Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 01:55 pm.
Did you know that there are 10 different types of website hosting? Some of them are less common and popular than others, but each one has its own pros and cons. If you’re trying to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business, you only really need to look at four different kinds: shared, dedicated, VPS, and Cloud.
Choosing wrong can set you up for complications and difficulty in the future. But choosing the right one can help you to build a strong foundation to grow your business. Here’s what you should know about each of the most popular web hosting types and how to choose based on what you need.
Shared hosting is one of the most popular types for small businesses, single-user websites, and those that are light on resources. When you choose shared hosting, your website gets hosted on a server that’s also hosting a bunch of other websites.
This means that the resources on the server have to be shared between multiple websites. And that can lead to much slower website loading times, poor security, and limitations on what sort of things you can install and use.
The other potential issue is that if your website receives an influx of traffic and suddenly starts consuming more resources than usual, the host may throttle it. This will slow it right back down and kick off those interested visitors, which could lead to annoyed readers!
The bonus of shared hosting is that it’s cheap. If you’re on a tight budget as you’re starting up, it could be the best way to start.
Best for: New businesses, those on a budget, websites that are light on resources, and those not expecting huge amounts of traffic.
Dedicated hosting has long been the gold standard for serious businesses. Unlike shared hosting, where your website lives on a server and shares space and resources with many others, dedicated hosting places your website on its own server.
Having your own dedicated server means that you aren’t sharing resources with any other sites. All the power on that server goes towards running your own site, so you can expect your website to have faster loading times, increased uptime, and reassuringly better security than shared hosting.
You also have free rein to customize the server to your liking, as it only affects your site. So you can easily download any tools or apps you need, install additional security features, or control how the user interacts with the server.
It’s a fair bit more interactive and a little more complicated than shared hosting, but it’s a vastly better option for websites that are heavy on resources or are expecting high traffic levels.
Best for: Resource-heavy websites, those with high levels of traffic, those who want full control over their servers, and security-conscious business owners.
VPS hosting is a bit of a hybrid between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Technically, your website is hosted on a “shared server”, but it’s a little different than usual. Within the physical server, there are multiple virtual servers. Each one has its own dedicated resources, so even though you’re sharing a physical server with others, you aren’t sharing resources.
You still have a certain amount of control over the customization of your virtual server, and it’s noticeably more reliable than shared servers. VPS hosting also supports websites that are heavier on resources and get high traffic levels. Plus, they tend to have better support than shared hosting.
And as a bonus, VPS hosting is quite a bit more affordable than dedicated hosting. Add to that the ability to scale your hosting with your business as it grows, and you’ve got a great choice in VPS hosting.
Best for: Websites with medium-level traffic, those who don’t have the budget for dedicated hosting but still want some control over their own server.
Cloud hosting is the newest web hosting option, and it’s quickly become popular. For good reasons, too—it offers some benefits traditional hosting doesn’t.
It works a little differently than regular hosting. Instead of hosting your website on a single server, vendors store your website data on multiple servers across the world. This means that wherever your traffic comes from, your website should have speedy loading times, far less downtime, and multiple layers of security to keep your data safe.
It’s also an excellent choice for businesses that are starting small but expect to grow significantly in the future. Cloud hosting is surprisingly scalable, with the ability to upgrade your CPU and RAM as and when you need to.
Another great quality of cloud hosting is that it offers automatic backup and disaster recovery. If a server goes down, your data is safely backed up and can easily be recovered, so there’s no need to worry about your information being lost.
Cloud servers are also somewhat more environmentally-friendly than choosing any other type of hosting. With no need to expend resources on in-house servers, cloud servers actually save energy.
It’s important to note that cloud hosting is not cheap. But if you’re looking for the most reliable, fastest, and most scalable form of web hosting, this will be worth every penny.
Best for: Sites that want excellent uptime, businesses that want to scale in the future, and those that have the budget for it.
It’s not difficult to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business when you know your options and how they stack up against each other. Ultimately, it comes down to your specific business needs, your budget, and how much you want to scale in the future.
In a nutshell, if you want the most reliable and scalable option, go for cloud hosting. The one we recommend the least is shared hosting because there’s always a level of uncertainty and imbalance when sharing server resources with others.
You might be tempted by WordPress-specific hosting if you have a WP site, so check carefully to make sure you’re choosing the right kind of hosting for your needs.
That being said, you can always change your hosting type later, as most hosting companies offer a range of options. However, this could be an unnecessary step if you choose a higher-level host type from the start.
About the Author
Paul Wheeler is a web design specialist who runs an agency dedicated to helping small business owners optimize their most important asset—their website. He shares information, comparisons, and detailed reviews over at Reviews for Website Hosting.