full control over the media and information shared on the site. This is a great option for site owners who process many financial transactions and/or have a high volume of traffic.
It also enables users with the best possible experience, as all pages are able to be accessed much more quickly. And when it comes to the user experience, not only can site speed positively affect your SEO, but also improves your retention and conversion rate. There’s also a much higher level of security because your site is the only one on the server. With more protection against malware and adware than any other server, you can rest easy.
Dedicated servers are the most expensive hosting option, making it a drawback for those who don’t have smaller budgets. Additionally, complete control comes with its cons: dedicated servers are more difficult to set up, maintain, and make repairs. Webmasters who use dedicated servers are often much more technically-minded and have great networking skills. To truly master dedicated servers, you’ll either needed that elevated level of expertise, or have a staff to support its needs.