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Different Types of Web Hosting – Ultimate Guide

If you have a website, you need hosting. But with so many different types of web hosting on the market, which one should you choose?
different types of web hosting
Which type of web hosting is right for your next website?

The first step to starting your website is to find the right web hosting service. Many rookies dive straight in by trying to find out more about web hosting services, such as Bluehost, Hostinger, or GoDaddy. However, that should not be your first step. Instead, you should first think about which types of web hosting might be right for your website.

In this article, we’ll go through the most popular (and a few uncommon) types of web hosting. Hopefully this will give you a head start in your website development journey!

Contents

  1. What is web hosting?
  2. 7 types of web hosting
  3. Shared web hosting
  4. Dedicated web hosting
  5. VPS hosting
  6. Cloud web hosting
  7. Managed WordPress hosting
  8. Colocation web hosting
  9. Reseller web hosting
  10. What type of web hosting is right for me?

What Is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is the service that takes care of all the data and files of your website. Most people don’t have the expertise to manage this themselves, so they pay web hosting services for this virtual space. Imagine this like renting an apartment from a landlord, because you don’t have the money or resources to build your own house.

Your chosen web hosting service will assign you a unique domain (your website URL). When someone types your domain name into a web browser, your website will then pop up. All you need to do is build the website, and the hosting company runs everything in the background.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to web hosting. There is a lot to consider, and lots of different types of web hosting to choose from. For now, you can treat the different types of web hosting as different ways to rent an apartment. Maybe you share the cost with a roommate, or perhaps you get the full apartment to yourself. Just like there are different ways to pay for your apartment, there are different ways to host your website.

Below, we’ll go through the 7 different types of web hosting in more detail. Hopefully by the end of it you’ll be able to choose the right web hosting for your website!

7 Types of Web Hosting

The 7 main types of web hosting are:

  1. Shared web hosting
  2. Dedicated web hosting
  3. Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting
  4. Cloud web hosting
  5. Managed WordPress hosting
  6. Colocation web hosting
  7. Reseller web hosting

So, without further ado, let’s go through each of these types of web hosting in more detail!

1. Shared Web Hosting

Shared web hosting involves one server hosting multiple websites. Your website sits on a server that’s shared with other websites. This is like being a tenant in a mansion, with countless other people living in the shared space.

Shared web hosting is arguably the most popular type of web hosting on the internet, at least for beginners. It’s widely advertised by the big web hosting services such as Bluehost and Hostinger, and there are plenty of reasons for beginners to choose this type of web hosting.

Pros of Shared Web Hosting

Cheapest on the Market

Shared web hosting plans are usually some of the cheapest on the market, with monthly plans as low as $1.39/month (£0.99/month) from Hostinger. That amounts to just $16.68/year (£11.88/year). You should note that these are prices for the first year. Prices tend to hover around $10-15/month after your first year. Even then, this is still fairly cheap when compared to other types of web hosting. You can find out more about Hostinger’s pricing for its shared hosting plans in this article.

This is ideal for individuals and small businesses with a low budget, as setting up a website with shared web hosting is fairly affordable. This allows you to spend more on other aspects of your business, such as marketing.

Easy Setup

Shared web hosting makes setting up your website easy and it requires no technical expertise. Unlike other types of web hosting, shared hosting passes the responsibility of administration and maintenance to the web host.

Luckily for you, you won’t need to configure any IT settings or try to fix any issues you might not understand. Everything in shared web hosting is set up for you, so you can jump straight into developing your website.

Cons of Shared Web Hosting

Poor Website Performance

Unfortunately, shared web hosting can lead to slow loading speeds for your website. After all, your website sits on a server shared by countless other websites. Sometimes, there is just an overload of information, so it just takes a long time for the server to process your website’s data.

Security Risks

There is also the issue of safety when using shared web hosting. Someone with the technical know-how can steal data from websites on the same shared server by setting up their own fake, malicious website on the server.

Of course, most big web hosts have measures in place to reduce these risks. But if you’re storing some very sensitive information on your website, it’s best to stay away from shared web hosting.

Final Verdict

Shared web hosting is a very popular choice for smaller websites. For beginners, its benefits clearly outweigh the potential risks. This type of web hosting suits those who are true rookies in the world of website creation, or those that just want to get the cheapest deal out there.

Even if you’re willing to spend more, this doesn’t mean shared web hosting isn’t for you. It’s still capable of handling up to 100,000 viewers per month depending on your host, which is usually more than enough for small businesses. If you’re seeing much more traffic than this (or at least expect to very soon), you might need more powerful hosting.

 

2. Dedicated Web Hosting

With dedicated web hosting, your website is stored on a server by itself, and so it’s dedicated to your website only. This means you benefit from all the resources of the server you have leased and can customise or optimise it in any way you like.

This type of hosting is more “premium” than most other web hosting options, so it is a little more expensive. For example, Bluehost’s cheapest dedicated web hosting plan costs $79.99/month (around £56.19/month)!

Pros of Dedicated Web Hosting

All the Resources

When you choose dedicated web hosting, the web host sets aside a server for you. This means you can make full use of that server’s resources. One of the many worries of users of shared web hosting is the concern over space.

With dedicated web hosting, you don’t have to worry about space. Just for comparison, a typical cheap shared web hosting plan offers around 30 GB of SSD Storage, and 100 GB of bandwidth. Bluehost’s cheapest dedicated web hosting plan offers 2 x 500 GB RAID storage with 5 TB of network bandwidth!

Full Admin Control

With a full server dedicated to your website, the administrative control is yours to make use of as well. This means you can configure and customise the server to your liking. Many people install programs onto the server to optimise its performance, or just to monitor the server’s health and traffic to make sure their website runs smoothly at all times.

Best for High Traffic Sites

We mentioned in the shared hosting section that you might experience slow website speed as a result of sharing the server’s resources. Well, with one full server to yourself, there are no neighbours to slow you down!

If you have an existing website with a high volume of visitors and are looking to expand it further, dedicated web hosting is a good choice.

Cons of Dedicated Web Hosting

Quite Expensive

As an individual or small business owner, paying more than $10/month for hosting might just be too much. Dedicated web hosting can cost several times that. So, it’s pretty clear why this exclusive option is not ideal for beginners. It’s also just not really necessary if you’re not seeing much traffic yet.

Needs Expertise to Maintain

While you do get more control over the administration side of things with dedicated web hosting, this isn’t always a good thing. Admin work requires professional technical expertise, and usually web hosts won’t be there to guide you through the process.

So, if you don’t have the know-how when it comes to web hosting, or can’t hire someone who does, it might just be too complex for your needs.

Final Verdict

In a nutshell, dedicated web hosting comes with its exclusive, private and premium feel, but also has the downside of being expensive. If you’re a sizeable business looking to expand and display a more premium front to your clients or customers, dedicated web hosting is one of your best options. But if you want some of the benefits of dedicated web hosting without the inflated price, VPS hosting might be for you instead.

 

3. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

Virtual Private Server (VPS) web hosting is like a simulation of dedicated web hosting. This type of web hosting provides all the resources of dedicated web hosting, while you still share the physical server with other users.

This can be a little confusing to grasp, so take a minute to digest this. VPS uses virtualisation technology, where the hosting service implements a virtual layer on top of the operating system, allowing each user to have dedicated resources while only running one physical server.

VPS is essentially like partitioning the server, giving each user an allocated space, completely boxed off from the others. This layer allows you to install the software of your choice in your own space, like with private dedicated server.

So, VPS mixes the concept of sharing a server with the concept of having individual, dedicated resources. In other words, VPS gives you the best of both worlds! But it’s not without its pros and cons.

Pros of VPS Web Hosting

Cost-Effective

Hostinger provides a VPS web hosting plan for just $3.95/month for your first year. That’s fairly affordable for individuals and small businesses. Some shared web hosting plans are more expensive than that! However, you’ll find the cost for future years to sit around $10-20 per month, depending on the provider and the kind of resources they offer.

Scalable

If you’re an ambitious website creator, you might expect significant growth within a year. VPS web hosting is as flexible as that, with most services allowing you to upgrade your plan should your business require it.

This can include more storage, extra bandwidth, or more CPU power. As such, VPS web hosting can complement the scalability of your business very well. This makes it ideal for those that expect growth quite soon.

Cons of VPS Web Hosting

Technical Knowledge Required

Just like dedicated web hosting, VPS web hosting lets the user run their own server. This comes with some responsibilities like managing your own server, to keep your website up and running.

A key constraint here is the budget difference. Dedicated web hosting is expensive, and so naturally only businesses with deeper pockets tend to invest in it. On the other hand, VPS web hosting is pretty affordable, so individuals can opt for it too, not just big businesses.

But if you don’t have the skills to manage your server and are not willing to pay big bucks to hire an IT expert, you might want to consider a different type of web hosting. Always do your research before you choose a plan that looks great on the surface, but requires a lot more work than you expect.

Final Verdict

To conclude, Virtual Private Server web hosting combines the best bits of shared and dedicated web hosting. This makes it one of the top choices for web hosting for beginner and intermediate website creators.

It’s best for small businesses that need the resources of a dedicated server, but still have a budget to stick to. Just make sure you understand the technical expertise required to get the most out of these plans!

 

4. Cloud Web Hosting

Cloud web hosting runs on several clustered servers. So, your website is hosted in the cloud. For all the previous types of web hosting, you’re only ever entitled to one server. Cloud web hosting adds in a cluster of other servers, breaking your website down into a few segments, with each segment running off a different server.

As such, cloud web hosting providers can switch your website between servers, to optimise and run your website efficiently. This is especially true for larger websites, with too much data or risk to run on just one server.

Pros of Cloud Web Hosting

99.9% Uptime

As mentioned earlier, cloud web hosting relies on a cluster of servers to run your website. This also means that the servers automatically compensate for each other if one of the servers has a problem.

Imagine your website runs on a cluster of 5 servers (i.e. each one is responsible for 20% of your website, very loosely speaking). If one server fails, you’ll still have the other 4 servers to run your website, now responsible for 25% of your website each. As such, your website still stays up and running. This is clearly a much less risky option than just relying on one server.

Strong Website Performance

With more servers working together to provide your website with the resources it needs, performance levels will be higher. One thing that cloud web hosting does to improve performance is “resource pooling”. This directs the server’s resources to the websites that need it most.

This high-level prioritisation makes websites on the cloud run smoothly, and resources are “on-demand”, so you can expect better performance over shared web hosting.

Cons of Cloud Web Hosting

On the Costly Side

Although cloud web hosting is not as expensive as dedicated web hosting, it’s still one of the more expensive types of web hosting. Prices vary by host, but Hostinger for example offers a package that, after your first year, costs around $20.

Note that this includes capacity for up to 300 websites. So, there are often plenty of other factors to consider when choosing a web hosting plan. It’s not all about uptime and bandwidth!

Potential Security Risk

Unless you use a certified reliable web hosting provider, cloud web hosting is more prone to hacks and security breaches than some other hosting types. Ultimately, this option still shares resources among different websites, so hackers can still infiltrate your website. However, as long as you stick with a reputable web host, security shouldn’t be an issue.

Final Verdict

To sum up, cloud web hosting pools resources from various servers to optimise your website’s performance. It’s important to note that cloud web hosting still operates on the concept of resource sharing. So, if you’re working with a lot of sensitive data or see a lot of traffic, consider a dedicated web hosting plan instead.

 

5. Managed WordPress Hosting

With managed WordPress web hosting the web host fully manages the running of WordPress. This means that setting up your WordPress website with this type of web hosting is very easy. The web host does all the important things for you!

So, you’re not just paying for the web hosting, but you’re also paying for the automation factor. This makes this type of web hosting very popular with beginners. It’s also usually one of the cheapest options that a web host offers. Hostinger’s cheapest WordPress hosting plan costs less than $10 per month (roughly £6).

Pros of Managed WordPress Web Hosting

WordPress Automation

As mentioned above, managed WordPress web hosting helps you by running WordPress for you. This includes updating your website, creating backups, configuring your server, and much more.

Best WordPress Support

Web hosts that provide managed WordPress web hosting services have experts on hand that know everything there is to know about the platform. So, beginners that are having trouble with WordPress can always contact their web host’s customer service for top-notch WordPress support.

With WordPress experts at your disposal, managed WordPress web hosting is arguably worth it just for the excellent support!

Cons of Managed WordPress Web Hosting

Doesn’t Work Outside WordPress

As its name implies, managed WordPress web hosting exists purely for WordPress websites. If you don’t have or want a WordPress website, you won’t be able to use this type of web hosting.

Less Control Overall

Since managed WordPress web hosting guides beginners through the whole set-up process, you can’t configure your server in the same ways as for other hosting types. So, if you want to have more control over the backend, you might want to choose a different type of web hosting.

Managed WordPress web hosting also blocks some WordPress plugins that they deem detrimental to your website. So, if you’re someone who needs a lot of customisation in your website, this type of web hosting probably isn’t for you.

Final Verdict

In short, managed WordPress web hosting helps you run your WordPress site with ease. This is great for beginners who want to have an experienced hand guiding them along their website building journey.

However, if you’re a bit more experienced and want to build a more premium, highly customised website, managed WordPress web hosting probably isn’t for you. If you’re unsure what kind of WordPress plan to use for your next website, check out this article here.

 

6. Colocation Web Hosting

Colocation web hosting is a service that provides a rental environment for your servers and necessary hardware. This type of web hosting is unlike all the others, because this is for companies that own the hardware and software to run the website. In other words, this isn’t for individuals that have never built a website before!

You can think of this as a rental space for your hardware, where you can store all the necessary server equipment at a data centre. The rental facility provides space, cooling, electricity, and physical security.

Take note that colocation web hosting is not responsible for maintaining the hardware and servers, as you are simply renting a location. You still have to take care of your own equipment, just like how you’d clean your apartment, even though your landlord owns the building.

Pros of Colocation Web Hosting

Physical Storage Space

Colocation web hosting provides you with the space to put your hardware. Many businesses, especially those without a real office, don’t have much (or any) space to store their equipment. A data centre can lease you that space, and in the perfect environment too!

There are various types of hardware storage plans, including cabinets, cages, and even fully enclosed rooms. Of course, they all have different price points. If you’re in the market for colocation web hosting, it’s best to do your research to try and find a suitable option near you.

Real-World Security

You are responsible for securing your servers against cyberattacks, as you are in charge of the hardware. But colocation web hosting takes care of physical security, not allowing anyone to tinker with your hardware without authorisation.

This can be a big benefit to companies on a tight budget, as you won’t have to hire security guards from external firms. This can make it much cheaper than running your own facility.

Technical Expert Support

As colocation web hosting services are usually provided by data centres, you can expect specialised support from their trained staff. This means that your business’ IT team doesn’t have to worry about daily operations, and can instead focus on maintaining the servers.

Cons of Colocation Web Hosting

Impractical for Individuals

As a solo entrepreneur or small business, personally owning expensive hardware or software might be out of the equation. If you don’t already have a server and the necessary equipment, colocation web hosting isn’t for you.

Expensive for Most

Even if you are a small business with a few machines up and running, colocation web hosting can still be expensive and cost-ineffective. Many data centres lease minimum amounts of space to companies, rather than paying by the square foot. So, if your hardware doesn’t take up all the space, it could be a waste of money.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, colocation web hosting is not a web hosting service, but more of a hardware rental space. For big businesses with a need for space to store their hardware, colocation web hosting may be the ideal solution! But if you’re an individual or small business just looking to host one or even a few small websites, this is not the right service for you.

 

7. Reseller Web Hosting

Reseller web hosting is a plan for users looking to resell a hosting service to another user. This means you’re buying web hosting service and selling parts of that to your customers. In a way, this means that you’re becoming a web hosting service yourself!

Most of the time, you’ll be able to rebrand your web hosting service. This means that your potential customers won’t know that you are reselling a plan to them. You can configure the server to make your plan seem more attractive as well. So, this clearly isn’t for those with a website to host, but for those that want to make money from web hosting.

Pros of Reseller Web Hosting

Extra Income Stream

Most people choose reseller web hosting to make a business out of it. Since you can rebrand your website and offer unique deals and plans, there’s potential to attract lots of customers.

Fully Customisable

With reseller web hosting, you can customize your plans quite a lot. Your customers won’t know that you’re reselling your hosting services. Implementing a great user interface while leveraging an external professional hosting service allows you to have a lot of control and offer optimised packages.

Cons of Reseller Web Hosting

Their Problems Become Your Problems

Your web hosting business is fully dependent on the web hosting provider you originally used. If your web host has any glitches or technical issues on their side, your clients will face the same issues too. This can seem very unprofessional on your part, especially if you advertise top-notch web hosting services and don’t end up providing them.

Your Customer Service

When running your hosting business, you can’t just insert your original web host’s hotline on your website and rely on their customer service. This isn’t a drop-shipping model! You need to provide the customer service. If your customer service is no good, don’t expect to see many customers!

Final Verdict

Reseller web hosting is a plan that suits entrepreneurs and companies that want to have a shot at providing their own web hosting services. It can certainly be a profitable side hustle or even turned into a money-making business.

However, prepare to invest the time and hard work into constructing the business. This is not a get rich quick scheme. It’s also not really a type of web hosting, and more a web hosting opportunity. If you’re an individual or small business with a website and are looking for hosting, skip this one!

 

What Type of Web Hosting Is Right for Me?

When choosing the right type of web hosting for your business, a lot of it comes down to your budget, personal preference and your hosting requirements. Just scrolling through some of the feature lists of any major hosting provider will give you plenty of reasons to choose one over the other.

However, as long as you bear in mind the key points above, you can’t go far wrong when it comes to choosing the right type of web hosting for your website. Below is a quick rundown of which type of web hosting is right for different types of customer.

1. Shared Web Hosting

Who this is for: Beginners looking for the cheapest plan, or those looking to experiment with website creation

Who this isn’t for: Big businesses that want a lot of customisation and a more premium feel

2. Dedicated Web Hosting

Who this is for: Companies making a high-quality, private, and exclusive chain of websites, or individuals with high traffic and bandwidth requirements

Who this isn’t for: Individuals without the budget for dedicated hosting, or those that only see a few thousand visitors per month

3. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

Who this is for: Those who want the best-value, jack of all trades plan

Who this isn’t for: Those that need capacity for millions of visitors per month, or that store sensitive data on their websites

4. Cloud Web Hosting

Who this is for: Small businesses looking to scale their websites efficiently

Who this isn’t for: Absolute beginners with a very small budget and low traffic

5. Managed WordPress Hosting

Who this is for: Beginners who want expert help with setting up a WordPress website

Who this isn’t for: Organisations looking to really customise their website, and those that don’t want to use WordPress

6. Colocation Web Hosting

Who this is for: Medium to large sized businesses that already have the right software and hardware

Who this isn’t for: Individuals/small business with little or no software and hardware

7. Reseller Web Hosting

Who this is for: Entrepreneurs hoping to start a web hosting business

Who this isn’t for: Anyone looking for hosting for their website – that’s not what this is!

That does it for the 7 main types of web hosting. There are other variations out there, but this article covers the most important ones. If you want to learn more about creating your first website, or about creating your first business, check out our other articles on the Sophical Blog.

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Josh LJY

Josh LJY

Hi there, I'm Josh. I'm a growing freelance writer who enjoys freelancing, making money, and starting new businesses! If we share the same interests, let's get in touch!

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