Web Hosting Plans Comparison: Shared, VPS, Dedicated & Cloud

So you are planning to create a hobby website for yourself, or maybe a website for your business. But you don’t know which hosting company to choose or what hosting plan to purchase. In this article I will explain the differences between hosting plans and will also suggest some web hosting providers you can rely on for a long term base.

What is shared hosting and who use it?

what is shared hosting

This type of hosting plan is the most popular. The shared hosting plan is designed to provide all the necessary features to get started with a small website. The majority of websites are hosted on shared hosting plans. The name of this plan comes from the way accounts are created on the web server. In case of shared hosting, multiple accounts are distributed over the server, sharing the server’s resources (CPU, RAM, bandwidth, storage). This reduces the cost of the hosting significantly. Usually a shared plan will cost $2-10 monthly, and this is paid upfront for a year or two years period. There are some hosting companies such as eHost, which accepts monthly payments.

This hosting type is used by bloggers, hobby websites, and small and medium traffic business websites. Most shared plans will accept eCommerce, however you should note that installing an SSL certificate on a shared plan is impossible because this requires a dedicated IP address. For this purpose you will need at least a VPS hosting.

What about the “unlimited hosting plan”? Why would you pay for a VPS or dedicated server if your shared plan is unlimited? The “unlimited” plan is only used for marketing. In reality each shared account has its limitations. It is possible that the company will not put a cap on the amount of bandwidth and space your account is using, however it will limit the server load, file size, number of files etc.

The downside of shared plans is that the activity of each account will affect the others from the server. So in case one hosting account use a big portion of the server resources, will slow down the entire server. The lack of security is also an issue that you may want to take in consideration.

What is VPS hosting?

what is vps hosting

Virtual private server is enrolled between shared hosting and dedicated server considering both price and features. In case of VPS hosting, the web server is partitioned in multiple accounts. Each account having its own dedicated resources, operation system, bandwidth, dedicated IP, etc. Unlike shared hosting, a VPS account will not affect the other accounts hosted on the same server.

I would call a VPS plan the perfect balance between cost and features. It is designed for websites that require dedicated server resources, high security and dedicated IP address, but still being affordable.

VPS hosting can be managed or unmanaged. In my opinion, it is worth paying more for the managed service, unless you can manage a server. The managed plan usually comes with an operation system of your choice, a control panel (cPanel), dedicated RAM, CPU, bandwidth, storage and dedicated IP. You will have full control over the server, as well root access to modify it as you please, with the possibility to have assistance from the hosting provider you are renting the server from.

Virtual hosting is usually used for eCommerce websites, which needs SSL and a stable and powerful hosting; as well by business websites or blogs with high traffic. I highly recommend InMotion hosting, if you are looking for an affordable and reliable VPS plan.

The downside of VPS is that requires some level of IT knowledge, and it might be difficulty for a beginner to get started with a virtual server.

How Dedicated Hosting Works?

what is dedicated hosting

When you are opting for a dedicated hosting plan, you actually rent an entire server with full control over its hardware and software. The server you are renting will be stored in the hosting company’s data-center and this will provide with the necessary power and bandwidth your server needs. They will be also responsible for replacing broken hardware. Managing a dedicated server can be difficulty; you need a very strong IT knowledge to be able to run a dedicated plan. There are certainly managed and unmanaged dedicated plans.

If you choose an unmanaged service, you are on your own. You will need to configure the server. However, if you can’t do that, you can hire a system administrator from the company you are renting the server from, who can help you out with all the server management.

Dedicated servers can be used for many things. You can partitionate the server in multiple smaller accounts and create a VPS or even a shared hosting server. Usually corporations use dedicated servers to store sensitive data such as credit card information, user personal information, or to host their online applications and websites, enjoying the highest security and best performance.

The downside of a dedicated server is the high monthly cost and the need of strong knowledge in server management.

Is Cloud hosting only for the big players?

what is cloud hosting

When we are talking about cloud hosting we actually refer to the way on how servers are configured. In case of cloud hosting, multiple servers are clustered in way to provide an affordable, scalable and reliable web infrastructure.

When you upload your website to a cloud server, the files will be distributed over the whole network, creating multiple copies of your website. Usually cloud hosting companies have data-centers all over the world, meaning your websites will be copied over multiple data-centers.

Having your files stored in multiple locations, you can be sure that there will be no data loss due to hardware failure. Users will enjoy a faster navigation on your website, because they will access the files from the nearest datacenter.

In the past only big corporations used cloud hosting to provide the best experience for their world-wide audience, but today anyone can upload their website to the cloud. For instance, BlueHost have multiple cloud hosting plans, starting from only $5.95 per month.

The downside of hosting your website in the cloud is that you don’t have control over where the data is stored. Therefore, cloud hosting is not suitable for storing sensitive information, unlike dedicated hosting.

Which is the right plan for me?

Now, that you know what are the different hosting options, you can easily choose the plan that suits your budget and needs. So, shared hosting is great for small business sites and personal projects, VPS is great for hosting eCommerce sites and medium traffic blogs and sites which may require a dedicated IP address. Dedicated hosting is designed to provide the highest security and good performance for websites and sensitive data, while cloud hosting is suitable for delivering web content world-wide at the highest speed.

If you are still having issues deciding what plan to choose for your project, please submit your comment bellow and I will try to help you out.

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