by Jay Ehret
You thought website hosting was all the same? If only it were so easy. Price is not the only consideration when choosing a website host. You should know what you get and what type of hosting you need before you choose. Let’s run down the most popular hosting options.
Someone rents a dedicated server from a hosting company and then resells the space to third parties. Those third parties (you) then share the space with other companies.
Advantages: Find the right one and it can be cheap. But be careful, because you often overpay for reseller hosting.
Important Consideration: Reseller hosting is commonly found with independent web developers who offer a combination website package; the developer will build and host your site for one package price. Typically, but not always, you are overpaying for hosting with this type of deal. Developers use reseller hosting as profit center to maintain a constant stream of income from a client after they’ve built the site. With this type of arrangement companies often overpay for hosting, getting more than they need.
You share your server with other accounts at the hosting company. Your files reside on the same server with other websites.
This is probably the most popular form of hosting because it is inexpensive, allows a company to host multiple websites with one account, and the technical performance is good enough for most small business websites.
Why you would need this: You have a standard, information website for your business that gets average traffic. You have multiple websites that don’t get heavy traffic.
Advantages: Inexpensive, can host unlimited number of websites, adequate performance.
Important consideration: If you have more than one website, don’t buy multiple hosting packages, get one, shared hosting package. Most will allow you to host unlimited domains under one account. Do you want to create a bunch of microsites and landing pages? Shared hosting is for you.
However, shared hosting is not recommended for websites with heavy traffic. If you have just a typical, informational website, shared hosting is fine. But for a popular blog website, you will need something a little more robust.
VPS – Virtual Private Server Hosting
This combines elements of both shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Your websites share the same physical server with other websites, but you have your own virtual server that administers only your website.
Advantages: Your website is isolated from other users and actions on the server, and increased performance over shared hosting.
Why you would need this: You have a popular blog or you have a product-focused website with multiple product pages that get heavy traffic. You occasionally post something that gets shared on social networks and goes viral.
Important Consideration: VPS hosting can start to get a little complicated because hosting companies will offer several different levels of service. These levels are determined by; processor speed, RAM, storage space, and bandwidth. How do you know which level to choose? Unfortunately, most hosting companies don’t help you out with that.
**Update: My friend Glenn Gabe informs me that with VPS, your site CAN be impacted by others on the server. He recommends going private cloud, but admits that you may have to pay quite a bit more.
Private Cloud Hosting
Not an easy concept to explain. Cloud hosting is a system whereby several resources and servers are shared across multiple remote computing sites. Your files could actually be in multiple locations. Private cloud hosting dedicates resources to your site much the same way VPS hosting does, except it is done in the cloud.
Why you would need this: Offers increased performance over VPS. Your site becomes wildly popular and you quickly need to add hosting resources.
Advantages: Scalability: you can easily add resources and increased performance as you need them, often within minutes.
You rent an entire server for your sites only. Nobody else shares your server and it is yours.
Advantages: Powerful, fast hosting on your own machine, with on-sight technical support. You don’t have to buy a server or hire an IT department to manage your own server.
Why you would need this: You have a lot of site traffic. You want to keep your stuff separate from everyone else.
Important consideration: If you don’t have a webmaster who knows how to administer the hardware and operating system, you may want to consider managed dedicated hosting. It’s less administration freedom for you, but also can save you time by turning over administration duties to the hosting company.